Who among the Olympic athletes best revealed the degree of pure excellence suggested by the Greek concept of arete, which you honor in your Sportsman of the Year award? I submit that triple gold medal winner Wilma Rudolph represents the best choice (Like Nothing Else in Tennessee, Nov. 14).
During the six-year history of your award, no woman athlete has won.
Clearly, the accomplishments of Wilma Rudolph—from her crippled childhood to the quintessence of Olympian effort—represent a success story in the best tradition of American sport, as well as in the best tradition of arete.
JAMES J. LORIMER
Between the lines is another story, one of strange parallels and marked contrasts In this democracy where a rail splitter or a millionaire can be president, where opportunity and equality are every man's portion, we find some distressing flaws. There are still the "underprivileged," as we prefer to label those who have less than we. To find among them a 20-year-old who can—in 300 meters—become a national heroine, who can win with grace, accept victory with humility, withstand eulogies with poise and undergo the overwhelming enthusiasms of our unique system of hero worship with noble restraint is to find a rare and fortunate individual.
Bill Bendix couldn't hit the balloon he's in with that bow and arrow (Who's Your Sportsman?, Nov. 28). It looks like a recurved bow to me and, if so, it's strung backwards! Besides the caveman grip with his right hand he has the arrow on the wrong side.
A MATTER OF TIMING
John Zimmerman's smashing color spectacle of horses leaving the starting gate (Two Seconds that Can Win a Horse Race, Dec. 5) describes the most important two seconds of the race. As a sidelight to this truth, these most important seconds are not actually computed in the official time. The timing of a race begins about 40 yards up the track after the horses have had a running start. Thus a lagging horse at the start who is able to catch the field has actually gone faster than the official time indicates. To repeat the point: the most important two seconds of the horse race don't count in the official timing.
CLOYSTERS AND WALLES
Don't you think it is a little misleading to say (SCORECARD, Nov. 28) that the roof-climbers of Cambridge have "now received literary recognition" in Night Climber's Guide to Trinity! It seems to me that as far back as half a century ago, the late Geoffrey Winthrop Young published anonymously two remarkable little books on the subject, The Roof-Climber's Guide to Trinity (1901) and Wall and Roof Climbing (1905); and in 1937 a certain Whipplesnaith wrote a longer book called The Night Climbers of Cambridge.
Moreover, if you can turn up a copy of Wall and Roof Climbing (which is not easy to find), you will see that innumerable other writers of prose and poetry alike have acknowledged the charm of this nocturnal sport. See, for example, Milton's Il Penseroso:
But let my due feet never fail,
To walk the studious Cloyslers pale,
And love the high embowed Roof,
With antick Pillars massy proof.
Or Shakespeare's lines in Julius Caesar:
...Many a time and oft
Have you climb'd up to Walles and Battlements,
To Towers and Windowes, yea, to Chimney tops.
Is this not literary recognition?
DAVID A. ROBERTSON JR.
I have just read the November 28th issue of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED and was particularly intrigued by the following statement appearing on page 37:
"If the Midshipmen can beat Army, they will go to the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1924."
This should be the most interesting Rose Bowl in years, with three teams, Washington, Navy and Minnesota, all participating.
DAVID G. WALTERS
•In accepting the bid, Minnesota's Gophers renounced their declared anti-bowl position and surprised the Big Ten, the Navy and SPORTS ILLUSTRATED.—ED.
Have you ever heard of the Green Bay Packers? You seem to think that only the Baltimore Colts and New York Giants exist in the NFL. I would appreciate it if you would give a little attention to Green Bay.
•See page 26.—ED.
In regard to this supposedly nonfiction-al article about Mr. Robertson's adventures as a pseudo All-America football star with the Army (The Reluctant All-Star, Nov. 28), I would like to go on record as saying I do not believe one word of it. You should have checked this story for its accuracy, which should be very simple since the Army should have a record of Mr. Robertson's whereabouts at the time of these imagined adventures. If for some reason I am wrong, Mr. Robertson deserves a promotion to at least colonel, and the Congressional medal of honor as well! I would also like to state that even though I believe the whole thing to be fiction or a publicity stunt of some sort, it is a very amusing bit of writing that we would probably all like to believe, but then Cinderella would be nice as nonfiction, too!
JOHN M. WILLIAMS
New York City
•We can't vouch for Cinderella; we can for Robertson.—ED.
ONE FOR ALL
Since the subject of Olympic medals was brought up (SCORECARD, NOV. 21), I would like to file my complaint.
As members of the modern pentathlon team which placed third in Rome, we were not troubled by peeling medals but by missing medals. When we finally finished our five days of competition and managed to place third we were presented with one medal for all of us, as were the Russians for second place, and the Hungarians for first. Since all members of winning teams had received medals in other sports, we tried to find an answer in Rome, but with no results.
•In sports like gymnastics and modern pentathlon where each team member performed separately, medals were awarded only for the aggregate team score.—ED.
Your Ed Zern had better wade back to shore and look for more desirable fishing companions (I Loathe and Detest All Fish Tournaments, Nov. 7).
My husband and I belong to the Cape Hatteras Anglers Club, and recently (for the first time) participated in the Hatteras tournaments for offshore members. We won no prizes but had a wonderful experience in the excitement and the pleasure of fishing with a team of six people, none of whom were "venal, larcenous and weak-willed."
We fished as a team and worked hard to build up our points, but cheered the others when they pulled in a fish. In between official fishing sessions people would exchange information, kinds of bait, rigs, ways and methods, or anything else about catching fish. There was no animosity or foul play or violation of rules in order to win prizes, and it seemed to us everyone had a good time, winner or loser.
As for the prizes, we couldn't care less.
MRS. DAVID STECH