By Stephen L. Harris (USA)
In the hot, dry summer of 1952, Barberton, Ohio, revealed itself to an orphaned boy as a tough, honest city; a show-me place where the wary citizenry gave no quarter to outsiders. Instead, you had to prove yourself to fit in, to be accepted. No excuses allowed. If you were young enough, the right place to start was on Barberton’ s playing fields. Sports were the one constant that kept the city together. Tradition was rich, going back to the days of the great George Sisler, now enshrined in Baseball’s Hall of Fame. Yet the only true game in town was football. And the paragon of hard-nosed Barberton football was the legendary “Jumpin” Joe Williams, a kid so tough that in the 1930s with his big toe broken early in a game he sin- gle-handedly whipped undefeated and unscored upon Massillon High School. Just the right place for a 15-year-old, red- headed, raw-boned transplant from the coal country along the Ohio River to start his life anew. But first Glenn “Jeep” Davis, arriving with an embittered heart, forced to live with a brother 19 years his senior; had to beat back a demon that threatened to ruin his life and crush his one hope for salvation — the dream of Olympic glory. Only then could the boy with fleet feet and sudden fists prove himself to the people of Barberton. And only then could he take his place as one of the truly great Olympic champions. The demon was death.