Frank Deford has once again displayed a rare and poignant sensitivity. His views (One Man's Opinion: Cheer, Cheer, Cheer for the Home Team, Aug. 13) echo my own and those of so many people with whom I have spoken these past two weeks. I regret that we as Americans have not been more gracious in victory.
Mr. Deford, your opinion piece wins the gold medal in the Olympic article competition. It also sets an American record in Olympic frankness.
Frank Deford's complaint over American hype gave much-needed perspective to balance all the twinkle-toe publicity. However, this well-substantiated view was marred by cynical sniping worse than all the flag-waving. To malign hardworking athletes by labeling them "canonized little dolls," or to attack the people of Los Angeles for watching the Olympic coverage (instead of going to Disneyland), seems far more childish than cheering for U.S. teams.
How sad that Frank Deford finds the unabashed enthusiasm for our home team so distasteful! With American athletes competing successfully on American soil, how could he expect less? The U.S. hasn't been able to compete in the Summer Games for eight years, and I think the spectators were reveling in the achievements of our athletes, many of whom held on through four extra years of training to have the opportunity to compete. I can't deny that the ABC commentators did some flag-waving, but they do work for the American Broadcasting Company, don't they?
As for the poor sportsmanship Mr. Deford alluded to, I have seen and heard very little of it in the media. Has he forgotten the rousing ovation given to all the athletes during the opening ceremony?
I'm proud of all the athletes participating in the Games, but I'm a little prouder of the Americans.
What is Frank Deford's problem, anyhow? It's puzzling that he can write an inspiring story like The Toughest Coach There Ever Was (April 30), which symbolized, to me, a good deal of what makes America a great country, and then turn around and seem to be apologizing for being an American by writing One Man's Opinion. The man must suffer from extreme mood swings.
Your story on the U.S. men's and women's gymnastics teams (A Vault Without Fault, Aug. 13) was peerless. I admire the poise both teams showed under pressure. I've never been a fan of gymnastics—until these Olympics.
Now that the Olympics are finally over, Mary Lou Retton should come to be known as Mary Lou Ret "10." The name is well deserved after her performances in the women's all-around competition and the team competition. With her competitive spirit and patriotism, she will become a guiding light to the younger gymnasts.
Watching Mary Lou as she stepped on the platform, received her gold medal and started to sing The Star-Spangled Banner gave me an inspirational feeling. It was the greatest television event I'd ever witnessed.