SI Vault
November 20, 1961
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November 20, 1961


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As happens every four years, the U.S. ski team is getting ready to go abroad for the World Ski Championships. And, as also happens every four years, the U.S. ski team has a bad case of the shorts. Out of $55,000 needed as a bare minimum, only $30,000 has been raised; and half the team leaves in two weeks. If the other $25,000 is not forthcoming, the other half of the squad stays home.

This would be pretty tough on kids who have trained most of their lives for this chance, then tried out for the team over a two-month series of races at their own expense. But it would be even tougher on the U.S. Why? Well, there are a number of countries that never lose a chance to make us look like bums. Our ski team wears the national shield on its uniforms. To Europeans, a national shield means a national team, whether it is made up of amateurs or not.

Unlike a great many other deserving sports, skiing is a multimillion-dollar proposition in this country. The multi-millions are made by manufacturers and resort owners, who get a fair amount of their publicity from racing. Some of them—like the Head Ski Company, Dartmouth Skis and the Mt. Mansfield Company—have already backed the team with cash. It seems odd that so many others should leave the financing to ordinary skiers who derive nothing more from the team than a mild sense of pride.


Fellow named Don Mack does an outdoors-type television show in Columbus, Ohio. The other day he beamed at the cameras and proudly displayed a brace of canvasbacks. He had, he announced proudly, shot them on a farm pond near his home. Too late, a station employee slipped a note into his hand: "You can't shoot these!" Federal agents put the arm on the hapless Mack after the show.

The ducks may eventually wind up in the Ohio State Museum to be mounted and displayed, so it shouldn't be a total loss, and Don Mack was taken before Judge Mell G. Underwood. His Honor was furious. He ordered Mack to read on his next show the full text of the federal law protecting canvasbacks. And the judge added: "You tell them, too, that I fined you $250 for each bird."

Corporations selling stock to the public and engaging in Thoroughbred racing with the proceeds are now banned by a new rule of the New York State Racing Commission. Florida, California, New Jersey and all in-between points, please copy. If bettors want to become owners, let them buy horses and not stock. Such corporate racing, as we have pointed out, offers too much opportunity for fixing in brokerage and bookmaking establishments as well as in stables and paddocks.


It was with genuine regret last week that burly Jack Nicklaus gave up his standing as the world's best amateur golfer and announced he was turning pro. For two years he had nurtured the hope that he could be another Bobby Jones, combining an amateur's attitude and status with a professional's competence, to become the very symbol of his sport. But golf has grown so much that neither Nicklaus nor anyone else with his overwhelming ability can sensibly remain an amateur anymore.

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