"Let the dogs bark," said Jean Vuarnet, 1960 Olympic champion and boss of the French team. "Criticism of trainers is all right to a point, but there is a limit and it has long since been overstepped. When a skier wins he never talks of his coach or trainer, but when he loses it is always their fault."
Jean-Claude Killy, he of the solid gold past, promptly offered to train the cashiered victims for nothing, promising to deliver them to the starting line at the FIS world championship at St. Moritz in February. Then, said Killy confidently, "It will be easy to tell by the clock which are best."
Maurice Martel, president of the French ski federation, growled in response, "For years Killy has been trying to entice our racers into professionalism. I note that this is the first time he has talked of doing something for nothing." Vuarnet said, "Winning medals at any price does not interest us."
BY INGENUITY OUT OF JAPAN
The sports-loving Japanese are perpetually faced with space problems, and once again they may have found an answer, unless their energy crisis kills it. This time the problem is horseback riding, and the answer is a life-sized electric horse capable of achieving a simulated speed of 800 yards per minute, or about 27 miles an hour. It is said to be ideal for would-be riders frustrated by urban sprawl—and it can be used for training during the inclement winter months.
The horse, called Gallop, is the result of two years of work by the Mizushima Kikaku Company, a firm specializing in original leisure facilities. Gallop contains a 200-volt motor that drives a system of cogs and chains to provide a lateral, rocking motion, his head bobbing in a 10� arc. Four buttons on his shoulder control the start, stop and two-gear speeds.
There are 40 different Gallops in existence, some chestnut, some white, some palomino, their glistening synthetic horsehair attached to plastic skin. Gallop costs $8,928 f.o.b. Tokyo, and the optional extras include a tape-recorded clip-clop and neighing noises.
MILES TO GO
Maybe sports schedules have no direct bearing on the energy crisis, but the curious travel pattern of two National Hockey League clubs last week could be worth noting. The New York Islanders and the California Golden Seals played in New York on Tuesday night. On Wednesday they both flew out of town, the Seals to Pittsburgh, where they played that night, the Islanders to Los Angeles, where they played Thursday night. On Thursday the Seals flew from Pittsburgh to Oakland, where they played Friday night. The Islanders returned to New York on Friday, and played there Saturday night. The Seals flew back across country to Boston on Saturday and played there Sunday night. In brief, the Islanders played in New York Tuesday, Los Angeles Thursday, New York Saturday; the Seals in New York Tuesday, Pittsburgh Wednesday, Oakland Friday, Boston Sunday. Nice compact little schedule there.