RED GLOW OVER TOKYO
International politics and international sport seldom travel the same highway together. Last week the two were riding tandem in divers quarters. In Djakarta, representatives of a dozen dissident countries, including Red China, the Soviet Union, Egypt and Indonesia, met and decided to stage an Olympics of their own. The event, pompously named the Games of the New Emerging Forces, is to be held in Djakarta in November and every four years thereafter, and is intended to rival the Olympic Games themselves. Alarmed by this aggressive and politically founded action, the French sports daily L'Equipe warned that international sport is threatened with a total schism. In London, the Marquess of Exeter, vice-president of the International Olympic Committee, spoke out on the subject of excluding East German athletes from contests held in NATO countries. The Marquess is, of course, against this, since political discrimination is a violation of the Olympic ideal. He tendered a solution. The Marquess believes that East Germans and other victims of political tensions—perhaps even those of the New Emerging Forces—should be allowed a United Nations passport.
Now comes word that in a few weeks the UNESCO Youth Institute will hold a seminar in Germany on politics and chauvinism in sports. The conference will be attended by international sports leaders. Sport should be free of ideology, but when politics ruptures the freedom of big athletic events, as it frequently has done, realities must be faced. It is reassuring to find that intelligent forces are reaching for a solution. A global schism in sport is not in our interest as Americans or sportsmen.
No longer actively involved in tennis promotion, except for serving as adviser and having one vote in the International Professional Tennis Players Association, Jack Kramer now is concentrating on golf and horse racing. He is adding 18 holes to his Los Serranos course in Chino, Calif., and he is running a stable of Thoroughbreds (Racquet Stable) for an Australian partner. But he has not entirely forsaken tennis.
For one thing, he is building a tennis club in Palos Verdes and he has an idea for the sport that seems to derive from his new interest in horse racing. Kramer would do for professional players what turf handicappers do for the Thoroughbreds in order to equalize their abilities. He would dispel the idea that tennis form almost always prevails. He would handicap the tennis players with weights. "The best player," Kramer says, "would be weighted down, but where I do not know. Maybe around his belt or on his feet."
We have great respect for Kramer and his contributions to tennis, but we suggest he take his idea back to the stable and sec if anyone whinnies.
MORNING LINE ON STRETCH PANTS
As the Japanese cherry exchanged its blossoms for green leaves in Central Park last week, a troupe of snow fanatics descended on New York—the people who make ski clothes and equipment, and the 5,000 buyers who came to see their wares at the 1963-64 Ski Industries America Trade Show. Conditions, as they say in the world of ski, were excellent. Firms reported increases in orders up to 300%. The ski business is, in fact, so good that everybody suddenly wants a part of it—the house of Dior, for instance, which showed 50 different costumes in its second ski collection designed by Marc Bohan for Dior Sport. McGregor, the country's largest maker of men's sportswear, took a plunge in ski, came up with one of the bestsellers at the show—a cartridge-quilt parka with elastic stretch in the quilting. Leatherman Samuel Robert launched a line of lean-looking leather ski pants. Glen of Michigan's Bill Atkinson designed his first line of ski apparel—stretch pants and jackets in sprightly plaids and checks. It was all enough to put the old-line skiwear makers on their mettle—and that's where they were. White Stag hired Italy's Emilio Pucci to design a skiwear collection featuring silk-and-Helanca stretch pants, and Ulla's Vicki Cooper emulated Chanel with a braid-trimmed stretch-flannel ski suit.
There is a reactionary fraternity in skiing which likes to grouse that skiing started to decline as a sport when the first rope tow was opened and that stretch pants are the work of the devil. This is the year they should put on snowshoes and head for the woods.