hurt to change?" he asks in a voice of oil and sweet reason as the 180�
brass scalds your tender flesh. You try to squirm away, but are easily pressed
to the bench by a great, burning hand.
hurts more," you shout, "just to sit and take it!"
For one important
moment before he turns and shoulders through the door, his eyes crinkle; he is
pleased. A lesson has been absorbed. You will bear the mark for days.
Bowerman will be the head U.S. track and field coach in Munich. There is no way
of predicting what he will do or say in that capacity, but it is certain that
Olympia will bear his mark long after the whirlwind claims him.
Bowerman is absolutely frank," says Bob Giegengack, the Yale track coach
who took the U.S. team to the Tokyo Olympics. "If I ask him a question, I
know he'll give it to me straight, regardless of whether I'm going to like what
I hear. That bluntness is rare. Almost all of us will bandy words. We'll
circumlocute. We'll try to soften the blow. Not Bowerman. In fact, when I think
of Bill, I'm a little ashamed of being diplomatic. I wonder if I might have
Not Bowerman. So
outspoken has he been in defense of what he considers the best interests of
U.S. track and field that the recognition implicit in the Olympic coaching
position comes years after he earned it. In 1959 Bowerman was an assistant on
the U.S. Pan-American Games staff, normally a prelude to greater service, but
when his name was placed in nomination for the 1960 and 1964 Olympic posts, it
was killed by an AAU member of the Olympic Committee who felt, quite rightly,
that he was unsympathetic to the former organization. In 1968 Bowerman was
again nominated, but asked that his name be withdrawn. "Hell, I wouldn't
have won, anyway," he says.
Now that he has,
he continues to give officialdom fits. The USOC made no provision for the
expenses of trackmen who qualified for this year's trials in Eugene. Bowerman
solicited a promise of $50,000 from General Motors, which would easily have
covered the athletes' room and board. The USOC said no, GM will have to put the
money in our general pot and we'll decide where it goes. GM withdrew the
petitioned the USOC on behalf of the athletes, asking that at least the top 12
or 16 qualifiers be reimbursed for their expenses and that machinery be set up
for such payments in future Olympic years. He is not hopeful.
our officials make plenty of sanctimonious noises when they were looking at a
guy with a rap on him [Boxer Bobby Lee Hunter] who might have made the team and
wondering if his morals were up to theirs, and then they won't reimburse fine
athletes, some of whom weren't getting enough to eat. The USOC has upward of $5
million in reserves and investments. Now is that money to help the people we
send to the Games or is it to draw more interest? You don't have to do it for
all sports, nor should you. Those blue-blooded equestrian people have had
silver spoons in their mouths all their lives. But we have some ghetto kids in
considered seeking an injunction preventing his own Oregon Track Club from
turning over the proceeds from the track and field trials (the gross was
$300,000) to the USOC until the matter was adjudicated. Finally, and one feels,
reluctantly, he decided against it. "My attorney thought it was the wrong
approach. If you threaten somebody, and he doesn't give in. you put yourself in
the wrong position."