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- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
NO HELLO FOR DOLLY
South Africa has given its Non-white Sportsman of the Year award to Basil D'Oliveira, a Cape Colored or mulatto cricketer who now regularly plays for England. Nonetheless, Pieter Le Roux, South Africa's minister of the interior, has stated that D'Oliveira will not be admitted to South Africa if, as appears certain, he is picked for the English team scheduled to tour there next year. After some shilly-shallying, the Marylebone Cricket Club, which administers the sport in England, stated that if Dolly (as D'Oliveira is called) or any other English player were denied admission, "MCC would find such an attitude wholly unacceptable, and the projected tour would be abandoned."
In the meantime, the sponsors of next month's match between Barbados and the rest of the world canceled invitations to three white South African cricketers, terming Dolly's rejection an "uncompromising expression of policy repugnant to all West Indians."
The only light on such a somber subject is the memory of one English cricket fan from last summer, when Dolly was scoring well off the feared bowling of the West Indies' Gary Sobers. Cried a cheerful West Indian from the crowd: "Sobers, you fool, man. Take no notice of his color."
A final note: Le Roux would seem to deserve an award, too—White Non-sportsman of the Year.
THE MYSTERY OF THE 1:44.9
On June 10, 1966 in Terre Haute, Ind. Jim Ryun ran a half mile in 1:44.9—.2 under the world record. Cause for rejoicing, or at least so one would think, yet Bob Timmons, Ryun's coach, was "concerned": Ryun had run the race in the United States Track and Field Federation Championships, and the AAU, which has the sole authority to approve records set in America, is bitterly at odds with the USTFF, which is aligned with the AAU's archenemy, the NCAA.
However, the Terre Haute meet had been declared legal by the arbitration board formed as a result of a Senate hearing on the NCAA-AAU dispute. (Legal, in this instance, means that the two parties agreed temporarily to set aside their differences.) The AAU recognized Ryun's time as an American record, and it was sent to the International Amateur Athletic Federation in London for certification as a world record.
But the IAAF returned the four-page application to the AAU. According to IAAF Secretary Donald Pain, it was "not in order." Pain declined to comment on what was out of order. Last week in New York, Colonel Donald Hull, the executive director of the AAU, was equally reticent. When a SPORTS ILLUSTRATED reporter asked whether he might see the application, Hull replied, "No, I'm sorry. You can't see it." When the reporter asked Hull if he could tell him, then, what was wrong with it, Hull replied, "No, I'm sorry. I can't tell you." All Hull would say was, "The application will be resubmitted to the IAAF for its next meeting in April, and we expect at that time it will be accepted."
These absurdly mysterious goings-on give one pause. Are the athletes' performances the raison d'�tre for the organizations, or is it the other way around?