SI Vault
Edited by Robert Creamer
May 25, 1970
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May 25, 1970


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The student council at San Diego State voted 12-10 to cancel a game next fall with Brigham Young. The football squad voted 51-0 to play the game. The question eventually will be settled either by a student referendum or by the school's president. Meantime, a football player and Navy veteran named Bill Pierson became a controversial figure on campus because he would not let the American flag be lowered during an anti-war demonstration. He stood by the flagpole for three hours, defying a group of protesters, none of whom chose to challenge him (Pierson is 6'3", weighs 250 pounds and has been drafted by the New York Jets). He said later, "I was born under that flag, I fought for that flag, and I'm going to college today because of what it represents. No one is going to desecrate it as long as I can defend and protect it."

Nonetheless, the flag was lowered to half mast the next day, whereupon Pierson criticized the college administration, saying, "There are a lot of us who are fed up with the silly business of an administration letting a small group of radicals push around more than 20,000 students. I have worked hard for five years to get my degree in business administration and I was due to graduate in June. Now we are told we are likely to lose credits because we cannot get in the required hours of classroom work. We are taking an academic whipping from a handful of people a lot of us have absolutely no use for."

Three thousand miles away, at Hobart College in upstate New York, more than 90 athletes ( Hobart has 1,100 undergraduates) signed a petition suggesting that "collegiate sport has become an integral part of American life...and suspension of it would further serve the cause of awakening the American people to the folly of our present military expansion in Southeast Asia. The world of sport is not immune to the national student strike." Seventeen members of Princeton's varsity baseball squad issued a somewhat milder anti-war statement which they distributed to spectators at their games. It said, "There is much misunderstanding and perhaps indignation about what is occurring on the nation's college campuses today. We are interested in doing whatever we can to dispel these confusions. We would like to talk to you...."

News continues cheerful all over the place. Reports from Mexico say that Latin-American guerrillas, who have done such a brisk trade in kidnapping and occasionally killing prominent hostages, have their eyes on Pel�, Brazil's preeminent soccer star. Pel� is in Guanajuato, training for the World Cup matches that will be held in Mexico City in June. Mexican police have put security guards in hotels, training sites and other areas the athletes frequent, with special attention being paid to Pel�, who should be used to crowds by now.


Given two choices, the International Olympic Committee can be guaranteed, money-back, to make the wrong one. Offered four or more choices, as its 73 members were last week in Amsterdam, there is no way the IOC can fail to louse up at least two. Which is what this near-fossilized example of the two-generation gap managed to do. The IOC picked Montreal and Denver as sites for the 1976 Olympic Games when it should have picked Los Angeles and Vancouver.

Recriminations from an overconfident Russian delegation aside (it claimed that Moscow, a late bidder for the Summer Games, lost out to a North American conspiracy and a vote dictated by narrow-minded Western politics), the IOC named two obviously less well prepared cities to handle what are the world's most demanding sports organizational jobs. Montreal and Denver are wonderful places to visit but you would hardly want to run or swim or ski there when Los Angeles and Vancouver are available.

For the Summer Games, Los Angeles offered much the best facilities for both sporting venues and hotel accommodations, as well as a $40 million TV contract that could have done a lot toward filling the IOC's traditionally lean bank account. But LA's bid was perhaps too persistent, too characteristic of the high-pressure U.S. salesmanship that often irritates rather than convinces.

As for the Winter Games, Vancouver's actual site, Garibaldi, is 75 miles north of the city and isolated much in the manner of Squaw Valley, which was by a couple of space shots the last really good location for a Winter Olympics. There, in a radius of 2.5 miles, Garibaldi contains absolutely every facility for winter sports, including the Olympic Village. But Vancouver was a victim of Montreal; the site for the Summer Games was selected first and one nation is not going to get both Olympics in one year. So Denver, despite such flaws as its mile-high altitude and venues 40 miles apart, won by default.

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