OLYMPICS IN REVIEW
I have thoroughly enjoyed your written and pictorial coverage of the Olympic Games. However, I was shocked at the suggestion in SCORECARD ("Terror in Munich," Sept. 18) that abolition of future Olympic Games might be necessary to eliminate the possibility of any further catastrophes like the murder of the Israeli athletes.
If this type of thinking is the solution to the problem, then we should abolish all organized athletics throughout the world. And then what happens to the millions of people who benefit from athletics?
We all sorrow over the unfortunate events instigated by people who are undoubtedly sick. But is athletics the cause?
RALPH E. JONES
University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
La Crosse, Wis.
I must strongly disagree with the idea that the Olympics should be abolished. The Olympics are the only occasion for the athletes of the world to get together to prove who is the best. Let's not have the Games stopped because of eight crazy men. Of course, I was shocked and appalled by the tragic events that took place in Munich, but what was overshadowed is the fact that the spirit of friendship still exists among the majority of participants in the Olympics. It is just that the men who do not have that spirit override the ones who do. The media give the public only the bad news and hardly ever the good news.
Rock Hill, S.C.
Due to the outstandingly comprehensive Olympic coverage by the American Broadcasting Company, we television viewers have been well educated as to what the Olympics are really all about. But while we have been exposed to many fine athletic pursuits previously unfamiliar to the casual sports fan, we have also glimpsed the darker side of a supposedly amateur sporting spectacle. After the Israeli team tragedy, the horrendous judging of the boxing, gymnastics and diving competitions, the great pole-vault controversy and the dual outcome of the championship basketball game, I for one was left wondering if perhaps the United Nations headquarters might not have been a more suitable location for the contests. It often appeared that the athletes themselves were merely pawns in the more important game of international politics.
Obviously, the events that depend upon the opinion of judges are those most open to the insidious objective of demonstrating the supremacy of one political system over another. The only solution is to have judges selected solely on the basis of competence and with the expressed goal of total repudiation of any type of political quota system.
The playing of the national anthems of the medal winners is yet another call to nationalistic irrationality. Although I must admit that seeing an American athlete standing on the victory platform and hearing The Star-Spangled Banner fill the stadium is a beautiful thing, it is clear that the practice serves only to intensify the political taint of the Games. The ceremony should be discontinued.
The stated purpose of the Olympic Games is to provide a setting that allows the world's finest athletes to compete fairly against each other in an atmosphere of friendship. I cannot see where the present organization of the Olympics promotes or even provides for the achievement of this ideal. For years we have been led to believe that perhaps the Olympic Games were the only place where men and women of all nations could compete in good will and good faith. Now the cold light of truth has shone through to the disillusionment of us all. As they now stand, the Olympic Games are a classic example of an institution that does not work. Without change, they are not worth keeping.
Monte Sereno, Calif.
My sincere congratulations to the authors of your fine pro football preview (Sept. 18). Although I disagree with many of your predictions, especially your selection of Baltimore over Miami, they were obviously made with an open mind. Also, SI should be congratulated for featuring Walt Garrison on the cover instead of one of the more publicized Dallas Cowboys.
Little Ferry, N.J.
As usual, Tex Maule has astounded rational observers with his predictions. Baltimore's defense with Bubba Smith was exceptional. Without him, it is no better than half a dozen others. So how will a 39-year-old quarterback (even Johnny U.) take the Colts over the improved Dolphins?