SI Vault
Edited by Craig Neff
April 20, 1987
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April 20, 1987


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Now, about Campanis's suggestion that blacks lack the buoyancy to be good swimmers. In fact, some blacks have excelled in the water, notably UCLA's Chris Silva, an All-America sprint free-styler in the early 1980s, and Enith Brigitha of the Netherlands, who won two bronze medals in freestyle in the 1976 Olympics. To speak of blacks' lack of "buoyancy" is to speak from ignorance.

"There is no reliable published research showing that blacks as a group have greater or less body fat, body density or buoyancy than whites," says Georgia State University physiology professor David Martin. Some physiologists have speculated that blacks may have denser bones or even denser muscles, but as Martin says, "there is considerable variation among people in body density. To try to generalize about blacks versus whites, well, there are not very many black bowlers, either."

Socioeconomic reasons are probably most responsible for the fact that there aren't more Silvas and Brigithas winning big in the pool. As for Campanis's argument, it isn't very buoyant.


Searching for insight into America's recent failure to produce new tennis stars (SI, Dec. 15, 1986), the Omega Watch Corporation commissioned a survey of 336 top junior players competing in this week's Omega Easter Bowl tournament in Miami. The results underscore that tennis is simply too costly for thousands of young athletes to pursue. More than 61% of the players surveyed come from families with incomes of at least $60,000 a year. A whopping 71% said their tennis-related expenses amount to at least $5,000 a year; nearly a third said their annual tennis expenses equaled or exceeded $10,000.

Clearly, a huge pool of potential talent is going untapped. Even the players surveyed—an obviously affluent bunch—cited "financial burden" as the biggest problem facing U.S. junior tennis. A vast majority also supported the creation of national or regional training camps by the U.S. Tennis Association, which doesn't earmark one cent of its $38 million annual budget specifically for the development of junior players.


It was a week for goodbyes and hellos at Madison Square Garden. First, the Knicks bade farewell to retiring 76er star Julius Erving before a game against Philadelphia. To fete Dr. J, the Knicks trotted out Dr. Ruth Westheimer, Dr. Joyce Brothers, Dr. Frank Field (a local weatherman), Dr. Tom Horton of the soap Days of Our Lives and Dr. Leonard (Bones) McCoy of Star Trek, who received a standing ovation.

Four days later, Knick forward Bernard King returned to action after having missed 173 games over more than two years because of an injured right knee (SI, March 30). He scored seven points and looked rusty, doing little to dispel suspicions that he had returned only because of a contract with Converse requiring him to play at least one game in order to collect payment (said to be as high as $200,000). Where Erving had been joined by other doctors, King was cheered by a fellow patient, tennis player Tracy Austin, who just happened to be on hand. Austin has been sidelined for three years with a bad back, making her perhaps the only nonretired pro athlete to have been out of action longer than King.

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