The Post-Journal

Shearman's Departure Recalls Shining Story Another Jamestowner Wrote in Olympics

Dick Shearman's departure yesterday for Norway and the winter Olympics recalls the only previous time Jamestown shared the spotlight in the gigantic meet of nations—when the ebony-hued fists of Jimmy Clark won him the world's amateur boxing title in the 1936 cavalcade of world sports. This time Jamestown settles for an executive, but it is an honor, nevertheless. Contrary to the belief in some quarters Shearman is not attending as a spectator at his own expense. He was duly elected by the American Amateur Skating Union and will be the big wheel when America s finest speed skaters take to the ice to compete against stars from more than 15 nations. He will be an important cog in the team's one-month training grind at Lilehammer, famed Norway skating landmark, and will be in complete command of all arrangements and incidentals connected with the team's appearance at Oslo during the winter games. It's a big job and comes in recognition of years of outstanding work in the amateur field.

Clark, who still lives here, was one of the finest boxing prospects to ever don the mitts here or anywhere. But today he is a tragic example of unsound and greedy managing; of the kind of matchmaking and quick buck administration that has kept boxing in ill repute in this country.

Lou Nova, who later fought Joe Louis for the title, was on the American team with Clark and years later he termed the Jamestown boy the greatest fighting machine he ever saw. Jack Johnson, the matchless old champ of years ago, saw Clark stop Tony Zale in one round and remarked, "this boy will make the oldtimers forget Stanley Ketchell.”

But the years and the fates were not kind to Jimmy Clark. And. as he candidly admitted on a recent local radio interview, Jimmy Clark was not kind to Jimmy Clark.

Training came hard for the local boy. The Jimmy Clark of those middle 30's had supreme confidence in his iron fists. He felt he could level anyone he could hit - sometimes without benefit of training. And for a long time that's the way it was. The iron man from Norfolk, Va. via Titusville. Pa., didn't only knock ‘em out, he ruined them. There was bulky, heavy-muscled Pluto Sancassiarmi. Hungarian champ who once fought Jimmy in the pre-Olympic world championship finals. “These Americans aren't human," Pluto said sadly as he dragged his battered carcass back to his mountain home and hung up the gloves for good. Good American fighters, tough rock 'em and sock 'em club battlers, went the way of flesh before the drumming fists of the Jamestown terror. Then came the "big leagues” — and a Jimmy Clark that wasn’t ready. Guys like Zale, a pro now and a different Zale than the foe who fell before Jim as an amateur: Billy Soose, Ken Overlin, Popeye Woods and Lloyd Marshall, the latter still campaigning with more than passing success. Ring reaction sets in fast. Obscurity beckons with a relentless hand and no one is immune in the world’s most exacting sport. Ask Joe Louis.

But the courageous little dynamo that was Jimmy Clark gave Jamestown a tremendous amount of publicity, and when he put up his maulies he always gave his best. There isn't too much more you can ask of a man.


The additional financial assistance of the community is critical to the success of the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame. We gratefully acknowledge these individuals and organizations for their generous support.

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