SI Vault
Edited by Douglas S. Looney
July 25, 1977
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July 25, 1977


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Next month a U.S. swimming team is scheduled to compete in dual meets in East Germany and Russia. The coach was to be Doc Counsilman, the famed Indiana University coach who directed our men swimmers in the Montreal Olympics. But the AAU has announced it is dismissing Counsilman. Why? Because he went to South Africa last fall and conducted clinics—for white and black coaches. The F�d�ration Internationale de Natation, to which the U.S. belongs and which opposes sports contacts with South Africa because of the government's apartheid policy, has suspended Counsilman from any international competition until September 1979.

Said Counsilman, "It would be easier for everybody if I just quietly stepped aside." But he is not going to; indeed, he is threatening to sue the AAU to be restored as coach for the East Germany- Russia swimming meets. He has this suggestion: "The AAU could say, If you don't take our coach, you won't get our team.' I think coaches have to stop being made sacrificial lambs just to keep up goodwill with all of the foreign sports associations."

Counsilman contends there have been other occasions when nations have stood up to the international organization and won, and that this could and should be one of the times. "It is typical of American politics that we always back off and never take a stand," he asserts.

It may be argued that Counsilman is putting himself above the sport by contemplating actions that could torpedo the competitions. But the truth may be that the AAU has meekly yielded to a bluff in its anxiety not to rock the boat and perhaps deprive U.S. swimmers of valuable international competition.

Says Counsilman, "I don't think the Russians should be allowed to select the coach of the U.S. team."

Counsilman is clearly right in principle (he says he went to South Africa as a private citizen and not as a representative of the AAU or any other group). At the very least, the AAU should mount a spirited defense in his behalf.


Usually if you put $2 on a 50-to-1 shot, you tear up your ticket after the race. But last week at the Atlantic City racetrack, every loser had a chance to, well, lose even bigger. In an effort to show some appreciation and recognition of its also-rans, the track offered a number of prizes. They were enough to dampen any loser's hopes of winning. The top prize was a 1959 Edsel and it went to Mrs. Juliet Perri of Philadelphia, who was absolutely underwhelmed.

For other (un)lucky losers who selected the post positions of horses finishing last by the most lengths (racegoers filled out cards with their choices but bet no money), additional plums included a crate of lemons; a free tow off the Walt Whitman Bridge; a BORN TO LOSE tattoo applied to either arm; a pair of tickets to the 1978 Super Bowl (providing Philadelphia is in it) and a one-way trip to San Clemente.

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