THE IOC AND THE U.S.S.R.
There was something ominous in the remarks of Lord Killanin when finally he emerged from behind closed doors in Vienna's cathedral-like City Hall to announce that the International Olympic Committee had awarded the 1980 Games to Moscow. "We will try to see that facilities are speeded up, because frequently it takes a long time to get visas," the IOC president said. Athletes who already have run into the strange delays and bureaucratic intransigence of Russian hospitality can appreciate what Killanin means, but they can hardly be reassured by those words, or by another of his statements: "We realize there are restrictions in the Soviet Union, and we did not ask that all of them be lifted." Oh?
Lord Killanin seemed only to add to the air of unreality that surrounded the week-long deliberations of his committee, evidence perhaps of the quandary in which the IOC finds itself in so many areas—damned if it does and damned if it doesn't. Germany's Willi Daume, a vice-president, rushed out of an eligibility conference in a rage, declaring, "This decision will weaken the national Olympic committees and the IOC." He had a point. Rule 26 on eligibility had been liberalized. Athletes could now be paid by the different sports federations for time spent training for the Games and competing in them, yet a subarticle professing the ideals of strict amateurism was retained. As a sop to the federations, which might find themselves financially stretched, athletes were permitted to exhibit brand names on their equipment—as long as they give the money they receive from sponsoring companies to the federations and exhibit no brands at the Olympics. Curious.
The IOC came out foursquare against the elaborate spectacles of the past and was pleased to accept Lake Placid's modest bid (page 28), but it succumbed to the Soviets' $150,000 publicity blitz and promises of huge expenditures on the Games that would include 40 new hotels. It also came out hard against the extreme nationalism that has led teams of one country to refuse to compete against those of another. But nothing was said of changing the blatantly nationalistic character of Olympic ceremonies themselves.
The Russians appeared to be genuinely trying to please, although equally enigmatic. Yes, the press would be free, tourists would be able to travel (to certain sections); no, Jews will not be baited or audiences loaded; yes, even South Koreans will be admitted. But at last year's University Games, U.S. athletes were not allowed to leave their dormitories. "We had to take security precautions. The sportsmen should have rest and not be disturbed," the leader of the Russian delegation said.
It is six years to the Moscow Olympics. What seems bothersome now may no longer be a problem by 1980. There are those in the IOC who believe that giving the Games to Moscow will help in the process of detente and that our worst suspicions are just that. Suspicions. Let us hope.
In palmier days, when the prices were right and the market healthy, a hat trick in New York's Madison Square Garden would have produced a minimum of a dozen hats on the rink. Last week, after Ranger Bill Fairbairn's third goal, one lonely lid sailed onto the ice. Probably Nelson Rockefeller's.
NEXT TIME, DEL, TRY HARDER
The horse that most likely will bring the top auction price at the Tattersalls Standardbred Sale in Lexington, Ky. later this month is a 5-year-old mare named Delmonica Hanover who, among other things, won the $200,000 Roosevelt International Trot both this year and last and, in January, the $165,000 Prix d'Amerique at Vincennes, France. Toss in 42 other career victories and earnings to date of $704,999 and you have one of the outstanding mares in the history of trotting—seventh on the alltime list of money winners.
The start of Delmonica's career was not exactly auspicious, co-owner Del Miller recalls. He went up to Harrisburg, Pa. four years ago and bought her at auction for the almost insignificant sum of $5,000. When he called his partner, Arnold Hanger, and told him what he had done, Hanger's reaction was immediate and negative.