NADIA AND COMPANY
Thank you for the coverage of the Olympics in your Aug. 2 issue. I had just returned from Montreal and was glad to find that one American magazine had maintained the Olympic spirit and mentioned all of the participants who deserved it. Nelli Kim's two perfect scores and Nikolai Andrianov's performances were as thrilling as Nadia Comaneci's. I was also glad that Frank Deford recognized the Korbut vs. Comaneci battle being waged by television and the press. But mostly I liked your positive view. That, coupled with a realistic look at the athletes—Nadia is a 14-year-old girl, Naber is a ham and Ender is a girl—gave your readers what I feel to be an honest picture of the Olympics.
With worldwide attention being focused on Nadia Comaneci and millions of words in many languages being lavished on her and the other female gymnasts, Frank Deford's article Nadia Awed Ya (Aug. 2) is the ultimate summation of one of sport's most memorable weeks. If ever anyone deserved a 10.0, Deford does.
ROBERT M. HALL III
You put into words what we in our home felt while watching the TV cameras "inspect" Olga Korbut. It appeared to be no longer a competition involving physical abilities but rather a study of the emotions of a great competitor who had disappointed everyone, it would seem, by growing up. TV and the press did her an injustice, but her appreciative audience at home and in the Forum, recalling her better moments, gave her the ovation and recognition that an athlete of her stature so richly deserves.
HARRIET G. RESNICOFF
Why is there now so much interest in gymnastics? Because of Olga Korbut. While Nadia Comaneci may be a perfect gymnast technically, she lacks the glow, the exuberance that Olga adds to the art. And gymnastics is an art. I would not want to look at many paintings that were technically perfect but lacked expression.
Virginia Beach, Va.
We all feel sorry for Olga Korbut, but Frank Deford was terribly melodramatic in his portrayal of Olga as the "fallen hero."
Thanks for giving Ludmila Turishcheva the credit that has long been due her. Those of us in gymnastics have always known that she was No. 1, "the true champion of Munich, always overshadowed and underappreciated, ever gracious...majestic." Very few people realize how difficult (almost impossible) it is to remain the best in the gymnastics world for years, as Turishcheva has.
Granted, Korbut and Comaneci are world-class gymnasts and now Comaneci is No. 1, but don't look for her to score 10.0s or collect gold in 1980. It takes a rare person to reach the pinnacle that Turishcheva has. I think it will be a long time before we see the likes of her again.
CAROLE J. CORSON
Nice recovery, SI! After failing to put Dorothy Hamill's picture on your cover during the Winter Games, you more than made up for it with your Aug. 2 cover of Nadia.
You sure disappointed me. I expected all those other (nonsports) magazines to put that little girl on the cover, and ABC to splash her all over prime time when they'd hit a big female audience—but you! Those old Greeks must be revolving in their graves. Turning handsprings an Olympic sport? Phooey!
New York City
I want to thank Frank Deford for another perceptive article on the Olympics (High, Wide and Handsome, Aug. 2). He reminded me of what a limited view one actually gets from one network's coverage of the Games. The sensational atmosphere and drama that ABC creates give a narrow view of the Olympics and often an unfair representation of the athletes. The network personalizes the contests to a mawkish extreme and creates grudge matches to spice them up. What is more, it seems to cover only the glamour events—and the glamour athletes in those events. It's getting so that one must be a great actor as well as an outstanding athlete to appear on television. Next they will award Emmys for Olympic performances.