Much has been made in recent issues of the "senior citizen" status of 9-year-old John Henry, who, according to your stories, is only a few strides away from a rest farm.
I note that it is only in racing that a horse is considered old at nine. The horses that competed on the U.S. Equestrian team in the Los Angeles Olympics ranged in age from eight to 18. Touch of Class (11) won the individual gold in show jumping and Abdullah (13) the silver, and Ben Arthur (12) won the individual silver in the arduous three-day event. These "ancient" animals also brought home team gold in three-day and show jumping.
I've fox-hunted and played polo on horses who were more than 20 years old, but then in horse sports other than racing, the horses are rarely started at two, worked heavily and then retired at three. Obviously, it does make a difference.
Night Sports Editor
The Detroit News
USFL commissioner Chet Simmons speaks prematurely when he says the league's move to a fall schedule "puts to rest the idea that televised football has reached the saturation point" (SCORECARD, Sept. 3). No such conclusion can yet be drawn, and Simmons, I fear, will soon experience the humbling taste of his own words. A "unanimous" vote by a bunch of wealthy egocentrics proves nothing. I would have been glad to advise the league's owners of the USFL's chances (inevitable demise) in a head-to-head duel with the NFL, and I would have done it for substantially less than the $700,000 they collectively paid to learn that most football fans have heard of the USFL (which is what a "98% recognition factor among America's football fans" sounds like)!
Color the USFL dead. The schedule change can only hasten its flight into football oblivion.
Even though it's a bit early to be thinking about your Sportsman/Sportswoman of the Year award, I'd like to bring up two possible choices—the only two, as far as I'm concerned. First, the man who has built the greatest sports franchise in history, Arnold Jacob (Red) Auerbach. Auerbach is one of the most outstanding sports figures of all time. But if not Red, the only other choice is Larry Bird. Bird, believed by many to be the NBA's best all-around player (since Oscar Robertson), helped win another NBA title and was named MVP of both the playoffs and the season.
My nominations are Peter V. Ueberroth, president of the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee, and whoever was responsible for organizing the Winter Games at Sarajevo. These people helped put together the two best Olympics ever. Their labors and successes were no mean feat when one considers the state of athletics and politics in the world today.
MICHAEL S. TIGHE
Howes Cave, N.Y.
The dazzling smile of Mary Lou Retton following her scintillating triumph at the Olympics will forever be imprinted in my memory. The joy of competing was never more apparent, the spirit of competition never so well defined. Only you, Mary Lou, for Sportswoman of the Year.
KATHLEEN A. FURLONG