The Olympic fuss and bother in Montreal, particularly the prospect of temporary restroom facilities for the competitors, has led Canadian newspapers to publish the following ditty, to be sung to the tune of A Bicycle Built for Two: "Athletes, athletes, give us your answer, do/We've gone bankrupt, building a site for you/It won't be a stylish summer/We can't afford a plumber/But you'll look sweet upon the seat/Of a portable built for two."
However makeshift, the Olympics will take place in Montreal this summer and, barring disaster, will occur as scheduled in Moscow in 1980. But after that? Quebec Finance Minister Raymond Garneau says the deficit for the Montreal Games could reach $900 million, a figure that may be better understood if one recalls that the extravagant Louisiana Superdome cost less than one-fifth of that amount.
Don Canham, the always outspoken and frequently controversial athletic director of the University of Michigan, declares, "If changes aren't made, the Games will collapse under their own weight. When Russia puts them on, it may be the last time for the Olympics as we've known them. Who else can afford them?"
March 29, 1976
Canham insists the only hope for survival is for the International Olympic Committee to accept the radical suggestion that the Games be split up—the various competitions held in different sites—with every effort made to put a sport in a place where it is locally popular and where facilities for it already exist. For instance, if the 1984 Olympics were given to the U.S., Canham would have no hesitation in assigning track and field to Los Angeles, basketball to New York, swimming to Florida, gymnastics to Penn State, sailing to Newport, R.I., rowing to the Detroit River, boxing to Chicago, and so on.
Critics say this fragmentation would destroy the special quality of the Olympics, would do away with such spectacles as the opening and closing ceremonies. Canham claims that similar, smaller ceremonies at the various sites could still have great impact. To those who say that press and television coverage of the Games would suffer if the events were spread around, Canham argues, "But that's exactly what happens now, with everything in one city. Too much is going on at the same time. You can't see everything. The press can't cover all the events. Television has to jump around. If the Games were held in different sites, they could be far more effective."
WORDS TO PLAY BY
All sports fans are well aware of the penchant among headline writers and sports broadcasters for avoiding, as though obscene, good solid verbs like "beat" and "defeat" and substituting instead a variety of synonyms. You know the ones: nip, top, trim, trounce, down, edge, whip, whomp, clobber, crush...the list is endless. NBC sportscaster Nat Ash, a notable practitioner of the art, can go through 20 or 30 scores in a broadcast without repeating a verb. He has fun with some—the Phoenix Suns "tanned" an opponent recently—and several weeks ago reached new heights when he had the Houston Aeros "sacking and pillaging" the New England Whalers 5-2. Of course, when you sack and pillage somebody, you really ought to win by more than 5-2. Somebody must have been underplundering.
DAWN OF HISTORY
During baseball's continuing hassle between players and owners, the latter gave the impression that the reserve clause had been an integral, immutable part of professional baseball since the dawn of man. But now A. G. Spalding, the sporting goods company, which is celebrating its 100th birthday this year, has reissued a copy of the rules of baseball for 1876, the year major league baseball began. There, under Article XI, Section 1, is a passage that says, "No club shall be prevented from contracting with a player for the reason that he is already under contract with another club: Provided, The service to be rendered under the second contract is not to begin until the expiration of the first contract."
There is another passage of interest in Article VIII, Section 4, which deals with the arbitration of disputes: "A majority of the arbitrators shall determine the cause," it says, "and from their finding there shall be no appeal."
READING YOUR WAY TO SUCCESS
As any horse-racing fan whose interest in the sport goes back as far as the 1957 Kentucky Derby can testify, even jockeys as expert as Willie Shoemaker sometimes have trouble spotting the finish line. The problem has been especially bothersome this year at Gulfstream Park, where jockeys have been complaining that the finish, though readily apparent to fans sitting in the stands, was hard to see from the back of a horse approaching it at close to 40 mph down the stretch. So the Gulfstream management has now adorned the pole at the finish line with a red circle enclosing white lettering that says THE END.
One member of the track's publicity staff suggested that if the jockeys need that much help, why not give them more? He proposed a series of signs, something like those old Burma Shave roadside advertisements, that would say, in succession, GETTING CLOSE, COMING UP, WATCH OUT NOW! And then, after THE END, another series saying IT'S OVER, HEY, NO MORE, SO STOP ALREADY!
Taken with the idea, Turf Writer Art Grace of the Miami News thought up one more sign, this one a tribute to the overwhelming ability of Honest Pleasure, the winter-book favorite for the Derby who won the Flamingo by 11 lengths. Grace suggests a message at the 16th pole, which is more than the length of a football field from the finish line, saying, IF YOU WERE ON HONEST PLEASURE, YOU'D BE HOME NOW.
Speaking of Honest Pleasure and future betting, the Churchill Downs Race and Sports Book in Las Vegas has made that fine colt a rock-solid 8-to-5 favorite for the Derby. Not very appealing odds, at first glance, but if Honest Pleasure holds his form until May 1, Derby Day, he is almost certain to go off at odds-on, and an 8-to-5 bet will seem like a steal.
Those who want the promise of a more substantial return for their money will go for the 6-to-1 odds Las Vegas is offering on Telly Savalas' outstanding runner, Telly's Pop, the California favorite. Everything else is a long shot, from An Act (10 to 1), the undefeated Zen (10 to 1), and Bold Forbes (11 to 1) to the darkest of dark horses, Noble Envoy and Man O' Work, each a cool 2,000 to 1.
Among those afflicted with the craze for citizens' band radio (page 36) is the Philadelphia Phillies' second baseman, Dave Cash, who had a CB unit installed in his car before he left for Florida and—at long last—spring training. Cash was fascinated by the special jargon of the CBers—such as "Smokey" for police, "Green Stamps" for money (especially money needed to pay speeding fines) and "taking pictures" for police radar coverage. "Once," Cash says, "I heard a guy say, 'This is that Kentucky Colonel one time. I'm shouting for that Baseball Player, come on.' When I answered, he said, 'There's a Smokey near that underpass. Hey, Baseball Player, that Smokey's getting ready to take your picture. Better back it down to a double nickel [55 mph].' When he signed off he said, 'It's been a pleasure modulating with you. Keep the Smokeys off your back and the Green Stamps in your pocket. I'm southbound and down 10-77 [negative contact]. I'm gone.' "
The new hobby evokes visions of an imaginary contract talk on CB between Cash, as yet unsigned, and Philadelphia General Manager Paul Owens. "This is that Pope Paul one time," the theoretical discussion begins. "I'm shouting for that Baseball Player, come on. Hey, Baseball Player, I'm hauling a heavy load this trip. You got to stop tailgating me."
"I got you coming loud and clear, Pope Paul," is Cash's supposed response. "But listen, I got to have some big Green Stamps in my pocket this trip. Or I'm outbound and down 10-77. I'm gone."
It wouldn't be the craziest thing that has happened in baseball this spring.
Arlene Hiss' well-publicized debut in big-time auto racing, when she finished last among the 14 cars completing the Jimmy Bryan 150 at Phoenix, has moved some drivers to talk of boycotting the Trenton 200 on April 25 if she is allowed to race in it.
"There was quite a bit of concern over her performance at Phoenix," says Jack Martin, director of public affairs for the U.S. Auto Club. "Dick King, director of competition, will have to decide whether she can drive at Trenton. We have had cases where drivers have been asked to get more experience. The late Eddie Sachs was one."
"The new superchauvinists are the ones making the flak," complains Mrs. Hiss. "They don't want a woman in the race."
Most of the drivers at Phoenix criticized her. "She was in the way all day," says winner Bobby Unser. "She was a hazard," says Pancho Carter. "She almost put me in the third-turn fence late in the race." Bill Vukovich, who did not qualify at Phoenix, says, "She has no business out there. She's going to hurt somebody if they let her keep driving." Gary Bettenhausen says, "Neither she nor any woman can handle the sport physically. She says she didn't get tired at Phoenix, and I agree. It's pretty tough to get tired going as slow as she was."
On the other hand, Johnny Rutherford says, "I'd rather have her out there than a couple of guys I can think of. At least she keeps in a straight line."
Hiss, who has a conditional USAC license, could be eligible for the Indianapolis 500. "She's been fast in practice," a USAC official says, "and she's been racing for 14 years. Of course, the cars she's been driving are not as powerful as the Indianapolis type."
A second woman, Janet Guthrie, a 13-year veteran of the sports-car circuit who holds an international license, has already been nominated to drive in the 500 by owner-builder Rolla Vollstedt. Guthrie recently told reporters in Indianapolis, "I'm not here to prove a point. I'm in racing because I love it. I think it's high time a woman raced at Indy, and I have the background and experience to handle it."
In a way, it would be a terrible shame if the existence of the Loch Ness monster was ever proved or disproved. Just think of all those charmingly speculative stories that would be absent from the London Times. Now comes word that an enterprising Inverness boat company is offering insurance against possible attack by Nessie. Jacobite Cruises, which runs two boats on Loch Ness, admits an onslaught by Nessie is improbable. "But," says a spokesman, "we are also covered if there is a regular accident."
THEY SAID IT
•Rick Dudley, of the WHA's Cincinnati Stingers, after his face and Gordie Howe's stick collided: "It made me mad. But what are you going to do? If I fought him and won, I'd look like an idiot for beating up a 47-year-old man. If he'd beaten me, I'd look like more of an idiot for losing."
•Chris Dundee, boxing promoter: "Middle age is when you start for home about the same time you used to start for somewhere else."
•Bob Prince, ABC-TV baseball broadcaster, explaining why he turned down an announcing job with the Padres: "In San Diego you have the Pacific Ocean to the west, Mexico to the south, the desert to the east, and Vin Scully to the north."
•George Foreman, signing for a rematch with Joe Frazier: "One thing I do suffer from is overconfidence. It's something I'm working on."
•Dick Anderson of the Miami Dolphins, on being named president of the NFL Players Association: "I need this like I need another knee operation."