Bravo to Robert H. Boyle for his article on the Riva Ridge case (Who and When and Mostly Why, Sept. 4). Not only does he reveal all the facts of Riva Ridge's disappointing Monmouth race, he gives a desperate account of why pre-race testing should be instituted. Riva Ridge is the clear-cut champion of this year and it is unfortunate that this drugging scandal has taken place. Pre-race testing would put an end to this sort of thing in all races to come. Let's keep the Sport of Kings the King of Sports.
ROBERT A. CARABELLI
Naturally, when pre-race testing is proposed the question arises: Who is to pay? I have a solution. Use the money the states have been stealing from bettors for years.
After a race in which there is betting in numerous pools, win, place, show, etc., the state takes a percentage of each pool for expenses. Then the number of winning ticket dollars sold is divided into the remaining amount in each pool. This gives the dollar odds for return to the public. But for convenience the state also takes the breakage, rounding the dollar odds to the lowest dime. This means that if the actual dollar odds are $2.48, the state pays $2.40 and keeps the remaining eight cents.
By using only those remaining pennies on every winning ticket in every race every year, the state would have enough money to finance pre-race testing of every horse in every race. Not only would this ensure fair races, but the public would finally be getting its money's worth.
At the ripe old age of 21 and as a seasoned veteran of AAU swimming, I sit, SI in hand, in amazement at the miracles happening daily in the Olympic ranks of swimmers. Today, when my heroes of yesterday would find even qualifying in the finals a difficult task, I ask if there is any room at all for superstars like Mark Spitz, Shane Gould and Sandy Neilson to improve. But then, I asked that about Donna de Varona and Don Schollander.
Hail to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED not only for your excellent coverage of swimming but for your consistent yet diversified insights into the wonderful world of sports. And from a "has-been," a salute to swimming—a sport that taxes the stamina, the mental and emotional endurance and the guts of so many and rewards so few.
Your Sept. 4 cover article on the opening of the XXth Olympic Games interested me, but in no way did it prepare me for what was to follow! Although the early events were slightly tainted by some very poor and unfair judging (at least up to the point of this writing), I believe that what I saw can only be considered the best and most sincere competition among athletes in the history of the Olympics, something that no judge or referee can take away. However, the dedication and accomplishments of one great athlete stand out in my mind. For sure, the Olympics never have and never will see another onslaught upon world records like the Spitzkrieg of '72!
Blue Bell, Pa.
No doubt about it. The Athlete of the Year is Mark Spitz. What a performance he turned in at the XXth Olympics!
LOUANN B. ASHWAY
Woodcliff Lake, N.J.
MR. KILROY'S REBUTTAL
I have examined Avery Brundage's letter (Aug. 21) concerning Los Angeles' bid for the 1976 Olympic Games and, aside from his customary self-serving statement in the first paragraph, I find no foundation for his subsequent statements.
Unless there is a total lack of secrecy among International Olympic Committee members in the vote for the Games, how can Mr. Brundage say that all votes were already committed and that no votes could be swayed by his remarks? My talks, and those of others of our committee, with a number of IOC members would not support this statement.
Mr. Brundage further says of our campaign to obtain the Games, "Nothing less calculated to impress members of the IOC could very well have been devised." Our analysis, which was confirmed by other IOC members, shows that the Los Angeles 1976 Olympic Committee complied with each and every rule and regulation promulgated by the IOC and with all verbal and written recommendations from Mr. Brundage. Mr. Brundage may be well advised to reply as to whether this was true of all other bidders.
As to his charge that our committee practically ignored Bill Henry and the longer-functioning Los Angeles Committee for the Olympic Games, this is nonsense. Bill Henry and Jack Garland, an IOC member, were fellow architects of our bid until their untimely deaths, and Lee Combs, then president of their committee and active in ours, joined me in a visit with Avery in Amsterdam.
As for William Johnson's article (Defender of the Faith, July 24), I should like to set the remark regarding Jesse Owens in context. While we used Olympian athletes and coaches for discussions with members of international sports federations concerning the quality of our technical services, we could not and did not generally use them for negotiations with members of the IOC. These discussions concerned finance, housing, travel, social and cultural events and administration, and we did not feel that an Olympian, without expertise in these matters, was technically qualified to make such presentations.
Mr. Johnson's article was in the negative, and I believe that an article outlining positive cures for the site selection process would be in order. A portion of our interview was spent in discussing the establishment of site selection techniques which would be more equitable and less costly to all concerned, with a few fundamental guidelines to be imposed upon the IOC as well as upon the prospective bid cities.
JOHN B. KILROY
MR. VAN ALEN
Can James Van Alen (The Deuce with Love and Advantage, Aug. 28) really consider himself a sportsman? Whatever merit his VASSS tennis scoring system may have seems to be rather substantially overshadowed by his somewhat inane position on more pressing issues. Further, does a man of his position honestly believe that "if you don't risk in depth, you can never reach in height." Perhaps I am being presumptuous, but failing to rejuvenate a species of European robin does not seem to constitute much of a depth. If Mr. Van Alen realizes that there are more important things in this world than furthering the cause of Santa Claus and wasting enormous sums on his own pet projects, then it is certainly a well-concealed fact. SI's report that he has been trying to make this world a better place than he found it strikes me as hypocritical when it goes on to mention Mr. Van Alen's role in the For America program. Considering the huge weapons storehouse the U.S. possesses, I doubt that a substantial increase in this amount would be in the best interests of making this world a better place.
The editors of SI should be criticized for elevating a man of such narrow views to a position of honor. One need only turn the page and look at those Olympic athletes who sacrificed and toiled for their higher goal to see who the true sportsmen are. They, not James Van Alen, are risking a depth to reach the height. Ultimately, they are the type of people who leave this world a better place because of their example.
Your entertaining feature on James Van Alen encourages me to hope that he will prevail upon baseball to adopt the sudden-death victory procedure. Games that run into many extra innings get the fans home too late and impose hardships upon the players who must meet schedules the following day. If a tie-breaking run is not scored in the 10th inning, the victory should go to the team that has managed the greater number of hits in the extra frame.
F. PIERCE SHERRY
St. Petersburg, Fla.
I enjoyed reading your article on James Van Alen. His ideas on spicing up the game of baseball made me smile, because everyone is talking about livening up the game, but no one ever comes up with any practical suggestions. As for Van Alen's suggestions, I think that the shortstop should be left in the game; otherwise, there would be too many singles.
Concerning his ideas on reforming tennis, I'd rather have the game stay the way it is. I still like it the regular way.
New York City
My compliments to Ron Reid for his excellent story on the Redskin quarterbacks (When You're No. 2, You Diet, Aug. 21). As a Redskin fan, I must agree that Billy Kilmer carried the team farther last year than Coach George Allen or anyone else ever dreamed. Even so, in the hearts of the Washington fans, Sonny Jurgensen is still No. 1. He's gone through a lot to prepare for this season, and he just wants to prove that he can come back. Thanks again for a job well done!
Thanks for your article about Sonny Jurgensen. Even though he is one of the very best, he hasn't received the publicity that he deserves.
Coach Allen has given the team what it lacked for years—defense! Now if only he won't waste a great quarterback. Kilmer is adequate with the great runners and receivers that he has to work with, but Sonny would be fantastic. I'm afraid you are right, though. Kilmer will really have to flop before stubborn Allen goes with the best.
MONA J. ALDRIDGE
I would like to know why no one will say what is obvious to many: that the Redskins will be a decaying team for years to come. How can an NFL team survive without any rookies on the squad? No NFL powerhouse team got that way without getting the best of the college crop. When George Allen has long since departed, the Redskins will still be paying the price for his win-now-and-forget-about-tomorrow policy. If you want to look at a team that is really trying to build a winner, try the New York Giants.
PHILLIP C. KIRSCHEN
In response to the quote on football wives by the former Susan Marr, "You can't really talk to them about anything much except makeup and clothes, or curtains and drapes" (I Never Promised You a Rose Garden, Aug. 14), I feel that it is an insult.
Woe be to the football wife who can talk of nothing more than clothes and makeup. Is she doomed to silence when her husband is retired unexpectedly and can no longer provide her with luxuries? One ventures to assume that the husband of such a wife is a player who is equally incapable of initiating and carrying on an intelligent conversation.
Personally, I give my husband and many of his contemporaries more credit than to be satisfied with a wife who fits Susan Marr's unfair homecoming-queen stereotype. I feel that there are many of us who would find Max Factor and Bobbie Brooks insignificant topics of conversation, to say the least, when newspapers are shouting daily headlines of death and destruction that challenge the future of our nation and world.
We may be few and far between, to use the old cliché, but we will still be able to pay for those drapes when the football days are only memories, because we are lucky enough to be married to players who are also men, not men who are just players.
MRS. RICHMOND FLOWERS JR.
New York City
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