The arrogance of certain athletes—to think they should qualify for the Olympics without competition because of their past glories.
SCOTT ROSE, OLNEY, ILL.
Tim Layden was right on the money in his defense of the Olympic track and field trials (POINT AFTER, July 1). Every four years we hear the same lament over the luckless stars who somehow don't make the team. Sure, there are always a few disappointments, but there are usually a few surprises as well. The fact is that Carl Lewis always did make the team when he was the best in the world. Unfortunately the pressure to preselect stars to the team will probably surface again. Star athletes prefer to have a free ticket for all rides, so as not to risk those endorsements.
EDWARD DERSE, Santa Monica, Calif.
Tim Layden was too flippant in saying that if certain outstanding competitors were allowed to participate in the Olympic Games without having qualified in the trials, they would thereby be given a "free pass." If someone has worked and trained for four, eight or 12 years to achieve a certain level of performance, I don't think recognition of that achievement is a free pass. Supposing Michael Johnson had gotten sick at the trials rather than at Barcelona or that Mary Decker Slaney had collided with a competitor in a trial rather than in the actual Olympic race. As for cashing in on the Olympics, what's the matter with that? If Layden won a Pulitzer, would he turn down the prize money as unseemly?
WILLIAM R. SHUTTLEWORTH
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
It's ludicrous to put elite athletes, who have proved themselves in numerous events over the last six months, in a Russian-roulette qualifier. Surely a multiple-event qualifying system is needed. That would be fair to all athletes and would protect a Michael Johnson from missing the team because of one bad day. Layden claims to agree with Dan O'Brien that we need to send our best team, but he seems more concerned with the entertainment value of the one-shot trials and the inevitable sound bites from newly hatched Olympians.
JEFFREY BUKANTZ, Livingston, N.J.
It was pathetic to hear some of today's athletes, with their gold necklaces and plenty of gold in their pockets, complain about having to qualify for the Olympics. Somebody should tell them about those of us who trained just as hard toward the 1940 Olympics only to have them canceled because of the start of the war in Europe. Believe me, more than 50 years later we still feel the disappointment.
JIMMY HERBERT, New Rochelle, N.Y.
?Herbert was a three-time All-America in track at New York University.—ED.
I enjoyed your SCORECARD about suggested look-alike actors for sports personalities (July 8). How about this one: Harrison Ford as golfer Nick Faldo?
J. PAUL WEIDNER, Toronto
As I watched my beloved Red Wings this season, I couldn't help but notice the distinct resemblance between Dino Ciccarelli and Gary Sinise.
CRAIG D. BARKER, Livonia, Mich.
Michael Douglas for Pat Riley?
VASSILIS DALAKAS, Eugene, Ore.
Will Smith as Robert Horry?
MARK BODENRADER, North Andover, Mass.