Officials of international athletic games, as Avery Brundage could so warmly testify, have as much difficulty keeping politics out of their stadiums as ordinary citizens do in keeping ants out of picnic lunches.
To be sure, things have been politically peaceful at Chicago's Pan American Games (except for a wrestler from the Dominican Republic who has asked for asylum rather than return to Trujillo-land). But at Turin, Italy, where 1,652 athletes from 39 countries competed in the University Games, things were chaotically normal. There the Austrians were mad at the Italians because of the troubles of the Austrians in Italian-controlled South Tyrol; the South Koreans were mad at the North Koreans until the North Koreans, who were mad at the Italians, went home in a snit; and lots of people were mad at the U.S., which ignored the games except for three unofficial athletes.
All this turned out to be of little matter, compared to the great bunting debate—Red Chinese bunting. First the Italians weren't going to let the Red Chinese play at all. Then, with second thoughts, perhaps, about next year's Olympics at Rome and mindful of the history of political uproar that invariably attends the Red Chinese in the world of sport, the Italians changed their minds. The Reds could compete, they said, but no Red Chinese flags could fly. The Red Chinese said they'd either fly their flag or go home, and it took Italian Foreign Minister Giuseppe Pella to offer a Solomon-style compromise. No national flags would fly at all, he ruled. To cap the affair, the Red Chinese student athletes proved no great shakes in the actual competitions. To local delight, the Italians did remarkably well.
It all added up to a fine dry run for Italian officialdom, which now has an idea what it can expect when athletes from all the world, flags in hand, march to Rome in 1960.
Vincent J. Velella, the East Harlem mouthpiece who was accused before a grand jury of acting as a front for Mobster Tony Salerno in the promotion of the first Patterson-Johansson fight (SI, Aug. 31) and who has noisy hopes of promoting the rematch, was grilled last week by the New York District Attorney's office in connection with the theft of $45,-297 worth of Government bonds.
According to the D.A.'s office, the bonds were last seen on July 31 in a New York brokerage office. A few days later they were redeemed in a Brooklyn bank by a man who said he was acting on behalf of someone who expected to open an account. The account was never opened, but on August 4, $45,297 was deposited in an East Harlem bank and checks exhausting most of it were then drawn. One of the checks went to Vincent J. Velella.
Said an assistant D.A.: "Velella gave an explanation which, if true, is satisfactory."