SI Vault
Events, Discoveries and Opinions
January 30, 1961
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
January 30, 1961

Events, Discoveries And Opinions

View CoverRead All Articles View This Issue


Behind the current AAU- South Africa fuss are some simple facts and a simple solution. South Africa invited some of our track and field men to a meet there, and the AAU is now checking with these athletes to see if they would like to go. This is the way such international meets are normally arranged; the AAU does not choose the athletes. The AAU cannot be held responsible for the invitations.

Clearly, however, the South Africans are responsible. In the sprints, they did not invite Frank Budd, Paul Winder or Stone Johnson; they snubbed quarter-milers Otis Davis and Ted Woods and high jumpers John Thomas and Charles Dumas. They ignored hurdling and broad jumping, thus eliminating Lee Calhoun, Willie May, Hayes Jones, Dick Howard, Bo Roberson and Ralph Boston. All of these men—no surprise—are Negroes.

The solution: the AAU should inform the South Africans that if they pick and choose among events and athletes in order to insure all-white competition, we will not send any team at all.


In their drive for world superiority in sports, the Russians have been especially eager to achieve supremacy in basketball because it is the game Americans not only have dominated for years but one we originated. Their plans called for an Olympic victory in Rome, and when the U.S. easily won its fifth gold medal there, the Russians started looking around for a scapegoat.

Last week in the youth paper Komsomolskaya Pravda, Head Coach Stepan Spandarian was nominated as chief villain. One of Spandarian's assistants put the finger on him, using such language as "low level of discipline," "lack of courage," "inadequate tactical preparation."

The truth is that Spandarian, a small, dignified man who insists on correct on-court behavior by his players, has done a remarkable job of raising Russian basketball to a respectable level of competence. A country that had no basketball tradition just a few years ago is now the second or third best in the world. It is quite conceivable that Russia would be a genuine threat to the U.S. in the 1964 Olympics if the continuity of coaching were maintained.

Now, undoubtedly, Spandarian will be fired. Russia's loss is our gain.


Continue Story
1 2 3 4