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THROUGH THE ROOF
There is a genuine fear in Montreal that the Olympic Stadium complex will not be completed in time for the opening day of the Games next July 17. Essential arenas, including the main stadium, will be ready enough for competition to take place—assuming no more work stoppages—but there will be few frills. The much-publicized retractable roof may not be ready, nor the main mast that supports it, nor the landscaping that surrounds the stadium.
"We haven't any time to waste," says Roger Rousseau, head of the organizing committee. "We need all the help we can get." Asked about the stadium roof, he says, "The Games don't need a roof."
Widespread criticism of Olympic planning in Canada is centering now on the fee being paid the architect, Roger Taillibert of France. Reports say that Taillibert's fee, based on a percentage of the cost of construction, may reach $40 million, which would be four times the highest architect's fee ever paid in North America. It is also more than all 1,200 members of the Order of Architects of Quebec made as a group in 1974, which doesn't make things any easier for Montreal's beleaguered Olympic planners.
The firing of Bob Prince as broadcaster of Pittsburgh Pirate games after 28 years on the job moved Red Barber, the doyen of the trade, to comment that there would be little future in the business today for a young Red Barber, who gained his reputation as an impartial reporter. "I was fortunate that I came along at a time when radio was very new," he says. "The clubs, the ad agencies, the sponsors didn't pay that much attention to us. We were allowed to broadcast as we wished. Now, in too many cases, that freedom has been taken away. Reporting has been replaced by selling.
"I feel ours is a sick civilization. All we want to do is sell the merchandise. Our country bows down to the god of Mammon. All money. All power. It doesn't matter if it's the government, the legal profession, broadcasting—it's all the same package. Everybody is contaminated by it. Broadcasting is merely a symptom.
"I'm not happy to see a man fired, but when I saw the story about Prince I said to myself, 'He was fortunate to last 28 years.' There won't be any more who will last that long."