Knowing that these poor athletes don't get the respect they feel
they deserve for making a huge contribution to our society
breaks my heart.
SCOTT NORRIS, Lebanon, Ohio

The Scourge of Drugs

Your story on the drug testing lab in Sydney was excellent (Gotta
Catch 'Em All, Sept. 18). However, the testing process has to be
reinforced by more than a mere statement in the Olympic athlete's
oath. If we're going to eliminate substance abuse from the Games,
there must be consequences beyond stripping the athletes of
medals if they get caught. Anyone found using a banned substance
should not only be removed from the competition, but the rest of
the athlete's team in that event should be banned as well.
Moreover, the offending country should not be allowed to
participate in that event in the following Olympics.
DAVID L. RAE, Arlington, Va.

As a former Olympic track and field athlete, I can testify that
your article reiterated what most athletes already know: Every
four years better drug testing measures will be trumpeted to the
public, and another Olympics will pass with a small number of
athletes getting caught cheating. The public will think that the
testing has had an impact and that the other Olympians were
clean, while athletes hoping that the true breadth of drug usage
would be revealed will learn that it's not going to happen.
Pole Vault, 1996 Games
Lawrence, Kans.


I believe you owe Andre Agassi an apology. In your piece New
Balls? Puh-leez (INSIDE TENNIS, Sept. 11), you say that Agassi
"seems...[un]interested in doing what it takes to sustain a
great career.... Agassi's dispirited straight-set loss to Arnaud
Clement in the second round left plenty of doubt about his
future." To someone who didn't follow the tournament, it would
appear that Agassi had not prepared for the U.S. Open or just
didn't feel like playing. Only in the next article, Sydney off
My Mind, do we find out what was bothering him. The news that
his mother and sister had breast cancer was at least as
distracting as the death of Jack Nicklaus's mother the week of
the PGA Championship, a fact you pointed out in your coverage of
Nicklaus's round with Tiger Woods (Hat Trick, Aug. 28).

Melancholy Babies

I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciated Steve
Rushin's column in your Sept. 11 issue (AIR AND SPACE). As a
stay-at-home parent and social worker, it made me feel guilty for
not having more respect for such an underappreciated,
underprivileged societal group. How ignorant and selfish I've
JENNI WEST, Marietta, Ga.

I'm one of those fawned-over nurses, and I hope I've earned the
respect of my patients and co-workers. I'd love to be able to
afford season tickets to see the Sacramento Kings, but I've got a
family to support. Athletes: Respect isn't given to you for
having a fat salary, a fast car, a 10,000-square-foot house, or
being No. 1. It's earned by behaving responsibly, respecting
others and being thankful to the fans.
BETTY MEIER, Clarksburg, Calif.

Don't waste an entire article beating a dead horse. We already
know the difference between the treatment of pro athletes and
everyone else.
GREG RUSSELL, South Burlington, Vt.

Bargain Basement

Deion Sanders is quoted in the Sept. 11 issue (Fresh Starts) as
saying that "everyone went shopping this off-season.... It's just
that Dan [Snyder] is shopping at Versace, and some teams are
shopping at Wal-Mart." Dan was shopping at Wal-Mart too, but
paying Versace prices.

Accounted For

On page 192 of your Olympic preview edition you say that Pete
Sampras has never been an Olympian, which is not true (Medal
Picks, Sept. 11). In 1992, in Barcelona, on Pete's last day he
sweated through 10 sets in searing heat, losing in singles to
Andrei Cherkasov and in doubles with Jim Courier.
NORMAN SALIK, Goodyear, Ariz.

Banish the Parents

I had to write after reading in the Sept. 11 "Blotter" section
about the two T-ball coaches who were suspended for their part in
a brawl over an umpire's decision (SCORECARD). Four- and
five-year-olds were playing, and the article said nobody was
seriously hurt. What do you mean? Those kids have been hurt in
the worst way! The parents should learn from their children.
Play, don't fight. The kids should take the balls and bats home
until parents learn to play with each other nicely.
SKIP ROBERTS, Moriarty, N.Mex.


Like Fine Wine

I don't want to take anything away from the Washington Redskins'
estimable cornerback Darrell Green, but Peter King is off the
mark in your Sept. 18 issue (INSIDE THE NFL) when he says that
Green is "the greatest over-40 player ever--in any sport." What
about Warren Spahn (above), who won 75 games after age 40 and
was 23-7 in 1963 at age 42?
JIM LONG, Atlanta

Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)