A FEDERAL COMMISSION-NOW
The death after a fight in Baltimore of Boxer Ernie Knox, in the circumstances reported on pages 16-21, must be counted one of the sleaziest and most shocking scandals in prizefighting history.
Inevitably, the tragedy has revived pleas for the abolition of prizefighting, generally from politicians and editorialists who know little about the sport. But the men with authority in boxing seem intent on being the abolitionists' best allies. Most of them have proved themselves irresponsible, or worse.
We are usually the last to have anything to say in favor of governmental interference with sport, but we believe that unless boxing is given a strong federal commissioner, and soon, its prospects of survival are dim.
With the Winter Olympics fast approaching, the American Broadcasting Company has started a lively series of 15 television programs on the history, the personalities and the skills of the world's outstanding winter athletes. The film clips of heroes and heroines from past Olympics are fascinating. Watching Sonja Henie win her third straight gold medal at Garmisch-Partenkirchen in 1936, one cannot believe that those whimsical, six-inch jumps and matronly spins made a world-beater. By the same token, Gretchen Fraser, winning America's first skiing gold medal in the slalom at St. Moritz in 1948, looks like a live caricature of how to come in last at Innsbruck in 1964.
To explain modern technique, ABC has guests like U.S. Olympic Coach Bob Beattie on Alpine skiing; Carol Heiss on figure skating; former world champion Stan Benham on bobsledding. Except for a few small lapses (the presentation of ski-jumping is cut off before the jumper soars into his final position), the experts make their subjects simple and understandable.
In this otherwise excellent series, there is, alas, one recurring distraction. At the end of each program, various American athletes of Olympic ability come on to shill for funds to send the U.S. summer-games team to Tokyo. Granted the U.S. Olympic Committee needs money. But Jim Beatty, John Pennel et al., however skillful they may be on the field, are hesitant and wooden when running off a sales pitch. And their slogan—"Raise the colors more in 1964"—is about as un-Olympic an idea as you can find.
EGG ON THE FAIRWAY
The Professional Golfers' Association announced matter-of-factly the other day that a Mr. Al Lew of Sacramento had won the PGA's annual hole in one contest by making a hole in one on the 385-yard 15th hole at the Bing Maloney Golf Course. Mr. Lew used a 4-iron to score his ace, the PGA said. That was it. Period. No further explanation as to what manner of man is Al Lew. Does he always use a 4-iron for 385-yard shots and if so, what the devil happens when he hits the ball with his driver? Perhaps the 15th at Bing Maloney runs down the side of a mountain. Is the fairway made of concrete?