NO POLITICS (CONT.)
I thoroughly disagree with reader Thomas F. Lester (July 26), who stated that Olympic athletes should compete in "neutral" uniforms and that national anthems of winning countries should not be played. Let's get politics out of sport, but not nationalism. As an American, I am intensely interested in what the representatives of my country do in the Olympics, and I am intensely proud when our national anthem is played after a young American athlete has proven himself best in his particular field. I can understand how citizens of other countries feel when one of their athletes has excelled.
Just how can members of a team sport, such as basketball, compete as "neutrals"? If, for instance, Cuba defeats Brazil in basketball, do you then say, "Neutral Team E defeated Neutral Team J"? I doubt if the citizens of either country, particularly the winning one, will buy that.
No, Mr. Lester, it isn't nationalism that needs to be removed from the Olympics. Granted, it is now fashionable to knock patriotism, but I feel that national pride is an integral part of Olympic competition. It is only when politicians use their country's athletes for political reasons that the purpose of the Games is lost.
Santa Monica, Calif.
My thanks to Frank Deford for the last sentence in his article Dark Genius of Dissent (July 26): "In Montreal there was the very real concern that sport and its youthful athletic pawns were being damaged a great deal more [by the African withdrawals] than South Africa."
The African Olympic boycott does not do justice to a group of New Zealanders who, for no other motive than the competition and comradeship of the sport, traveled to South Africa to play rugby. It is a crime that a game in which men will travel 1,000 miles to beat the hell out of each other, then shake hands and drink together should be used as the reason for political action between countries. It is a greater crime that Filbert Bayi and other great athletes must pay the price.
I have in my home a transistor radio, a hand calculator, several work shirts, sandals, etc., all bearing the label "Made in Taiwan." Nowhere on the items is there any mention of "The Republic of China."
But it seems that when Taiwan's athletes show up at the Olympic Games, these persons are stamped " Republic of China," not " Taiwan." I, for one, would like to have someone explain the reason for this inconsistency.
CHARLES D. McGUINNESS
NO LONGER OBSCURE
While I was marveling along with the rest of the world at gymnastics' newest sensation, Nadia Comaneci, I recalled a SCORECARD item from your Jan. 12 issue. In it you told of two people who had been named male and female athletes of the world for 1975, although they were so obscure you challenged readers to guess their respective sports and accomplishments. One of them was Comaneci, whose name has now become a household word. Who knows what new star will emerge at Moscow? Perhaps that other world-class athlete cited in your SCORECARD—what was his name again?
North Palm Beach, Fla.
?Jo�o de Oliveira. The world-record holder in the triple jump, he could manage only a bronze medal in Montreal and tied for fourth in the long jump.—ED.
OTTERS AND ABALONES
Thanks to Bil Gilbert for an extremely fair and illuminating wildlife article (Dept. of Otter Confusion, July 26) and to SI for continuing its high-quality, high-interest conservation reporting. Gilbert's steadfast refusal to take sides was refreshing and realistic to a reader accustomed to the subjective harangues of Audubon magazine and the like. Both kinds of reporting are necessary; yet, given the diversified readership you can offer on an ecological issue, perhaps yours is the more effective—for the otter.
New York City