OLYMPICS: WISDOMAND NAIVETÉ
Mr. Brundage's reply to his critics that "the Olympic Committee recognizesonly sports organizations and not governments" (Brundage on a Cloud abovePolitics, SI, June 15) is an admirable working proposition for the Olympicorganization. Too bad that Mr. Brundage and his fellow committeemen appear tohave abandoned it completely.
At the time of theMelbourne Games both the Republic of China (the Nationalists on Formosa) andthe People's Republic of China (the Peking government on the mainland) had aninternational sports organization. Both were invited to the 1956 games by theOlympic Committee: the Republic of China accepted, the People's Republicwithdrew. That was their privilege: Switzerland and Holland at one time alsowithdrew their delegations in protest over the Hungarian massacres. The pointis, however, that both Chinese international sports organizations wereasked.
Now what hashappened? In effect, the International Olympic Committee has said to theRepublic of China, "If you change your name to conform with the politicalrealities as we see them we will ask you again in 1960; otherwise we willnot." This is politics of the crassest sort and, in view of the realinternational importance of the games, power politics at its most naive andarbitrary. It is not enough to have men of good will running the big things inthis world—we need men of good will and wisdom.
J. A. SHEARSON
May we congratulate you on your fine presentation of the Olympic dilemma? Can'timagine why Mr. Brundage and his committee couldn't have figured this out forthemselves.
As I interpret the IOC decision, athletes from the mainland of China willrepresent China and athletes from the island of Formosa will representFormosa.
If you agree withthe principles of the Olympic Games, you agree with that decision.
There's nothing to stop Formosa from representing Formosa in the Olympics.Saying that it represents China is as ridiculous as saying that the Isle of Manrepresents England.
You attack the recent stand of the International Olympic Committee chaired byMr. Brundage, on the very troublesome China issue. While you are certainlyentitled to your opinions you have in my opinion grossly misrepresented thefacts of the matter.
It has alwaysseemed to me that China as a geographical expression means the large part ofthe Asian land mass where some 600 million or so Chinese people live. Does itmake sense to recognize Taipei as China when it clearly controls only thesports activities of the 10 million or so who live on Taiwan?
The IOC has made agreat effort to avoid the political issue involved and recognize both Chinesesports organizations. It has explicitly refused to recognize Peking ascontrolling sport on Taiwan, and it has also told Taipei that it cannot berecognized as the body controlling sport on the mainland.
The IOC has beenforced only by the (obviously politically inspired) maneuverings andintransigence of the two parties involved into the unfortunate position ofchoosing one body to be recognized as China. It has in fact recognized thatPeking, controlling all of what our geographies and atlases tell us is China,is entitled to be recognized as China, thus coming to grips with reality. Infact, the IOC ignores the political question of the legality of the governmentsin question.
•We repeat what wesaid in our June 15 editorial: "It is not the function of the OlympicCommittee now to decide what government represents whom or what the governmentchooses to call itself. Brundage and his IOC fellows can and should say to bothChiang Kai-shek and Mao Tse-tung, 'Gentlemen, your athletes, by whatever nameyou choose to call them, are welcome in our games, provided they conductthemselves as sportsmen. This is not a political arena, however, and anyone whoplans to make it one had better stay home.' In such a stand, the Olympiansmight even set an example for the politicians. As it is, they have provedthemselves only foolish and inept on a field where they should not be playingat all."—ED.
Not only has Avery Brundage seen fit to deny the integrity and judgment of thegovernments of the Free World but he also condones a dual standard for amateurathletics.
The West, and inparticular the U.S., must conform to extremely rigid rules to permitqualification for the Olympics while the Communist bloc can seemingly violateanything that remotely resembles amateurism.
Mr. Brundage is atired old man who has served his purpose. And in order that some semblance oforder and conformity can be attained in Olympic regulations, this man must go.His most recent outburst indicates that his warped sense of righteousness hasentangled athletics and politics into a needless and almost un-solvablemess.
LAURENCE E. STEWART
A classic maneuver practiced in the ancient Greek Olympian games, known as thehurdle huddle, has been revived here at Montebello Senior High School (seeleft). The revival was sparked by the recent rash of telephone-booth jamming(EVENTS & DISCOVERIES, April 6), but its origins are of course immeasurablyolder.
Twenty lads werewilling to risk their necks to set this new record. A standard 42-inch hurdlewas used, boys with pointed heads were not considered eligible and noartificial lubricants such as sardine oil were permitted. "This isamateurism at its best," said Coach Dick Reese, "and the Russians bedamned."
HALL OF FAME:FACTS AND FANCY
If Joe Judge's article (Verdict against the Hall of Fame, SI, June 8) doesnothing but get Sam Rice into the Hall of Fame it has accomplished a realpurpose. Years ago I saw him play many times.
There was also afellow by the name of Ross Young who used to play right field for the Giants.He never did any funny, colorful things, but he had a magnificent arm, healways threw to the right base, he was the best three-and-two hitter in thegame and he came through in the clutch. John McGraw said he was the bestballplayer he ever had. That wraps him up for me.
ROBERT W. WOOD JR.
Any pitcher who has won 300 games should automatically be admitted. I can'tunderstand why Pud Galvin with 365 wins, Tim Keefe with 340 wins, John Clarksonwith 328 wins and Mickey Welch with 316 wins were not elected to the Hall ofFame years ago.
Really good players who were great assets to their teams fall by the waysidebecause they can't boast of their press clippings. At this rate, why not admitFred Merkle to the Hall of Fame for the famous boner he made that cost the NewYork Giants the 1908 pennant?
However, there isone instance in which I disagree with Mr. Judge. That is his disapproval of theselection of Dizzy Dean to the Hall of Fame. Diz may have won only 150 games inhis short career, but he was a truly great player and well deserving of thehonor.
It seems a tremendous waste that Mr. Judge used such a quantity of words toexpress what I understand to be his central thought. It appears that Mr. Judgeis saying that requirements for entry to the Hall of Fame should be at leastone of the following: a minimum batting average, fielding average, number ofhome runs, number of stolen bases, number of assists, etc.
It has been myimpression that members of the Hall of Fame were just that—the most famous,whether that fame was achieved through fact or fiction. I hope the day nevercomes that Hall of Famers are elected merely by putting records into electroniccomputers and selecting the most outstanding of those regardless of thepersonality of the individual.
JOHN D. HERRINGTON III
If we were to follow the rules Mr. Judge suggests, we should change the name ofthe Hall of Fame to something like Baseball's Hall of Vital Statistics orBaseball's Hall of Records. Then they might set up a hard and fast rule that,should a player appear in enough games, maintain high enough batting andfielding averages, have enough RBIs and home runs, etc., he would beautomatically admitted. In that way each player would know whether, from hisrecord, he would be in.
If we are to havea Hall of Fame then, I assume, a player's "fame" should gain admittancefor him. Isn't it true that famous players have become so, greatly because ofthe buildup the sportswriters have given them? Albie Booth was a famous Eli,but I have seen dozens of others on Yale teams who were better but not asfamous. The Four Horsemen of Notre Dame (I saw them play) were graceful andeffective, but would they have become so famous without Grantland Rice's story?Men like Rice, Bill Corum, W. O. McGeehan, Rud Rennie, Bill Cunningham andhundreds of others have made ballplayers famous to a greater extent than thefeats those players accomplished on the field.
I think thewriters should select the stars to enter the Hall. I agree with Mr. Judge thatliving members of the Hall should be on the committee. I suggest that otherliving players not in the Hall be on the committee also. I think they shouldconsider a player's contribution to the game over and above the figure-facts ofhis career.
So—what is fame?Often a pertinent remark will bring it to someone. Think of General Sherman,Admiral Dewey or Willie Keeler. Do we ever look beyond a certain deed or factor remark that brings a person fame?
J. C. HALSEY
•A good point.Fame, according to Webster's New International Dictionary, is "publicreport or rumor; common talk; public estimation; reputation."—ED.
ISRAEL: SPORTS INA YOUNG STATE
Congratulations to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED and Associate Editor Gerald Holland foran excellent article on sports development in Israel (From Eire to Israel, SI,May 25).
As one who hasbeen to Israel four times since the state has been established and has a closeinterest in the development and growth of sports activity in that youngdemocracy, I can say that this was a fine account and one which thoroughlymirrored the situation and its development.
While I am aboutit, I would also like to say that I believe that your publication has been anexcellent positive force since its inception in the development of wholesomesports interest, which is so greatly needed to coincide with the risingstandard of living in present-day America.
Again,congratulations and continued success.
HAROLD O. ZIMMAN
Publisher, Amateur Athlete
New York City
Thank you for the write-up about my son Jesse Klinkenberg (WONDERFUL WORLD,April 20). There's one mistake you made which I don't like. You stated that heis an Indian. I beg your pardon, sir! He is not an Indian. He is a little ofDutch, Finnish, Russian and Swedish.