In spite of the altitude, turistas, stomachaches, sore throats, the disgraceful exhibition of John Carlos and Tommie Smith, the idiotic behavior of the members of the Harvard crew, two atrocious decisions in the boxing matches, the wrangling over South Africa, the threatened boycott in this country, charges of collusion in the wrestling matches, etc., the Olympic Games in Mexico City were a grand show, brilliantly described by your John Underwood. World and Olympic records were tumbled, and the management and scheduling were perfect against the magnificent settings that the Mexicans provided.
ROBERT W. WOOD Jr.
God bless Pappy Gault, a really fine gentleman. The most poignant moment at the Olympics, for me, was not the spontaneous snake dance after the final ceremony—it was Pappy reassuring Albert Robinson as they leaned across the ropes after that truly unbelievable decision.
I understand the Russians are going to revamp their sports program because their athletes did so poorly. What, if anything, are they going to do about their contribution to the officiating? It was their referee who put the KO on Robinson and robbed him of a gold medal.
NANCY E. CHAPMAN
In my mind the one sore spot in the summer Olympics has been and continues to be the unofficial scoring system, which tends to turn the emphasis from individuals to nations. The total medal tally, purely unofficial of course, degrades the entire spirit of the Games.
Unfortunately, the emphasis put on team medals seems to be growing and undoubtedly will continue to do so. I think that a more equitable system should be established as long as there is going to be such a system at all. How can the U.S.A. or the U.S.S.R. pretend to have won the Olympics over a country such as Kenya when the larger countries have sent so many more competitors?
I propose a scaled system whereby a gold is worth five points, silver three and bronze one, and where the number of members of each team is divided into the medal value to determine the point total of that medal.
For example: Kenya, with 50 competitors, wins a gold medal in the 10,000 meters. Thus, 50 into five (gold medal tally) equals .1. Note: the U.S.A. with, say, 200 competitors wins a gold medal in the pole vault: the value of that gold medal would be 200 into five, or .025.
I believe this system would bring the total medal count to a certain parity and would emphasize the individual aspects to a greater extent. It would also create greater interest in a total-medals race which would not be out of reach of any country, regardless of size.
WHITNEY B. SMYTH
If the U.S. Olympic Committee had stood up for Tommie Smith and John Carlos more strongly or had quietly asked Mr. Brundage to consider the prudence of the IOC demand in requiring what would obviously be interpreted as an antiblack action in the racially troubled U.S., the IOC might have backed down. In the event the IOC had still demanded action by the U.S., a refusal by the U.S. Olympic Committee, even if it resulted in the suspension of the entire U.S. team, might have done more for racial cooperation at home than the great medal total will do for the American image around the world.
JAMES E. AUER
Wasn't there ample opportunity for black pride to be demonstrated in the excellence of black competition? Wasn't the black athlete given the best chance of all to show his mettle in the many great performances he gave? And, what about the African black competitor? Why weren't our black athletes spending less time congratulating themselves and comporting like ultra prima donnas and more time showing greater interest in and sportsmanship toward their racial brethren from Ethiopia, Kenya, the Caribbean and other areas? The Games were marked by many excellent examples of comradeship and sportsmanship between athletes, but, even though I watched carefully for it, I saw none between our black athletes and any others except themselves. And, isn't that what the Olympics are supposed to be all about?
JOHN R. PRESTON