I thoroughly enjoyed Martha Duffy's article on the touring Soviet women's gymnastic team (Hello to a Russian Pixie, March 19). But come on now. As good as she is, why so much of Olga Korbut? I thought everyone knew that Ludmilla Turishcheva is the best of them all.
In this day and age of phony athletes who care only about their paychecks it is refreshing to read about Olga Korbut. Anyone who has seen Olga perform knows that she really enjoys what she is doing. Hopefully Olga will go on for many years winning gold medals for the Soviet Union and winning friends for gymnastics. In my book she is the only true superstar in sports today.
RAY R. EKMAN
Regarding your comments about the now famous Peterson-Kekich affair (SCORECARD, March 19), I beg to differ with your analysis. Athletes do not have a responsibility to the public to set an example by being super-moral all-American types. Maybe it would be a good idea if the media began to realize this and relate to athletes as real people who have real problems just like everyone else.
The Peterson-Kekich affair is their own business. The "rub" is not, as you suggest, that they are ballplayers, for they are only humans who happen to play ball. The problem is their exposure by the media to a voyeuristic public which demands vicarious fulfillment of both its moral and its athletic fantasies. Your judgmental reportage only exaggerates the unrealistic expectations some sports fans have for their stars' private lives.
If "millions of youngsters were stunned and distressed," it was over the adverse publicity given the Peterson and Kekich families, not over the facts of the matter. The linen here is soiled only by your imputation. I would hope most realistic fans realize that the game is just a game and that, off the field, life is life.
GEORGE S. HILL JR., M.D.
Palos Verdes, Calif.
Your comments on heroism and sports were well stated and I hope well received by all sportsmen. You know what a real hero is. More power to you—and to the heroes.
Your article Mary, Mary Quite Contrary (March 12) by Coles Phinizy about the 47-year-old aviatrix Mary Gaffaney was smashing. It is easy to be witty at the expense of one's victim, but a writer who laughs with his subject is much rarer. From its imaginative plane-studded beginning, the story takes off, soars to a climax and smacks down in a neat, dignified landing.
Your article on Mary Gaffaney was excellent journalism and a fine tribute to this exciting aerobatic flyer. It was of particular interest to those of us here in Burlington, Wis. who had an opportunity to see Mrs. Gaffaney perform unbelievable maneuvers at our air show in 1971.
BILL APPLEBY JR.
Dan Seemiller (The Back of His Hand to the World, March 12) is undoubtedly the hottest young table tennis prospect this country has seen in a decade. Nevertheless, he faces overwhelming odds in his quest to gain the world championship. Never has an American won the men's singles title, and since 10-time U.S. champion Dick Miles reached the semifinals at Dortmund in 1959, Americans have found it increasingly difficult to crack the top 30 rankings. The declining fortunes of American table tennis, evidenced by the increasing number of non-natives manning our world team, are even more dismal when viewed in terms of the Chinese-Japanese performances during the past 21 years in which the Orientals won 59 of 91 championship titles. A victory by Seemiller in this year's championship (or even in 1977) would constitute an achievement greater than Bobby Fischer's feat of ending Russian domination in chess. But table tennis fans well remember the meteoric rise of then 18-year-old Stellan Bengtsson of Sweden, who in 1971 became the first non-Oriental to win the men's singles crown in 18 years. So perhaps a Seemiller, with his unorthodox style and never-say-die attitude, may be preparing to stun the world.
THE CHANGING ROOM (CONT.)
In her article (An Ethic of Work and Play, March 5) on David Storey's new play The Changing Room, Martha Duffy observes that in England "only Harold Pinter rivals him as a playwright." This seems rather shallow and uninformed on her part, especially considering the mere difference in the number of significant plays each writer has created.