The decision by Lord Killanin and the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee to give in to Canada's insistence that athletes from Taiwan not be allowed to compete under the name "Republic of China" was coldly practical. Killanin and the IOC undoubtedly agonized over their move, but at this late stage they really had no choice. It was either keep Taiwan and destroy the Games, or abandon Taiwan and keep the Olympics alive.
So the Olympic movement survives, but the precedent set last week is ominous. In 1980, before the Moscow Games begin, will the Soviet Union decide which countries may compete? Will it bar Israel so as not to offend the Arab nations? Will it keep Chile out? What if mainland China is in the IOC by then and Sino-Russian relations are particularly strained, as they so often are? Will the Soviets keep their archrivals from competing?
The Soviet Union has promised that it will admit all countries sanctioned by the IOC, but Canada—or, at any rate, Canada's Olympic Organizing Committee—promised the same thing. Political considerations are overcoming sporting ones, and the Games are drowning in the nationalism that, admittedly, enhances the competition. If it is not controlled, if national interests are not subordinated to the basic concept of sport—the playful combat of the arena—these Montreal Games may well be the last we will ever have.
July 18, 1976
You can't call it a scandal because no chicanery was involved, but track and field followers have been shaken by a couple of developments in Los Angeles. The proposed remodeling of the Coliseum to suit the needs of the pro football Rams—fewer seats but better ones, generally closer to the action—will require the removal of the huge arena's famous track. Some of the most memorable races in the history of the sport have been run in the Coliseum, and it was the site of the artistically and financially successful 1932 Olympics. Indeed, if the IOC had not in its wisdom voted the 1976 Games to Montreal, this weekend's opening ceremonies would be taking place there in Los Angeles instead of in the still-unfinished stadium in Canada.
With the Coliseum track apparently gone, the University of Southern California felt it ought to tone up the running facility in its own Cromwell Stadium and made plans to put in a Tartan surface. But to the discomfort of Track Coach Vern Wolfe and Trojan diehards, the expensive new track is designed to have only six lanes instead of the eight or more that a major meet requires. What this would mean—if the plan is carried through—is that USC, winner of 26 NCAA track and field championships, could never hold a national meet on its home turf—or home Tartan—or, for that matter, host a big invitational meet or even a Pacific Eight conference championship. In blunt words, it would be a minor league track for a major league school in a major league city.
BATTLE OF THE SEXES
Chris Evert's flat-out statement that the Women's Tennis Association, of which she is president, will girlcott next year's Wimbledon unless the prize money is equal for both sexes has prompted some comments from Arthur Ashe. As a leader of the men's Wimbledon walkout three years ago, Ashe is no stranger to united action by a group of players, but he disagrees with Evert.
"I think the men are worth more," he says. "I don't think that's chauvinistic, it's just honest. I believe in the marketplace. If Muhammad Ali were to fight Jerry Quarry, should they both get the same amount? Ali is the attraction and must get more."
Wimbledon officials agree with Ashe, declaring that the men are the superior performers, play longer matches (best three sets out of five instead of the women's best two of three) and are the better gate attraction. Ashe says the women's threatened action would inevitably lead to the men having their own tournament. Such splitting of Wimbledon into separate divisions might settle the argument as to which sex is worth more money, but it would diminish the best tennis tournament in the world and fragment even further a sport that is already spreading itself too thin.
There must be a better solution. Your serve, Chrissie.
Prince Philip of Great Britain is president of the International Equestrian Federation and father of one of the more prominent members of Britain's Olympic equestrian team, which makes some of his recent remarks on horses and drugs all the more interesting. Would a prince lie?
Drugs are "enormously used" in equestrian competition, Prince Philip declares. "Go into the stables at any of these international events," he says, "and see all the needles, mysterious bottles and powders. You don't know what they are, but you have a pretty good idea. Peppers for jumpers, tranquilizers for dressage horses, and so on. But you can't take action without proof, and you don't see anybody using a needle."
Because of pressure from the equestrian authorities, drug tests will be administered for the first time to all horses in the Olympic equestrian events in Montreal. "We had a hell of a job trying to get it over to the Olympic people that it was horses, not riders, that should be tested," says the prince. The IEF's veterinary manual lists some 18 "forbidden substances" and also bans other things capable of "unfairly affecting" a horse's performance.
Butazolidin, the anti-inflammatory medication that brought about the disqualification of Dancer's Image after he had finished first in the 1968 Kentucky Derby, is not included among the banned substances, and Prince Philip is in accord with that decision. Indeed, the prince, now 55, took Bute himself to prolong his polo-playing career after his wrist was afflicted with arthritis.
"By taking Bute I was able to play polo longer than I would otherwise have been able to do," he says. "I didn't play better polo—unfortunately, no. But it did allow me to use my wrist and continue to play. Then I came off it, and my wrist was stiff and sore just where it had been before.
"Bute does not change a horse's ability. I see it as a safety valve for horse owners in competition, a therapeutic agent that allows a horse to compete that would not otherwise be able to do so. Without it, people might use de-nerving [cutting nerves, usually near the hooves], which is far more dangerous. Or otherwise you might have to shoot them."
RULE OF THREE
If you had to guess how well Tampa Bay and Seattle will do this fall as NFL expansion teams, you might venture something like 0-14, or possibly 1-13, right? However, a look at past performances indicates the new boys are going to do somewhat better.
Consider the records of the five expansion teams that joined either the NFL or the old AFL during the past 15 years. In 1961 the brand-new Minnesota Vikings upset the Chicago Bears in their first-ever regular-season game, followed that triumph with seven straight defeats, then beat both the Baltimore Colts and the Los Angeles Rams in the last five weeks of the season. The Vikings that first year were 3-11.
In 1966, the first Super Bowl season, the NFL added the Atlanta Falcons and the AFL the Miami Dolphins. The Falcons started out by losing nine straight but then stunned the NFL by knocking off the New York Giants, the Vikings and the St. Louis Cardinals in a four-week period and finished their maiden year with a 3-11 record, too. The new Dolphins lost five in a row, upset the Denver Broncos and Houston Oilers in successive weeks, lost six more, then ended the season by beating the Oilers again. Their season record? Good old 3-11.
A year later the New Orleans Saints joined the NFL and lost their first seven games, but they beat the Falcons, the Philadelphia Eagles and the Washington Redskins in the last half of the season to finish—what else?—3-11.
Finally, in 1968, there was Cincinnati, the last expansion team before this season's newcomers. Paul Brown's Bengals set pro football on its ear by winning two of their first three games (beating the Broncos and the Buffalo Bills) and then settled down. In their last 11 games the Bengals beat only the Dolphins to end up with—yes—3-11.
You can fly in the face of fate, if you want. As for us, we're trying to figure out who the three patsies are that the Buccaneers and Seahawks are going to trample.
They played a game of cricket at a "British Day" in Van Nuys, Calif. recently, which rather confused Bill Murphy, a Los Angeles newspaper photographer. A local cricket fan named Dick Howe volunteered to explain the game to Murphy and sent him the following note: "You have two sides, one out in the field and one in. Each man that's in the side that's in goes in and when he's out he comes in and the next man goes in until he's out. When they are all out, the side that's out comes in and the side that's been in tries to get those coming in out. Sometimes you get men in and not out. When both sides have been in and out including the not outs, that is the end of the game."
In his next lesson Howe might explore the nuances of googly and silly mid-on.
Old handbooks on camping always warned about snakebite and usually gave an illustrated explanation of how to cope with it. Prominent in recommended first-aid procedures were Xs slashed across the fang punctures in order to open the wound. The next step was to suck out the venom, either by mouth or by using small suction cups that the prudent camper carried in his snakebite kit.
Dr. Gabe Mirkin, who does a sports-medicine column for The Washington Post, wrote recently that such treatment is ridiculous, that studies show almost no venom is removed from a snakebite wound by the slash-and-suck method. Instead, Mirkin referred us to Dr. Tom Glass of San Antonio, who says "constrictant bands" should be placed above and below the wound and the bitten area covered with ice enclosed in a plastic bag. The victim should be taken to a hospital as quickly as possible. The offending snake, if it can be captured or killed, should be brought along, too; it may turn out to be nonpoisonous, which makes things easier all around.
Dr. Robert E. Arnold, who has written a book about treating bites and stings of venomous creatures, takes issue with Mirkin and Glass. He calls "constrictant bands" tourniquets and says, "Tourniquets should not be used in the initial treatment.... They are dangerous." He is against first-aid use of ice, warning that "ice treatment...should not be done by lay people. Damage to the limb may be made worse and amputation may be necessary." And he adds, "Do not waste time hunting for the snake. Few physicians are able to identify most snakes."
Considering the difference of opinion as to what the proper treatment is, the best advice seems to be: don't get bitten.
THEY SAID IT
•Mike Cuellar, the Baltimore Orioles' Cuban-born lefthander, on how he tried to copy the Detroit Tigers' rookie sensation, Mark Fidrych: "I talked to the ball in Spanish, but I found out it was an American ball."
•Gene Mauch, of the Minnesota Twins, who is in his first year as an American League manager: "I've seen more inferior umpiring so far this season than I saw in 16 years as a manager in the National League."
•Bobby Murcer, San Francisco Giants' outfielder, on batting slumps: "You decide you'll wait for your pitch. Then as the ball starts toward the plate you think about your stance and then you think about your swing, and then you realize the ball that went past you for a strike was your pitch."
•Betty Richardson, after her third-place finish in the Delaware amateur golf tournament: "This game is 80% mental, and if you can conquer it mentally, you've got half of it beat."