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THE OLYMPICS, LIVE
It was a relatively discordant and unsheltered Olympics. The world's much-heralded gaps, between nations, races and generations, were several times made visible, and there were more disgruntled interviews than usual. Russia expressed displeasure with its team before the Games were over, and American officials publicly scolded and then cast out two of the best U.S. competitors.
But in any other competitive international convocation—a United Nations session, say, or a peace conference—such notes would have seemed only mildly sour. It was still the Olympics, and it brought some of the world's best people together on common ground and in mutual respect. There were still the traditional scenes of Pakistanis mixing with Kenyans and Aussies in wildly heterogeneous congeniality. Sociological considerations did not obscure the muscular and spiritual crises of individual athletes, rising to the occasion or being mastered by it. There was plenty of beautiful motion.
And Americans got a better look at it all than ever before. Dedicated U.S. home viewers, in fact, had a better view than any VIP guest in Mexico City. ABC television was on hand with 464 gold-jacketed personnel, 24 miles of cable and a camera seemingly ready to pick up every sweat suit that moved. The network's orchestration of live, taped, slow-motion, stop-action and split-screen coverage of events at 16 different sites for 16 days has been criticized as too jumpy and as overlarded with commercials, but on balance it was a laudable job of comprehension and analysis. The filmed studies of the leading contenders' forms were edifying, and the on-the-spot pursuit was typified by the sight of Howard Cosell chasing Charlie Greene around the track after the 100-meter final. It is good to know, firsthand, what an Olympian has to say when he's still out of breath.
ABC says the 44 hours of telecast time cost $12 million and will turn no very sizable profit, but there is no doubt that the big enterprise paid off. The cameras' scrutiny deprived the Games of a purely athletic appearance and made them a deeper ceremony.
HORSES OF WORSHIP
FORGING A LITTLE NATURE
The symposium, Man and Nature in the City, held Oct. 21-22 in Washington, D.C. under the auspices of the U.S. Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife, was given over largely to the traditional pursuits of planners, beautifiers and parks, fish and wildlife men, some 250 of whom attended. Nature, it was generally agreed, is good for even a city man, making him healthier, happier and less inclined to throw fire bombs. The lack of nature in the cities was pointed out and deplored. It was recommended that whatever nature could be found near cities be publicly acquired and that more symposia be held.
Somewhat at odds with the consensus was Dr. Robert N. Young, executive director of the Baltimore Regional Planning Council. He gently chided his colleagues for being at heart, despite their new concern for urban problems, rural-type men with rural-type notions. The inner-city citizen, said Young, seldom has the means or the inclination to seek out and take advantage of traditional forms of nature, even if they are only as far away as the nearest suburb.
Therefore, Young said, Baltimore planners see the need for manufactured nature. On the Baltimore drawing boards are blocklong brooks babbling down decorative concrete valleys, miniforests of potted trees, and inner-city hills and dales made of tastefully arranged and camouflaged rubble piles.