basketball are American inventions that have spread round the world. The
Russians don't even claim to have discovered them. They have been content
merely to beat us in world championship matches in both sports. Our defeats are
the product of smugness and indifference that amounts to international
For more than 25
years the U.S. has had a Good Neighbor policy designed to cultivate the
friendship of Latin American countries. And how does it work as far as sports
are concerned? Last year we sent inferior basketball players to world
championship matches in Chile and got the beating we deserved. Last week our
volleyball players suffered humiliating defeats to Iron Curtain nations and
others in Rio de Janeiro.
The men and women
who went to Brazil to represent the U.S. had insufficient practice and money.
So short of cash were the boys of our Los Angeles Westside Jewish Community
Center and the girls of our Santa Monica Mariners—both champions of this
country—that the men could only begin to train as a team in the middle of
September; the Russians started training six days a week 10 hours a day last
February. Our girls had to sell tickets to exhibition matches to their friends,
buy their own uniforms and pay their own fare to Rio. The State Department
refused help; businessmen were uninterested. Two fine players on the men's team
couldn't raise enough money to get to Rio at all. Nikita Khrushchev paid the
fare for the Iron Curtain teams and gave them plenty of pocket money.
Once in Brazil
our players couldn't afford their own kind of food or mineral water, so they
suffered from dysentery. They had to stay in free quarters, concrete cells with
three-tiered bunks in the stadium, and eat free meals at the stadium mess. The
Russians lived in the best hotels, isolated as usual, but clearly the batting
and volleying delegates of a first-rate power.
suffered by athletes are not described here as alibis for our losses. We might
have lost anyway. They are cited for what they truly are: indictments of our
Government and people. We did not give our men and women a chance, and we were
discourteous in sending insufficiently trained and badly equipped players to
compete in games in which our host nations take a vital interest. If, in the
future, we don't want to support our athletes, we should not have the
effrontery to compete.
KEEP AWAY FROM
scientists take a coolly balanced view of the use of drugs by athletes, as
George Walsh reports on page 27. Our own feelings are stronger. We think
athletes should compete without the help of stimulants or tranquilizers.
Both types of
drugs are too generally used and too easily obtained. A runner, swimmer,
tennis, basketball or football player with a will to win can send money to a
wholesaler or a jobber and get all he wants. It is the responsibility of
legislators to cut off this indiscriminate source of supply. It is the
responsibility of coaches and trainers to do their utmost to keep drugs away
Some of those
commenting on the widespread use of drugs in sports in recent years make the
distinction between amateurs and pros. They say a pro has a living to make and
is entitled to employ any means to earn it by winning. We say this is nonsense.
All drugs should be banned from all sports. The National Collegiate Athletic
Association and other amateur sports organizations should take a firm stand on
this important matter; so should the pro sports associations.