In asking for the return of all Alpine skiing medals won at the 1968 Winter Olympics, Avery Brundage seems to be working himself into a Samson-like position, with the walls of the Olympic structure threatening to fall around his ears. Granted, Alpine skiing is shot through with commercialism and, granted, the Olympics are supposed to be limited to simon-pure amateurs. But, as Ben Fuller, president of the Canadian Amateur Ski Association, commented, "You don't ask for the medals back. If there was any question about them, they shouldn't have been awarded. It's an exercise in absurdity."
Yet Brundage is neither absurd nor naive. What the belligerent, 81-year-old president of the International Olympic Committee is doing is declaring open war on the F�d�ration Internationale de Ski. Brundage said, "It is obvious that Alpine skiing has not been properly controlled, and therefore I wrote to the FIS and asked when the medals would be returned." His formal statement continued: "Despite the annual Alpine circus operated by the FIS each winter, which requires the exclusive services of the participants for half the year and more, it seems that sliding down mountains is not the most important sport in the world and it is doubtful if it should be on the Olympic program."
How Sapporo, Japan, the site of the 1972 Winter Games, will react to this was not clear. Brundage, who has had a long love affair with the Far East, must have felt a great deal of personal satisfaction when the Games were awarded to Japan. But if Alpine skiing goes, will Sapporo still want the Games? Will anybody? And if the Winter Games go, can the Summer Games be far behind? Watch out for those walls, Samson.
SKI A LA BOEUF
Some really amateur Alpine skiers held a brisk competition at Sugarloaf in Maine late in April, where the world heavyweight ski championship for racers over 200 pounds was won by 19-year-old John Truden, who weighed in at 401 in his ski boots. It took John 57.6 seconds to slither down the 30-gate slalom course, and his 20-second handicap (one second for every 10 pounds over 200) reduced, if that's the right word, his net time to 37.6. Second was Tiny Stacy, 407 pounds, and third was Duffy Dodge, practically a skeleton at 235. Dodge's time was an impressive 42.4 but he had only a three-second handicap. Heaviest man in the field was William Roberts at 426. The entry fee, 3� a pound, cost Roberts $12.78. There were 57 entries in all, and the fees, which went to the Pine Tree Society for Crippled Children, fatted up to more than $450.
Apr�s ski, the victorious Truden headed for the hospital, where doctors hope to slim him down to a svelte 300. Before leaving, the champion celebrated his last day of freedom by knocking off 12 hot dogs, four milk shakes and a slab of apple pie with ice cream topping. Ski heil!
The Golf Journal, official publication of the U.S. Golf Association, recently reported on a couple of items that should be of interest—and serve as a warning—to golfers and golf clubs.
First, it is tradition—in comic strips, anyway—for a frustrated golfer to wrap an offending wood or iron around a tree after a disastrous shot. This, The Golf Journal says, can backfire. A man in Indiana hit a vicious hook off the tee and angrily smashed his driver against a ball washer that sat on a tripod base. The club shattered when it hit two legs of the tripod simultaneously, and the head end, which had about 10 inches of shaft, snapped back and stabbed the golfer in the chest, deep enough to puncture a lung.