The simple fact is, the Kiwis were better this time.
DAVE SHEPHERD, ROCKY RIVER, OHIO
Thanks for the article by E.M. Swift on the Kiwis' success in winning the America's Cup (A Clean Sweep, May 22). The speed of Black Magic proved that Kiwis can fly. For us New Zealanders, the feeling is the same our American mates felt when those fabulous hockey players knocked off Russia in 1980. Do we believe in miracles? Yeah, mate, we do!
GEOFF ANDREWS, New York City
As an expatriate New Zealander living in the U.S., the article made me proud to be a Kiwi. Swift's assessment of the reason for the Kiwis' win and Dennis Conner's demise echoed sentiments I frequently heard from my American buddies.
JOHN LUDECKE, Reston, Va.
While Dennis Conner is damned for being the only skipper in the history of the America's Cup to lose the trophy twice, don't forget he also remains the only one to win it four times. I still recall the cover of your Feb. 16, 1987, issue on which Conner was glorified for winning the Cup back from Australia. Now after a truly noble loss, you vilify him.
LOUISE BELL, Rowayton, Conn.
As one who has been directly involved in the America's Cup competition since 1974 and who served as chairman of Dennis Conner's campaigns in 1980 and '83, I found your article to be extremely offensive in its character assassination of Conner. Dennis's racing record speaks for itself, including his win of the Etchells 22 World Championship in 1994. In any sport top athletes like Dennis are there because of their dedication, integrity and hard work. Managing a complex operation like a Cup campaign and also seeing that the bills were paid put additional pressure on Dennis. The fact is that he put up an incredible campaign against many odds. He deserves credit, not ridicule.
G.F. JEWETT JR., San Francisco
In reading your list of sportsmen who, despite outstanding careers, failed to win a major award (SCORECARD, May 15), I was astonished to see that Nolan Ryan was not listed. During a 27-year career that included more than 5,700 strikeouts, 300 wins and seven no-hitters, Ryan never won the Cy Young Award. In 1973 and '74 he had the only 20-plus-win seasons of his career, while striking out a record-breaking 383 and 367, respectively, and throwing three no-hitters. His ERA was below 3.00 both years. One other year that I feel he should have been awarded the Cy Young was 1981, when he pitched his record-breaking fifth no-hitter, put up an 11-5 record and led the league with a 1.69 ERA.
RICHARD MARTZ, Montreal
The College Coach of the Year Award, now the Paul W. (Bear) Bryant Award, was never awarded to Bear Bryant.
LARRY MLYNCZAK, Savannah
As a naturalized U.S. citizen who was forced to leave Cuba because of Fidel Castro's tyranny, I am writing about S.L. Price's article concerning the problems now facing athletes in Cuba (The Best Little Sports Machine in the World, May 15). The Republic of Cuba has traditionally produced great athletes. A review of baseball All-Stars of the 1950s and '60s will reveal many players who were products of pre-Castro Cuba: Orestes (Minnie) Minoso, Camilo Pascual, Tony Perez, Tony Oliva, Bert Campaneris, Tony Taylor, Zoilo Versalles and Cookie Rojas, to mention just a few.
Pre-Castro boxing titles included welterweight champions Luis Rodriguez and Kid Gavilan.
Freedom is the core of all human progress. Only when Castro is gone can Cuba reach its full potential in all endeavors, including athletic competition.
WILFREDO MANUEL FERNANDEZ