MAKING ROOM FOR CHINA
Congratulations to John Underwood for his fine article on China (What's China's Track? June 16). After reading it, I see no reason why the Olympics should continue. Instead, there should be an annual open track and field championship in which any runner from any country can compete if he qualifies in his event. There should be similar open championships for competitors in the other Olympic sports. This would ultimately eliminate nationalism and politics, for which the modern Olympics seem to stand.
BY THE DOLLARS
Here is one for the Sports Salaries Are Crazy department: Pel� signs for $4.5 million (Curtain Call for a Legend, June 23), Muhammad Ali earns $5 million in one fight, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar asks to be traded despite a $2.5 million contract and Joe Namath rejects a $4 million offer. Despite all that, the two greatest backs in pro football history, Jim Brown and Gale Sayers, were never paid more than $80,000 a year, baseball's super pitcher, Nolan Ryan of the California Angels, makes a modest $125,000 a year, and pole vaulter Steve Smith has netted only $14,900 this year. Explanation, please.
NO DOUGH FOR DUFFERS
Your June 9 SCORECARD contained an article about a Las Vegas golf tournament for duffers (18 handicap and over) with a first prize of $50,000. It is absurd to think that a once-a-week golfer should be allowed to make this kind of money when some touring pros, who play and practice every day, don't earn that much in a year. As you said, Jack Nicklaus earned $10,000 less for winning the Masters.
Nicklaus and Johnny Miller recently turned down an offer to play a $1 million winner-take-all match because they didn't want to cheapen the sport. These men are a credit to the game. While some other sports are being turned into personal gold mines for a few big-name players, it is refreshing to know there are some athletes who think of their fellow competitors and not only of their wallets.
The touring pros have earned the right to play for big prize money. The Sunday golfers should be content to play the game for what it was originally intended—enjoyment.
ANOTHER MARK FOR PRE
A Final Drive to the Finish (June 9) by Kenny Moore is a fitting tribute to Steve Prefontaine, one of the outstanding U.S. long-distance runners.
This past January, Prefontaine, together with 21 other select long-distance runners, visited Dr. Kenneth Cooper's Aerobics Center in Dallas. The group underwent psychological, physiological and running tests. The most revealing experiment conducted during the three-day period was a maximal performance test. This was accomplished on a treadmill with each athlete, in turn, running a 5:30 mile with the grade of the treadmill raised two degrees every two minutes. The object of the experiment was to have the athlete perform to exhaustion. During the test, a record of the maximum value of oxygen assimilated by the body was obtained. Results revealed that Pre consumed 84.427 milliliters of oxygen per kilogram of body weight per minute, which is the highest value recorded at the Aerobics Center.
This is just another record to be added to Pre's already bulging scrapbook.
NORMAN G. WAYNE
After reading articles on Billy Martin and Tim Foli, in your June 2 and June 9 issues, I wonder why you would even bother to give space in your excellent magazine to two such spoiled brats. Add the article in your May 19 issue on Dick Allen's return to Philadelphia (who cares?) and you give our youth an idea of what not to be like. Thank goodness you more than balance this out with articles on the likes of Henry Aaron, Steve Garvey and Johnny Bench, who paint a bright contrast. These are the people I hope tomorrow's major-leaguers will emulate.
CRAIG H. COLBORN
Oh, baby! Pat Jordan's article concerning the oh-so-cute Tim Foli was not very mature. The fact that he dated and married a Playboy Bunny and discusses with her the merits of posing in the altogether is quite a bore.
THOMAS D. CRAVEN