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The decision by Lord Killanin and the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee to give in to Canada's insistence that athletes from Taiwan not be allowed to compete under the name " Republic of China" was coldly practical. Killanin and the IOC undoubtedly agonized over their move, but at this late stage they really had no choice. It was either keep Taiwan and destroy the Games, or abandon Taiwan and keep the Olympics alive.
So the Olympic movement survives, but the precedent set last week is ominous. In 1980, before the Moscow Games begin, will the Soviet Union decide which countries may compete? Will it bar Israel so as not to offend the Arab nations? Will it keep Chile out? What if mainland China is in the IOC by then and Sino-Russian relations are particularly strained, as they so often are? Will the Soviets keep their archrivals from competing?
The Soviet Union has promised that it will admit all countries sanctioned by the IOC, but Canada—or, at any rate, Canada's Olympic Organizing Committee—promised the same thing. Political considerations are overcoming sporting ones, and the Games are drowning in the nationalism that, admittedly, enhances the competition. If it is not controlled, if national interests are not subordinated to the basic concept of sport—the playful combat of the arena—these Montreal Games may well be the last we will ever have.
You can't call it a scandal because no chicanery was involved, but track and field followers have been shaken by a couple of developments in Los Angeles. The proposed remodeling of the Coliseum to suit the needs of the pro football Rams—fewer seats but better ones, generally closer to the action—will require the removal of the huge arena's famous track. Some of the most memorable races in the history of the sport have been run in the Coliseum, and it was the site of the artistically and financially successful 1932 Olympics. Indeed, if the IOC had not in its wisdom voted the 1976 Games to Montreal, this weekend's opening ceremonies would be taking place there in Los Angeles instead of in the still-unfinished stadium in Canada.
With the Coliseum track apparently gone, the University of Southern California felt it ought to tone up the running facility in its own Cromwell Stadium and made plans to put in a Tartan surface. But to the discomfort of Track Coach Vern Wolfe and Trojan diehards, the expensive new track is designed to have only six lanes instead of the eight or more that a major meet requires. What this would mean—if the plan is carried through—is that USC, winner of 26 NCAA track and field championships, could never hold a national meet on its home turf—or home Tartan—or, for that matter, host a big invitational meet or even a Pacific Eight conference championship. In blunt words, it would be a minor league track for a major league school in a major league city.
BATTLE OF THE SEXES
Chris Evert's flat-out statement that the Women's Tennis Association, of which she is president, will girlcott next year's Wimbledon unless the prize money is equal for both sexes has prompted some comments from Arthur Ashe. As a leader of the men's Wimbledon walkout three years ago, Ashe is no stranger to united action by a group of players, but he disagrees with Evert.
"I think the men are worth more," he says. "I don't think that's chauvinistic, it's just honest. I believe in the marketplace. If Muhammad Ali were to fight Jerry Quarry, should they both get the same amount? Ali is the attraction and must get more."