Congratulations to you and to Don Budge, Billy Talbert and your excellentartist, Mr. Vebell, for the best, most concise instruction article I have everread (Now You Can Play Better Tennis, SI, June 10). Tennis champions andteachers have tried for years to achieve the simplicity needed for easylearning and most, like myself, have failed in this attempt. That which isrelatively simple to demonstrate seems almost impossible to write. Don andBilly have done this, and they deserve a great deal of credit.
What is mostamazing about the article and the illustrations is the fact that women canlearn from reading the piece. Don't misunderstand me; one of my own teachers,Harwood White, was a man, but he had rather unique insight into the limitationsof women in tennis or in any sport. Most of us do not have the muscular controlor physical strength to do what many male teachers suggest. Budge and Talberthave done what I considered for years the impossible.
•Alice Marble wasfour times U.S. women's singles champion and in 1939 won at Wimbledon.—ED.
Your article on tennis is superb! The action drawings of Don Budgedemonstrating the various strokes are especially good.
June 23, 1957
Terrific! How do you do it? Your articles consistently hold my attention, butthis week more so than ever. I attend a small school where there is noprofessional instructor, and I appreciated this chance to learn from theexperts.
TV BASEBALL: INMEMORIAM
The broadcasting difficulties of Phil Riz-zuto (E & D, June 3) strike hometo us Tiger fans.
Three years agowe too were lucky enough to have an ex-ballplayer help describe the Tigergames: good ol' Dizzy Trout. Like Rizzuto, he too made mistakes in hisdescriptions and used the wrong kind of English. So what happened? Why, theyfired Dizzy during Detroit's newspaper strike and there never was anyexplanation as to why he was canned.
Three cheers forPhil Rizzuto and taps for ol' Diz Trout, who used the word "ain't" onetime too often.
TV BASEBALL: FINEIN CHICAGO
It seems that everyone is criticizing his hometown baseball announcers aboutthe way they broadcast the games (19TH HOLE, June 3 and 10).
Around Chicago Ithink we have two fine announcers in Bob Elson and Don Wells. There are someannouncers who won't give the scores of other games for fear the fans won'tlisten to scoreboard shows that usually follow the games. But Bob Elson and DonWells tell the scores as soon as they get them. All in all they do a fine job,and so does your magazine.
TV BASEBALL: CASTOF CHARACTERS
I would like to add my viewpoint to the TV baseball bit. I have never heard orseen any of the Patricks or Otts work on the air. However, I don't have to turnmy TV dial very far to pick up three of the worst-sounding announcers anywhere.The old podner is too busy reading telegrams and patting himself on the back togive an accurate description of the action. His partner is good, if he wouldonly lay off the constant reference to his .250 batting average. I am notinterested in his accomplishments; it's what's going on in the ball game athand that is of interest. On the other network, we have the ex-manager, who hasthe most irritating monotone voice I have ever heard. He should stick tomanaging and give the more talented fellows a shot at the announcing.
J. W. KENNEDY
"UNWARRANTED,UNFORTUNATE AND UNPROVED": THE U.S. OLYMPIANS' ANSWER TO DRUG CHARGES
The United States Olympians, a nationwide organization of former Olympicathletes, at its annual meeting condemned as "unwarranted, unfortunate andunproved" the attack [stating that certain athletes use drugs to improveperformance] upon the record-breaking achievements of today's athletes made bycertain groups or individuals during the recent meeting of the American MedicalAssociation.
"Unwarranted"—because it fails to give proper recognition to theunderlying reasons for the gradual and somewhat steady improvements in theOlympic records over the past 60 years. The improvements in the last 25 yearshave been far from startling and can well be fully accounted for byimprovements in the track and equipment, better coaching, greater competitionand more emphasis on times and records, as against merely winning.
"Unfortunate"—because the physical fitness of today's American youthneeds every kind of bolstering that it can get. Championship athletes areyouth's heroes. To ascribe their victories over others and over records to thestimulation of drugs and narcotics may mislead youth to the adoption of suchmethods—false though they may be—and will certainly take some of the lusterfrom the wreath of laurels with which the champions are symbolicallycrowned....
"Unproved"—because the majority of the so-called under-four-minutemilers have stoutly and categorically denied the accusations and because nocases have been brought forth proving or even supporting the charges.Widespread denials have come forward from representatives of many sports,coaches and team physicians as well as individual participants who have deniedany knowledge of such use.
Assuming for thesake of a fair appraisal that such stimulants have been used, they certainlyhave not been very effective. Look at the Olympic records in such events as the400 meters, 800 meters, 1,500 meters, 5,000 meters and 10,000 meters. Thesemight be classed as endurance events where time records over the years arelegitimately comparable.
In the 400 metersthe record tumbled (ante pills) from 54.2 in 1896 to 46.2 in 1932. This was a35-year period of gradual and fairly steady reduction. But what happened from1932 through 1956? Occasional betterment, such as a 42.2 in 1948, but a netloss over the period, since in 1956 the time was 46.7, a half second slowerthan 24 years previously.
The 800-meterevent is not very different. In 1896 it was done in 2:11. In 1932, 1:49.8—about21 seconds chopped off (ante pills) in 36 years. In 1956 we got it down to1:47.7—two seconds off the record in 24 years!
The famous 1,500meters—the Olympic counterpart of the mile—shows only steady but not meteoricimprovement. From 1896 (4:33.2) to 1932 (3:51.2) there was substantialimprovement. Since 1932 a total of just about 10 seconds in 24 years has beensliced off the record which is roughly perhaps 4% reduction in a quarter of acentury with improved tracks, better coaching and world-wide emphasis on thecompetition and the focusing of the public's eyes on time rather than only onwinning.
The 5,000 metersand the 10,000 meters only go back to the 1912 Olympics. In the former therecord has been brought down from 14:36.6 to 13:39.6—almost a minute, but theUnited States has had nothing whatsoever to do with this! Likewise the 10,000:from 31:20.8 in 1912 to 28:45.6 in 1956. This is just about comparablepercentagewise to the reduction in the 5,000 and was wholly a Finnish, Polish,Czechoslovakian and Russian affair.
Perhaps theSoviets have also beaten us to the invention of these pills. Of that themedical people would know better than we Olympians.
PAUL H. SMART
President, United States Olympians