"I realize that it is still early in '94, but...Dan Jansen for Sportsman of the Year!"
JAMES R. EWING. LOS ANGELES
U.S. Ski Team
Your pre-Olympic article on the supposed weaknesses of the U.S. ski team (It's All Downhill, Feb. 7) was off the mark. Yes, the team has its problems, but to say, as you do in a photo caption, that Tommy Moe is "no soaring success story"—well, his gold medal in the downhill at the Games in Lillehammer (right) proves otherwise.
CARL HELMETAG, Colchester, Vt.
Former U.S. downhiller Doug Lewis is quoted as saying, "Until there's unconditional support of the athletes, we won't win and win again." E.M. Swift's story on the U.S. ski team is a perfect example of no support.
REIDAR SOLBERG, Bellingham, Wash.
As we have seen, Tommy Moe had just as much potential to win the gold in the downhill as anyone else. Thankfully, our athletes did not take your article to heart.
DAVID L. JACOBS, Boulder, Colo.
March 7, 1994
The article reminded me of that famous 1948 newspaper headline DEWEY
STEPHEN OBLAK, Edinburgh, Scotland
As someone else who has an unusual surname that sprang from Norwegian geography, I enjoyed Ron Fimrite's POINT AFTER on his Nordic roots (Feb. 7). Throughout my life I have had to pronounce my name and then spell it because the letters don't seem to go naturally together. Dokmo is the name of a village in northern Norway and is pronounced DOCK-moe.
Unlike Fimrite's family, my grandfather, who took the name when he emigrated from Norway at the turn of the century, and his descendants have stubbornly stuck with their unusual surname. My grandfather could have used a derivative of his father's name, Lars, but he thought it too common.
To me, my name has become a mantle of uniqueness and not a yoke of frustration. But please don't ask my wife what she thinks.
LEW DOKMO, Amherst, N.H.
I had much the same experience growing up, with my surname being mispronounced in homeroom at school and by every coach I ever had. Similar to the Fimreite family's problems with its extra e, my ancestors contemplated dropping the intrusive and bewildering j. After reading about Fimrite and his father's experience, I'm glad we kept the damned j.
LEO BRAJKOVICH, Chicago
I read your article Flight of the Finns (Feb. 7) and was troubled by your portrayal of Finland. I am an exchange student from Finland, and my father is the director of the Vuokatti Sports Institute, where the skiers of the Finnish Olympic teams train. Many of the things that you said about our athletes are restricted to only a few cases. All of my father's trainees are focused on making it to the Olympics, but they know that they can't be national heroes forever.
Our athletes do have a lot of pressure on them, but they cope with it in the right way. The prodigies of Finland have the same goals and desires as those from other countries. Your article has denigrated my country and culture and has given Americans an inaccurate view of Finland.
HANNA K. JUNGMAN, Orwigsburg, Pa.
Basketball in Alaska
I have just finished reading Ice Buckets (Jan. 31) and feel compelled to write to you. As a college student in 1982, I spent three summer months working in a salmon cannery in Metlakatla, Alaska. My first night there, we played basketball outside until nearly midnight. Not only was it light enough at that hour, but also nobody left the courts, and as newcomers, my friend and I were not about to be the first to leave. Playing basketball was part of living there. It brought the community together.
Then, from 1986 to '90, I was a high school football coach in Texas. Perhaps the greatest compliment I can give to Alaska high school basketball is that interest in it nearly equals the passion of Texas high school football. For most Alaskans, it is a way of life.
Metlakatla is an Indian reservation, and although the people who lived there and I were worlds apart culturally, we had basketball in common. It more than bridged the gap and helped ensure a wonderful summer for me. Thank you for allowing me to relive an important time in my life.
STEVEN J. BUUCK, Milwaukee
In your eulogy of Chub Feeney (SCORECARD, Jan. 24), you failed to mention one accomplishment of his for which vast numbers of baseball fans are thankful—his fight as National League president against the use of the designated hitter in that league.
Thanks to his effort there is still one league that plays baseball as it was intended.
JEFF ROBERTSON, Park Forest, Ill.
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