SI Vault
Edited by Robert H. Boyle
February 12, 1973
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February 12, 1973


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The International Olympic Committee's decision to pick Innsbruck as the site of the kicked-around 1976 Winter Games was safe and practical. Since Innsbruck was host in 1964, the facilities are all there; because winter sports, especially Alpine skiing, are helpful to Austria's economic well-being, there is no doubt about financial support for the snowy extravaganza. Returning to a site used only a few Olympiads ago flies in the face of the IOC's professed desire to spread things around, but the committee really had no choice. Denver, its first and worst selection, died when Colorado voters refused to pony up the funds. Salt Lake City only got up the beginners' slope in its financial efforts. Lake Placid, which the U.S. Olympic Committee finally named as its designated pinch hitter, was a better choice and made an able presentation to the IOC's Executive Board in Lausanne, Switzerland last Sunday. But it is hard to blame the IOC in shying away from a U.S. city at this point, and Lake Placid probably did not help its bid by plastering orange stickers reading FOLLOW ME TO LAKE PLACID on storefronts in immaculate Lausanne. Of the other bidders France's Mont Blanc region was too scattershot in organization, and Finland's Tampere was hurt by the flat terrain.

So the 1976 Winter Games are still alive, but the selection mess has drawn attention to the haphazard way the Olympics are run. Why did the IOC pick Denver in the first place? Why did the USOC make Denver and then Salt Lake City its standard-bearer? Doesn't anyone in the Olympic movement believe in looking up and down before crossing the street?


The unique way in which the Dallas Cowboys financed the building of Texas Stadium has inspired local residents to propose the same formula for their Central Christian Church. "The church would sell bonds at $250 each," says Sam L. Catter, a member of the congregation. "Each bondholder then gets an option to one pew at $7 each Sunday, and will also be required to buy tickets to attend at least three exhibition sermons during the year. The bonds are redeemable 35 years from the day of issue or at the Second Coming.

"The last eight pews in the back will be designated the Sinners' Circle, and bonds for these seats will go for $1,000 each. We even have a catchy slogan to work with: 'Thank Heaven for 4711.' " Central Christian Church is located at 4711 Westside, and there's a service every Sunday.


A couple of unusual shortages have put sportsmen and hobbyists in something of a bind. For one, fishermen are faced with a shortage of bucktails used in tying jigs and streamers. According to Richard Reid Miller of Reed Tackle in Caldwell, N.J., raw bucktails could be had three years ago for the price of $1.30 each retail. Now bucktails of good quality sell for as much as $2.25 apiece. Miller attributes the decline in supply not to a drop in the number of white-tailed deer but to two successive warm winters in the northern states. "The lack of snow doesn't allow hunters to track," Miller says, "and so the number of deer killed is down."

On the philatelic front, stamp collectors are faced with what the international auction firm of H.R. Harmer calls "a conspicuous shortage of better-class" stamps. In a signed report to clients by the managing directors of the New York, London and Sydney offices, Harmer's says that it ordinarily gets a third of its stock from the estates of deceased collectors. "The Grim Reaper seems to have taken his usual toll, but where are the stamps?" the report asks. The answer is that instead of putting "Father's Folly" up for auction, heirs are now keeping the stamps and selling the securities. In addition Harmer's notes another trend: an increase in buyers "who are utterly disinterested in stamp collecting, but who have become interested in 'an investment portfolio' of stamps." These holdings might be coaxed out of bank vaults as prices rise, but, as Harmer's notes, "Meanwhile the stamps are out of circulation."


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