Sport: Death of a Sportsman

"I'm a lucky driver," he used to say. "I've never been in the water." With luck riding in the cockpit, Italy's Ezio Selva became a world champion hydroplane driver, a little, effusive man with a light touch on the skidding turns and a heavy foot on the straightaways. A onetime high-diving champion of Italy, Selva seemed ideally suited for the sport he took up in 1948 at the advanced age of 46. Cockily, he used the 400-h.p. Alfa-Romeo engine from the boat that had killed his good friend, Mario Verga, in 1954. "One engine won't kill two men," said Selva.

But in...

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