I feel Frank Deford took some cheap shots when he called ABC's coverage of sports' most prestigious and exciting spectacle " Arledge's Follies." I think Roone Arledge did a fine job in selecting what was to be televised from the Games, both this past winter and in Montreal. The American public should thank him.
Deford writes of ABC already having a lock on the 1980 Winter Games. Bravo! Your coverage of the Olympics was superb, as I expected. But don't feel your magazine has to waste precious inches criticizing the broadcasting medium. Nobody's perfect.
Frank Deford makes some significant points in his criticism of Olympic television coverage. I recognize ABC as the leader in TV sports coverage, but I think the Olympics are too big, too spectacular and too infrequent to be handed over to one network. The amount of advertising throughout the telecasts was disenchanting, and the focus of the actual coverage was controversial. Events such as football (soccer), water polo and sailing went uncovered, while others were given only token footage. The bidding for TV coverage should be for each auditorium, natatorium and playing field. That way Roone Arledge may find that his accomplishments will peak in 1980 when a young gymnast on ABC faces healthy competition from a yachtsman on CBS.
THOMAS J. BURDICK
BEYOND PRETTY FACES
Frank Deford should have asked the opinions of some women Olympic fans rather than make generalizations implying their sports knowledge and viewing preferences are superficial. Granted, Bruce Jenner and Dorothy Hamill are charismatic and photogenic. But just to set the record straight, many women are fans of Sugar Ray Leonard, Howard Davis, Michael Spinks and the rest of the great U.S. boxing team. Many women also enthusiastically recognized the intelligence of Kornelia Ender's technique, her exuberant physical power and her spirited attitude. As for Shirley Babashoff's blasts against the East Germans' training techniques, 1) any team that practices to music is not run according to concentration-camp psychology, and 2) as can be seen from Pat Jordan's excellent article (A Thoroughly Uplifting Experience, Aug. 2), "undifferentiated training," i.e., weight lifting, does not result in "undifferentiated sexes."
I trust Deford now realizes that there are American women with a sophisticated knowledge of sports, and an interest that goes beyond the appreciation of pretty faces.
LISA W. WOODY
DIVERS IN FLIGHT
The pictorial comparison of Jenni Chandler and Phil Boggs on page 22 of your Aug. 2 issue was proof of the strength and beauty that diving demands. The two photographs were even more impressive when viewed upside down. The divers reminded me of graceful birds in flight.
BRUCE J. BERNSTEIN
SMALL BORE BUT NOT BORING
Kenny Moore's article on the small-bore three-position Olympic rifle event (Enough To Take His Breath Away, Aug. 2) was most enjoyable. We never see the sport on TV, but the competition between Lanny Bassham and Margaret Murdock was as close and exciting as that in any of the other Olympic events. To me this uncommercialized sport, where men and women compete equally, is what the Olympics should be all about.
University Heights, Ohio
PREDICTIONS COME TRUE
With so many events and competitors in this year's Olympics, it would have been impossible to intelligently follow the Games were it not for Anita Verschoth's article Who's Going to Win, Place and Show...Maybe, July 19). Her predictions were astoundingly accurate.
After excluding the medals that she had forecast for African athletes, I counted 605 medal possibilities. In 329 cases Verschoth picked the athletes who won some kind of medal in their event. Of that number, she pegged the exact medal 151 times. This means that one out of every four of her predictions was exactly correct. Not bad results for any handicapper.
Verschoth's most astute prognosticating came in the men's rowing events, where she accounted for 18 of the 24 medals awarded. Her worst events were shooting and cycling, in which only about one-third of the medalists were forecast. She did not accurately predict any medals in 11 events; on the other hand, she correctly predicted the exact order of finish in 10 events.