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Before they can even approach the starting line in Rome this summer, Olympic hopefuls the world over will have to cross some hurdles calculated to make the strongest of them hesitate. These hurdles are not standards of performance required for acceptance, but a set of questions prepared by a socio-medico group working through the Italian Olympic Committee. The questions are nosy enough to nettle a psychiatrist.
Rome's questionnaire begins like any other, with a blank space for name, address, date of birth, etc. Then it gets sticky. Without warning, the athlete is asked to rate his social status in much the way New York's Daily News rates movies (i.e., three pluses, two pluses, one plus), and to tell whether he was breast-or bottle-fed. Then, pencil hovering, he must decide whether his marriage can be classified as 1) good, 2) mediocre or 3) bad. After revealing his sense (What school or college?) and his sensibilities (Does he like drawing?) the athlete is asked to rate his sensuality or sexual behavior—once again on Daily News scale (three pluses, two pluses, one plus or, alas, a minus).
That hurdle, No. 73, is the last on the track, which is probably just as well. But there is one more question—not on the list—which the U.S. Olympic Committee intends to ask: Is filling out the questionnaire compulsory? "Under the rules as they stand," said the U.S. committee's J. Lyman Bingham last week, "the only information an athlete is required to give is his name, date and place of birth, and his event."
Before a cheering audience of beer drinkers in the village of Alzing last week, red-vested, clear-eyed, non-allergic Willi Adler walked off with the all- Bavaria snuff-snuffing championship for 1960. His impressive score: five grams of snuff within the prescribed two-minute limit with no spills and no sneezes.
Error on Hornsby
Like a Spanish-American War veteran claiming there hasn't been a real battle since San Juan Hill, irascible old Rogers Hornsby was recalling the great days of baseball—the days when he himself was one of those who made it great.
"You can't even compare Williams and Musial with the real greats of the past," mused the Rajah. "They just aren't in a class with some of your all-time great hitters. Look at the record books and you'll see what I mean."
So, meaning no offense to Rog, we decided to do just that—and this is what we found:
Remembering that Williams has played 16 full seasons and Musial 18 while Hornsby's oldsters all played 21 or more, the records show Ted and Stan could shame much of the opposition with a baseball bat.