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IF THE SHOE CONTRACT FITS...
Here is further testimony, if any is needed, that professionalism is well entrenched in the Olympic Games:
?Robert MacDonald, a Seattle real-estate broker and volunteer official assigned to the shot, discus and hammer competitions at Los Angeles, says officials were given lists of athletes and the track shoes they were supposed to be wearing in competition because of endorsements. The officials, says MacDonald, were told to inform an entrant whose shoes didn't match the brand on the list to put on the correct shoes before competing. Track authorities say the requirement was designed not to protect commercial interests but to keep athletes from being pestered during the Olympics by rival shoe companies bidding for rights to their feet. The athletes were asked to specify their brands so there wouldn't be a lot of last-minute switching.
While MacDonald encountered no shoe problems in the events he officiated, he says, "One woman javelin thrower showed up in the wrong shoes. She borrowed a pair of the right brand from another competitor. She complained they didn't fit comfortably, but she was permitted to compete."
MacDonald says he wasn't told the reason for the rule and had never before officiated at a track meet where officials had to check competitors' shoes. "We were all amazed," he says.
?A Yugoslav at Los Angeles said the Yugoslav team had an arrangement with Adidas, and when long jumper Nenad Stekic was about to enter the arena wearing Puma shoes, he was obliged to tape over the Puma logo or withdraw from competition. Stekic applied the tape and jumped (he didn't make the finals). When 1,500-meter runner Drajan Zdravkovic and shotputter Vladimir Milic, each of whom had an arrangement with Tiger shoes, refused to compromise and insisted on competing in Tigers, they were sent home.
For a month, ads in the eastern edition of the Daily Racing Form have invited horseplayers to "Talk To Eddie Arcaro About Today's Races" at New York tracks. A phone number, good in three area codes, is included, along with Arcaro's picture and the notation. "All You Pay For Is The Call." The number reaches a recording that begins, "Hi, I'm Eddie Arcaro. Here's our analysis of today's races..." and then goes on to discuss briefly three top selections in two races on the day's card. At the end of the recording, the listener hears an invitation to call again later in the day for more "inside" information and a cheery signoff: "This is Eddie Arcaro. Don't be a loser, give us a call."
Is the caller really getting the benefit of the expertise of a Hall of Fame jockey who won 4,779 races and more than $30 million in purse money from 1930 to 1961? Don't bet on it. Reached by phone at his Florida home last week, Arcaro said he loaned his name to the venture and recorded the opening and closing bits, but he doesn't do any of the handicapping. The race "analysis" is done by a group of anonymous experts and read by a man whose voice is a dead ringer for Arcaro's.
"I couldn't pick 'em," said the real Arcaro. "I'd probably be the worst handicapper in the world."