THE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
What a fine, fine job of writing by Kenny Moore. His colorful accounts of the first track and field World Championships (Splendor and Agony in Helsinki, Aug. 15 and Putting It All on the Line, Aug. 22) were absolutely riveting. The level of emotion at that meet was surely incredibly high, yet Moore put us right there. The array of great photographic work was the perfect accompaniment to Moore's masterful pen. Bravo!
The fluidity, grace of style and heartfelt excitement expressed by Kenny Moore's article Putting It All on the Line left me in awe of the accomplishments of many of the world's athletes in the World Championships. Moore has used his years of running experience and his painstaking journalistic expertise to create a moving drama that, up to now, is unequaled in track articles.
Kenny Moore's article was a beautiful piece of sports journalism. As a track and field coach and competitor, I was especially pleased that his coverage of the meet included not just American highlights, but also outstanding moments involving athletes from other countries. As an American, I was proud of the performances of Carl Lewis, Mary Decker et al.; however, the games were much more than just a showcase for American athletes. Moore avoided the pitfall of presenting them as such, and in doing so he showed respect for American fans of track and field. Bravo Kenny Moore! Long live the World Championships!
I have always been impressed by the excellent photography of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. However, the pictures of the World Championships in the Aug. 22 issue were particularly sparkling. Steve Powell's brilliant sequence of the women's 1,500-meter finish, Heinz Kluetmeier's portraits of Mary Decker and Carl Lewis in victory, Tony Duffy's shot of Lewis in midflight as the throng looks on, and Powell's of Edwin Moses, muscles flexed, eyes fixed on the next hurdle, shoelace flapping, are examples of the photographic skill that makes your magazine special. In addition, Powell's cover photo of Lewis running the anchor leg of the 4 x 100-meter relay is not only an outstanding picture, but also a fine study of my pick for Sportsman of the Year.
Mount Vernon, N.Y.
September 4, 1983
Mary Decker is the most intense woman athlete in America today. The eight-photo series of her incredible driving finish in the 1,500-meter final may be your best sequence ever. And Carl Lewis is clearly the fastest human of all time.
What pride all Americans can take in our team's performance! I can hardly wait for L.A. '84.
Camp Hill, Pa.
I was very pleased that Kenny Moore compared Carl Lewis' 4 x 100-meter anchor leg with Bob Hayes's anchor run in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Without slighting Lewis' tremendous achievements, I still think Hayes's anchor may well be the greatest single human performance in athletic history, surpassing even Bob Beamon's jump, Larry Bird's basket off his own missed shot against Houston in Game 1 of the the 1981 NBA finals, Nadia Comaneci's 10s, Bill Walton vs. Memphis State in the 1973 NCAA final, Gordon Banks's save on Pelé's header in the 1970 World Cup, etc. According to an unofficial clocking, Hayes ran his anchor in 8.6 seconds, compared to Lewis' 8.9.
BEN A. PIERSON
The fastest anchor leg of all time? I'll take Dave Sime's at the 1960 Rome Olympics. At top speed, Sime didn't just run, he floated.
E.T. HERNDON JR.
Well now we know. It has to be either Mary Decker or Carl Lewis for Sportswoman or Sportsman of the Year. But what a decision! Both are deserving. Maybe you can give the award to one of them this year and to the other in 1984.
A LITTLE D IN S.D.
As a Washington Redskin and University of Alabama fan, I wish San Diego rookie Billy Ray Smith had chosen to play on those teams instead of on Arkansas and San Diego. As it is, I believe he will be an outstanding linebacker and may help solidify the Chargers' defense (At Last, Some D for San Diego, Aug. 22). He may not turn out to be a Ray Nitschke or Dick Butkus, but he'll surely be a Ted Hendricks—and that's pretty good. The thought of San Diego with a defense scares this defending-champion-Redskins fan.
WILLIAM H. BECK
Until San Diego acquires some veterans to aid its ailing defense, watching one of the Chargers' games will still be like watching a nuclear war: a lot of offense, no defense and no real winner.
Panama City, Fla.
Frank Deford's updater on the Chicago White Sox pitching staff was excellent (Some Like It Hot, Aug. 22). The hurlers are the main reason the Sox are in first place in the West. We in the Chicago area have known this, but now, thanks to Deford, the whole nation knows.
I dispute one thing in that issue, though: In INSIDE PITCH under "Ball Park Figures," Herm Weiskopf lists the Angels' Daryl Sconiers as a rookie All-Star at first base. I believe that the White Sox' Greg Walker is the better of the two. Just look at their current stats: Walker has a .264 batting average, eight home runs and 48 RBIs, while Sconiers is batting .259, has eight home runs and 38 RBIs.
Oak Lawn, Ill.
Frank Deford's article on the Chicago pitching staff was as hot as the White Sox have been in the last couple of months. I question only one thing: Deford's concluding statement that they might even be good enough to play in the American League East. Wrong. They are good enough to play in the East—and win the Series.
Shame on you, SI. Apparently you don't take your Player of the Week selection seriously anymore (INSIDE PITCH, Aug. 22). How could you overlook a player like the Yankees' Dave Winfield, who hit .406, with nine extra-base hits, including four home runs, and drove in 12 runs that week, and instead choose Oriole Lenn Sakata?
If your choice of Lenn Sakata as Player of the Week for getting two hits against Chicago after going 0 for 66 against the Sox was a joke, it sure didn't make me laugh. If you are going to honor Sakata, give him the Unsung Hero Award. Last year, the Orioles needed a shortstop. Sakata, who is naturally a second baseman, played there and did a terrific job until Cal Ripken took over the position in the middle of the season. During the first half of this season, Baltimore Catcher Joe Nolan fractured his toe and Sakata became one of the backups. He didn't catch in any games, but he was ready in the bullpen if needed. And on the night of Aug. 19, Sakata came up in the bottom of the ninth for his first and only at bat of the game and delivered a base hit that came with two outs and the winning run on second. The run scored.
I loved your Player of the Week item on Lenn Sakata. No one deserved it more than he. They even offered him the ball after his first hit against the White Sox.
KENNETH G. GINANI
Thanks to Demmie Stathoplos for her brilliant article about the U.S. swim team (A Pool Party with Records, Aug. 15). And hooray, too, for Richard Mackson for some of the best photographs I've ever seen in SI. A lot of folks weren't aware of what a good shot the American men have at the gold in Los Angeles. Now perhaps they'll see the light.
Look out, world, here come the Stars and Stripes.
My late husband and I taught our children to be objective in their decisions and opinions. I note that my son. Randy Hart [manager of venue press operations for the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee], was quoted in Demmie Stathoplos' article as saying that, except for Tiffany Cohen, our women swimmers will not be favorites in the '84 Olympics. He learned the "objective" lesson well.
Randy knows that I am totally objective when it comes to my family and others whom I love. I have never exercised more of that total objectivity than now when I say to Randy (and to readers of SI): Tracy Caulkins and Mary T. Meagher—and Rowdy Gaines, among the men, as well—will win gold for the U.S. in the '84 Games. I hope to be there and will furnish the crow. Love, Mom.
MARY LEE HART
Letters should include the name, address and home telephone number of the writer and be addressed to The Editor, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, N.Y. 10020.