NEW STIRRINGS OVER SEPARATISM
Last month the national Olympic committee of South Africa joined with the South African Sports Federation in formally urging an end to apartheid. The joint statement represented an apparent about-face by a leadership that had tacitly supported racial separatism, but it was also a pragmatic response to the long campaign, waged by the international sports community, to isolate South African sport. South African sports officials clearly want to be invited back into the Olympic movement, and want foreign athletes to be able to compete against their own without recrimination.
That goal remains elusive, in part because the playing fields of South Africa are not the bastion of integration that these sports officials would sometimes suggest. For example, blacks are still excluded from most South African golf clubs, and they can't use the squash court at Johannesburg's Braamfontein Recreation Centre. School teams in the Cape Province must still get permission from the Department of Education to play teams that include "non-whites."
Because of the persistence of separatism in sports and the rest of South African society, the fight to shun South Africa goes on. Since 1981 the United Nations Centre Against Apartheid has published semiannual lists of athletes who compete in South Africa and of South Africans who compete abroad. The purpose is to ostracize South Africa in international sport. A challenge to this effort occurred last month when the U.S. Gymnastics Federation sent a 12-member team—the only Americans among 6,000 athletes from 17 countries—to compete in the South African Games. USGF president Mike Donahue has condemned executive director Mike Jacki's decision to send the squad, and criticism of the trip has been heavy by those who still consider playing with South Africa a bad idea.
May 18, 1986
CALL ME WHEN IT'S BROKEN
During a personal appearance last week by Jack Nicklaus in Columbus, Ohio, a questioner, apparently from Indiana, asked the Masters champion, "When are you coming back to Fort Wayne?"
"Coming back?" Nicklaus said. "It has to be 30 years since I played there."
"You set a course record," he was told.
"Does the course record still stand?"
"Well," said Nicklaus, "then there's no reason to go back."
•As Robert F. Jones has reported (SI, June 10, 1985), efforts have been made over the years to protect Champ, the monster who either does or doesn't exist in Lake Champlain. The Vermont senate, following the lead of the New York legislature, recently passed a resolution expressing its will that no harm be done to the beast. Joseph Zarzynski of Greenfield Center, N.Y., a schoolteacher and longtime champion of Champ who has led searches for the serpent, expressed the opinion of all monster watchers: "Oh, that's terrific."
•The bad news continues for Des Moines Creek, a 2½-mile stream in Washington State that lost 50,000 fish to a November fuel spill from nearby Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SCORECARD, Jan. 13 et seq.). By early March the creek had flushed itself of the fuel, and on March 10 it received a planting of 7,000 coho salmon fry. But on April 6 at least 5,500 gallons of fuel leaked from a Northwest Orient Airlines tank and Des Moines Creek was dead once again. The Washington Department of Ecology has demanded explanations from the airline, and fines of up to $20,000 could be levied.
•The NCAA banned TCU's football team from playing in a bowl game next season, ordered the school to pay back $343,203 in TV revenues and stripped the Horned Frogs of 35 football scholarships for the next two years as punishment for admitted booster payments to players and recruiting violations that included the procurement of prostitutes for high school prospects (SI, Sept. 30, 1985). Coach Jim Wacker, who last fall told the NCAA of some of the violations, said, "The current staff was not found guilty of any violation." He called the sanctions "a setback for self-disclosure." But NCAA assistant executive director for enforcement Steve Morgan said that the violations represented "as blatant an example of cheating to gain an unfair advantage" as he had seen.
•Former heavyweight champion Larry Holmes has issued a protest of the decision in his April 19 loss to Michael Spinks (SI, April 28). Charging "collusion" among boxing officials to deny him the victory and assailing the competency of the judges, Holmes filed his complaint with both the International Boxing Federation and the Nevada Athletic Commission. The NAC said that the competency issue is closed, but agreed to hear Holmes's claim of collusion. It scheduled a hearing for June 18.
Good things come to those who wait. If you don't believe that, ask Philadelphia 76ers G.M. Pat Williams. In October 1978, as part of a general housecleaning, Williams traded Lloyd (now World B.) Free to the San Diego (now L.A.) Clippers for a first-round draft choice in 1984. A year later he traded Joe (Jelly Bean) Bryant who, like Free, had been a cocky young reserve, to the Clippers for a first-round draft choice in 1986. At the time, the Sixers' future first-rounders were high school underclassmen.
Has Williams's long-term investment strategy paid off? Has it ever. On June 17 the Sixers, by virtue of winning the top spot in Sunday's NBA lottery, will pick first in the NBA college draft, using the choice it received for Bryant. Williams isn't saying for sure who that pick will be, but he likely will choose Brad Daugherty. The 6'11" Daugherty was a center at North Carolina, but in Philadelphia, where the middle is manned by Moses Malone, Daugherty probably would line up as a forward, opposite Charles Barkley. Not incidentally, Barkley was acquired with the 1984 first-round draft choice that the Sixers received for Free.
Oh, yes, Bryant is out of the NBA, and Free, while still an able performer with Cleveland, won't be missed next season by the Barkley-led (and Daugherty-strengthened?) Sixers.
MUST BE A MATTER OF PRINCIPLE
This came over the Associated Press wire last Friday: "A Federal Court jury will be asked to determine the future of professional football in America when the USFL's $1.32 antitrust suit against the NFL goes to trial next week."
THE I CHART
Howard Cosell made his debut as a twice-weekly syndicated newspaper columnist on May 4, and we couldn't help noticing that in the eight-paragraph inaugural column he referred to himself 37 times (23 I's, seven my's, three Cosell's, two myself's, two me's) and compared himself to Sisyphus. In his second column, Cosell mentioned himself only 10 times, which seemed awfully early for him to be going into a slump.
TRYING TO DO THE LINDY
You might say Jim Will celebrates anniversaries with a certain loftiness. Last year, to commemorate the 25th year of statehood for his native Hawaii, he flew an ultralight plane 500 miles, island-hopping the length of the chain. "What a feeling that was, flying across the ocean," he says. "When I flew from the big island [Hawaii], I went right by where [Charles] Lindbergh is buried. It was tremendous."
Next Wednesday, May 21, Will plans to honor the 59th anniversary of Lindbergh's historic 33½-hour transatlantic crossing in the Spirit of St. Louis by stepping off a 1,200-foot oceanside cliff in Makapuu, Hawaii with his hang glider and staying aloft for the next 33½ hours—nine hours longer than the current hang-gliding endurance record, which Will set in 1981. "The winds come in off the ocean there and hit the cliffs," he says. "You step off and boom! You go up 150...200...300 feet—just like an elevator ride. Then I'll just glide over the most beautiful island, the place where Lindbergh spent his final days."
Will, 37, from Honolulu, a jewelry designer by trade, will be in a 65-pound hang glider, the type he has flown for six of his 12 years in the sport. It has a cocoon-style harness in which Will lies and attachments to carry food (mostly fruit and pita bread), water and radios. For this flight, it will also be decked out with a magnetic-beam warning system. If Will becomes groggy and his hands stray more than four inches off position on the steering bar, the beam will set off an electronic wake-up buzzer in Will's ear. "With this glider and my special safety equipment I've test-flown in 30-mile-per-hour winds," he says. "The equipment will come through." Just in case Will himself doesn't, a nine-member ground crew will follow his progress and alert him by radio if it sees any signs of fatigue.
"The hallucinations should start at about 18 or 19 hours," says Will, who plans to drink ginseng tea to help him keep awake as he circles over the ocean. "But the way I have it planned, when I hit 24 hours I'll be flying into a beautiful sunrise." This, he hopes, will further perk him up.
Will, who claims to be "a land lover at heart," downplays the danger of his flight, but the U.S. Hang Gliding Association frowns on all such endurance stunts as unnecessarily dangerous. "This is not like flagpole sitting—you have to be alert to stay airborne," says USHGA executive director Cindy Brickner. Will, however, expects he'll suffer nothing worse than aches and pains due to the strains of keeping his body rigid in its harness for nearly a day and a half.
"I'll be landing on a nice, beautiful, white, sandy Hawaiian beach, with palm trees blowing in the background," he says. You'll recall that Lindbergh made his crossing on five sandwiches and a quart of water, and, despite bad weather, set down safely on a grassy French airfield.
THEY SAID IT
•Ray (Boom Boom) Mancini, on life after boxing: "I eat less, weigh less, train less and care less."
•Gary Gaetti, Twins third baseman, when asked what happened to the mustache he had been sporting: "I still have it. I just keep it shaved."
•Johnny Dawkins, Duke basketball star, marveling at the school's cultural diversity: "You can talk to people from all over—Spain, France. You might even talk to someone from California."