Great cover, great story, great athlete (Getting It All Together, Aug. 9). Bruce Jenner for Sportsman of the Year.
My son and I watched Bruce Jenner compete in all 10 events of the decathlon. On Friday we were at the stadium at 9 a.m. to see him run the hurdles and we left at 8 p.m. after seeing him get a standing ovation as an Olympic champion. Our comment was: What a performance! His picture should be on the cover of SI. And when our copy arrived, there it was. Awrright!
ARTHUR J. GILMASTER
Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.
Awrright! for Bruce Jenner, John Naber, Sugar Ray Leonard, Jenni Chandler, Dorothy Hamill, Sheila Young, Peter Mueller and the rest of our Olympic gold-medal winners of 1976. We are proud of them.
To see SPORTS ILLUSTRATED'S logo in Team America's colors was awrright. It makes me feel good to be subscribing to the world's best sports magazine.
August 22, 1976
The picture of the U.S.A.'s 4 x 400 relay team reflects the essence of sport. The sparkle in Fred Newhouse's eyes is surely typical of the reactions of successful athletes the world over. A truly exquisite photograph by Heinz Kluetmeier.
GLENN P. BUTZKE
Since it is difficult to find words to describe SI's coverage of the Montreal Olympics, how about a number? 10.0.
Stevens Point, Wis.
OUT OF THE CROWD
What an astounding coincidence! Darrell Pace appears as a 15-year-old archer in FACES IN THE CROWD in your Aug. 28, 1972 issue, which previewed the Munich Olympics, and he returns to SI four years later as an Olympic gold-medal winner (Top Draws by Two Aces, Aug. 9).
DAVID F. APPLEYARD
Thank you for Pat Putnam's article on the U.S. boxers (Oh, Brothers—They Put Punch into It, Aug. 9). The courage and determination that each one displayed proves that the spirit of America lives.
We had the privilege of watching the U.S. boxing team train here at the University of Vermont. We came to feel that they were our athletes. This feeling grew not from their boxing skills alone but from the fact that here were some of the finest young men produced in America. They were gentlemen in a violent sport. This team was also blessed with two of the finest gentlemen-coaches: Pat Nappi and Tom Johnson. Their handling of the boxers was superb.
DENIS E. LAMBERT
Director of Athletics
University of Vermont
You made the statement that Leon and Mike Spinks were the first Olympic boxing brothers. In 1920 Jack and Pete Zivic were members of the U.S. boxing team. Another brother, Fritzie, became world welterweight champion. The Zivic brothers won no individual medals in 1920 (although the team finished second), so Leon and Mike are the first brother combination to win medals.
Cuba's Andres Aldama must be the hardest hitter of all time. According to SI, Vladimir Kolev was a Bulgarian when Aldama hit him and a Romanian when he woke up.
LESLIE C. McANENY
•Kolev is still a Bulgarian.—ED.
SIGHTS AND SOUNDS
William Leggett's article (TV/RADIO, Aug. 9) correctly described ABC's telecast of the Olympics as "flawed by commercials...so frequent and repetitious that I stopped watching and listening." He also rightly noted, "Other things jarred: the rock concerts, the mural painting, the interviews with non-Olympians" and the ineptness of most of the "expert" commentators. I hope this experience will help teach the TV executives and the TV talkers to devote the limited time left between commercials to providing more coverage of the sports events and less of the commentators and nonsport irrelevancies.
Silver Spring, Md.
I must disagree with William Leggett. The Olympics represent a celebration, and while most of the coverage should, and did, focus on the athletes, to limit it to them exclusively would be like limiting coverage of baseball's Opening Day to the game alone, eliminating such "distracting" things as the tossing out of the first ball.
As for the excess of commercials, I would much rather see private enterprise footing the bill for the telecasts, and have the freedom to choose whether or not to buy the products advertised, than be forced to pay for the coverage with my taxes.
ANDREW L. AOKI
I wholeheartedly agree with William Leggett. I realize that the telecast of the Games must be paid for, and that it is only logical that advertising be the source of this revenue. However, I find it hard to believe that a more amenable solution to this problem—such as several large businesses joining together to sponsor the Games—cannot be found.
ERNELL M. FLEISHER
Fort Lee, N.J.
Talk about ripoff commercialism on television, how about excessive advertising in the print media? Practice what you preach.
White Plains, N.Y.
I believe a grave injustice has been done U.S. high jumper Dwight Stones. How could the judges have neglected to reward adequately the remarkable effort of this outstanding athlete? Think of it: Stones made a jump of 7'3" with his foot in his mouth, yet he earned only a bronze medal. Outrageous!
DANIEL G. WAYNE
It is unfortunate that Dwight Stones had to play the part of the Ugly American in Montreal. Wearing stupid T shirts and speaking caustically about our neighbors to the north did nothing but cause animosity between himself and the French Canadian people. He did a disservice to the U.S. as well as to himself.
I am sure Stones will regret his conduct in later years when he looks back to Montreal, a little older and perhaps a little wiser. It is an American boy's dream to compete in the Olympics and Stones blew it, not on the field of competition, but off it.
ROGER D. SPICKLER
South Bend, Ind.
STICKING UP FOR SPITZ
Some of your readers were very hard on Mark Spitz (July 26). He worked for and reached a pinnacle of success that he will probably never see again. He was widely praised and applauded. No wonder he doesn't seem to want to let go of that moment or know what to do now.
Perhaps we expect too much of our instant heroes. Look what success did to George Best. Fred Lynn isn't faring as well as he did last year. These are not men playing boys' games. They are boys playing boys' games, and some can't seem to cope with their own talent and subsequent success.
DEAN SMITH'S TEAM
I thought the least I could do for reader Jim McKone (June 28) and other "angry Americans" who saw fit to cheer for Yugoslavia, Canada or Mexico instead of the American—oops, I mean North Carolina—basketball team, was send them a sympathy note, so here it is. It was a shame they wouldn't cheer for the U.S. team, which was obviously the best one there.
Much criticism was leveled at the U.S. Olympic men's basketball team before the Games. Coach Dean Smith was chastised for the large number of Atlantic Coast Conference players chosen. Even though he had only one of 10 votes on the selection committee, it was felt that his influence was strong. Whether this is true or not is unimportant now. What is important is the masterful job Smith, his staff and his players did in Montreal. The most impressive aspect of Smith's effort was the manner in which he molded 12 offense-oriented players into a selfless, cohesive unit.
J. MICHAEL McMAHON
ON THE ROAD TO MOSCOW
I returned from Montreal very excited about the sport of team handball. Unfortunately, the American sporting public knows practically nothing about it, and I blame you. Obviously the U.S. handball team is not yet good enough to win over the powerful Middle European teams. However, you could do a great service to our country and help us improve our team by publishing a story on team handball. There are plenty of outstanding athletes in America who would be attracted to this sport and before long we would be capable of competing with the finest. Let's not wait until 1980 and Moscow.
DAVID D. DODGE
Although I applaud your Olympic coverage, you forgot to commend the U.S. Greco-Roman wrestling team (starring superheavyweight Pete Lee of Ball State). It won 12 matches, 10 more than in the previous Olympics. Even though the team did not win a medal, I think it is worthy of mention.
Fort Wayne, Ind.
As an American who made his first pilgrimage to the Olympic Games, I have this observation: while it is true that the Games are too political, too commercial, too factionalized and too fractionalized, the world would still be a much poorer place without them.
WILLIAM E. CARSLEY
BOTTLES AND CANS
I am among the 91% of Oregonians who approve of our state bottle bill (The Point of No Returns, Aug. 2). It is startling that a huge and powerful lobby is resisting a national bottle bill. The best thing going for the bill is common sense. It has reduced litter and waste, and it has forced the creator of a problem to deal with that problem.
I am a resident of Connecticut, where I believe it is becoming a sport to toss the can (or bottle). Just from my own front yard, street and driveway, I collect approximately 1½ grocery bags of discarded cans and bottles a month. I see a desperate need for a deposit-law referendum or a bottle bill.
TIMOTHY W. YOUNG
By omitting certain salient facts, Jerry Uhrhammer made a good case for a bottle bill. The following points should be made in order to present the full story:
Uhrhammer mentioned only aluminum cans. More than 50% of beverage cans are made from steel and are easily (and profitably) reclaimed magnetically from municipal refuse.
A bottle bill means a net gain in jobs only in states such as Oregon and Vermont which have virtually no can-metal production or can manufacture. But a nationwide bill would result in a significant loss of metal-industry jobs and an overall net loss. Furthermore, the new jobs would be in supermarket bottle sorting, where the pay is minuscule compared to that of metal workers and can makers.
The bosses will always use "loss of job" scare tactics to convince Americans that they have to increase production at all costs. When will they see that the fight is not ultimately between jobs and ecology but between an increasingly wasteful and a more moderate standard of living for all Americans? Companies like Alcoa will first drown us in rhetoric and then in litter.
KENNETH MOLLOY JR.
I just returned from an Oregon backpacking trip with my family and can attest firsthand to the effectiveness of that state's container-deposit program.
I live in Pennsylvania and have traveled the U.S. fairly extensively. The highways and camping areas in Oregon are pristine compared to the roads and campgrounds I have seen elsewhere in this country, even in the sparsely populated areas.
Although I am "pro-business" on many environmental issues (and even own stock in a well-known national beer company), I am hard pressed to see anything but benefits connected with Oregon's deposit law.
BENJAMIN N. HAYWARD JR.
What an interesting article (Guardian Dragon of Sulphur Bottom, July 26)! After being discharged from the Army in 1946, I settled down in East Texas. I used to go about 20 miles west of Texarkana on Highway 67 to hunt squirrels and cottontail rabbits. As I recollect, the place was called Red River Bottoms, but there was a winding creek in these bottoms called Sulphur Creek. I wonder if this is the same spot referred to by William Humphrey.
Before going into the Army, I had lived all my life in Minnesota, hunting and fishing in its complex forests and lakes, but they didn't compare to Red River Bottoms for wildness. The first time I went into those bottoms to hunt (without a dog, which I never did again), I had an eerie feeling. It seemed as though there were ghosts all about me. My erstwhile companion, a born Texan, and I separated. He told me just to follow the river back to our starting point and meet him at the car for lunch and beer. About an hour later (around 8 a.m.) I had six squirrels and was ready to go back to the car for a drink and a pack of cigarettes. I never did find the car. I followed that river all right, but I got turned around somewhere. At noon my companion got worried and started firing his shotgun at intervals. I heard him, but he sounded five to 10 miles away. I was lost. By four that afternoon I tossed my squirrels away, then my shotgun.
My buddy finally went to De Kalb to notify the sheriffs department, and the special posse they had for just such emergencies found me around 8 p.m., just as I was about to build a fire for the night. Probably jesting, one of the posse told me that if I had built that fire and lain down to rest, I would have awakened with dozens of snakes gathered around me to keep warm. And when they told me that just the week before some guy had gotten lost in there and committed suicide, I sincerely believed them.
It was funny, though. I had walked about 25 miles and was only one mile from where our car had been parked and only about two blocks away from Highway 67 when I was found. If that's the same place Humphrey refers to in his article, do you suppose his dad's and Wylie West's hex was in effect?
Long Beach, Calif.
After reading your article on women weight lifters (A Thoroughly Uplifting Experience, Aug. 2), I have come to the conclusion that you've gotten pretty desperate for stories. Of all things! I realize that women may want to be equal, but lifting weights? Come on. Women's Lib is going too darn far. However, I am thankful for your article in one respect. I never laughed harder.
E. WAYNE BOTKINS
I assume this is only the beginning of a series of stories about women engaging in "unladylike" sports such as football, boxing, wrestling, hockey, karate, judo and Kung Fu.
In my opinion, Shirley Patterson has done more for weight lifting than all the Russian superheavyweights. Thanks for a different type of story. But didn't you err and add about 15 years to her age? She can't be 40.
W. BEN JACKSON
I was extremely pleased with your very nice story. However, there was a mistake that I feel should be corrected. It was stated that Natalie Kahn's lifts were 200 pounds in the squat, 135 pounds in the bench press and 300 pounds in the deadlift. I'm sure that Natalie must have meant these poundages as future goals. Her best recorded lifts are 160 pounds in the squat, 100 pounds in the bench press and 245 pounds in the deadlift.
North Hollywood Health Club
North Hollywood, Calif.
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