The performance of Greg Louganis at the Olympics was outstanding (Good and Tough, Oct. 3). He embodies all that is good in sports: grace, strength, power, commitment and the ability to strive ever higher, even though in the world's eyes he seemingly had attained perfection. He gave Americans reason to be proud by being an inspiration to youth, by overcoming life's obstacles and by being the best that he could be. His efforts and emotions are so sincere, he must be named your Sportsman of the Year.
I want to thank SPORTS ILLUSTRATED for the thoughtful story on Ben Johnson (The Loser, Oct. 3). It cleared up a lot of rumors and untruths.
I was sorry to see Johnson lose his gold medal. I still believe that he is the best at the sprints. I just hope that one day he will get a chance to prove to the Carl Lewises and the media of the world that he can run in world-record time without a doctor's help.
Ceredo, W. Va.
Ben Johnson's testing positive for anabolic steroids and subsequent fall from the victory stand reflect the distorted view, held by too many athletes, that the Olympic Games are no more than a win-at-all-costs endorsement bonanza. Pardon my idealism, but what ever happened to competing well and representing one's country with honor?
Seven Hills, Ohio
October 16, 1988
Ben Johnson is stripped of his Olympic gold medal, banned from the Canadian Olympic team for life and is sure to lose millions of dollars in endorsement money—all for a first offense with steroids. Meanwhile, in the NFL, Dexter Manley and Lawrence Taylor are suspended for 30 days for substance abuse. It was the second such suspension for both of those players.
Since our amateur athletes usually emulate our professionals, our professionals should be setting an example. I propose that all future drug offenders in the NFL be stripped of their awards (i.e., Super Bowl rings, etc.) and be suspended for two years without pay.
Maybe Johnson is in the wrong sport.
BRYANT GUMBEL (CONT.)
Thanks for giving us a moment in time so we could get to know Bryant Gumbel (The Mourning Anchor, Sept. 26). After spending numerous evenings with our Olympic TV host, we know that if he were in a room with 100 people, we would want to meet the other 99 first.
EILEEN AND JIM CLARK
Bryant Gumbel says that, like Georgetown basketball coach John Thompson, he wants to be free of the expectations of others, both blacks and whites. It's ironic that Bryant's family, friends and colleagues are not free of his expectations.
It seems Gumbel didn't learn from his father one of life's most important lessons: compassion.
PETER M. STEIN
What does the fact that Bryant Gumbel is an insensitive chauvinist have to do with sports? Or his inability to relate to colleagues? Who cares if he dislikes Woody Allen films? All that matters is that he is a highly competent reporter. He is not the first person to have strained relations with his mother. He is not the first person to have difficulty in dealing with the legacy of an over-achieving parent. From what I could glean from your tabloid-type article, he does not do drugs, beat his family or advocate the overthrow of the government. If he's not breaking any laws, then his life is his business. If he's a boor, then don't invite him to your next party.
New York City
Say what you want, Bryant Gumbel is one of the brightest people in television. NBC should be darn glad it has him.
CHARLES G. ROTH
FROM A FRIEND
I remember Bryant Gumbel from De La Salle Institute in Chicago, which was run by the Christian Brothers. He sat behind me in Brother James Luke's English class. Bryant's intelligence was obvious even then. We were often required to give speeches, and both his prepared and impromptu deliveries were extremely good. Bryant was also consumed with sports. I was a mediocre player on the school basketball team, and Bryant would often tap me on the shoulder and ask how the Friday or Saturday night game had gone.
The Gumbel brothers, Greg and Bryant, distinguished themselves at De La Salle. They left looking to the future. The city of Chicago and the Roman Catholic Church were very real influences in our lives. Therefore any attempt to understand Gumbel should be made with that in mind.
I am enclosing a copy of a page from my 1966 yearbook (see above), which Bryant signed.
Letters to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED should include the name, address and home telephone number of the writer and should be addressed to The Editor, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, N.Y. 10020-1393.