I like to think of myself as a typical, red-blooded American male. But lately I've been worried that something might be wrong. I got a bigger thrill out of your photo of Sheila Young skating to her Olympic gold medal (On Came the Heroes, Feb. 16) than I did from your annual swimsuit pictures.
WILLIAM E. CARSLEY
Every four years I develop strange symptoms, including extreme feelings of happiness, sadness, joy and pride. A correlation has been drawn by my doctors between my symptoms and the Olympic Games. My condition, they say, is due to a textbook case of that dread disease, Olympic nationalism. But they are wrong! It is true I cheered and wept for Sheila Young, Dorothy Hamill, Bill Koch and the rest of the Americans, but my unusual emotional condition can also be traced to the performances of Rosi Mittermaier, Franz Klammer and the sad-eyed Dianne de Leeuw. My affliction is caused by people, not nations. "Humanism!" I yelled at my doctor, "I've contracted humanism!" "It's possible," he replied, "although I think humanism was stamped out long ago."
I hope we have an epidemic.
JOHN B. P. YOUNG III
P.S. D. Hamill, I love you.
Never have I been more impressed by a sporting event than I was by Franz Klammer's downhill victory. To say that it was sensational is not enough.
Perhaps the time has come to open the Olympics to all athletes, regardless of the "tainting" of their souls by professionalism. If an athlete's proficiency is such that people are willing to pay him to perform, that simply attests to his ability. At least the proposal to permit professional (there's that nasty word again) athletes to participate as amateurs in sports other than their specialty is a step in the right direction.
If the present "amateur" restriction is to exist, it should be applied equally or be abolished. The present situation is ludicrous.
RICHARD D. MacMILLAN
Of all the performances turned in at the 12th Winter Olympics, those of American cross-country skier Bill Koch were the most inspirational. What he may have lacked in skill and training, he more than made up for in courage. What he may have missed in gold medals and fanfare, he has won in the admiration of sportsmen everywhere. His was truly an Olympian effort by an Olympian in the classic mold.
Being a young architecture student, I was fascinated by your report on the rising costs and labor and construction problems that have been delaying preparations for the Summer Olympics (Olympic Nightmare for Montreal, Feb. 9). I hope the whole world will learn from this extravagance in Montreal. As we have seen this winter in Austria, there are adequate places just waiting to be used again. The time has come to stop building new Olympic sites.
THOMPSON S. WARD
You got a little carried away in your coverage of the Alpine skiing events on page 18 of your Feb. 23 issue (Images of Innsbruck, Downhill and Up). It was not the giant slalom that Italy's Piero Gros won. As you correctly reported in FOR THE RECORD in the same issue, Gros won the slalom and Hemmi Heini of Switzerland the giant slalom.
New York City
Frank Deford's write-up of the Golden State Warriors (Everybody Gets into the Act, Feb. 16) is an outstanding piece of work.