SI Vault
Edited by Myra Gelband
April 07, 1980
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April 07, 1980


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There are indications of a growing movement against President Carter's proposed boycott of the Olympics and for the sending of a U.S. team to the Moscow Games. Although Carter is pressing for support from Western-bloc countries, the Olympic committees of Britain, France, Norway, Canada and Australia have voted for or are leaning toward sending teams to Moscow, despite pleas from their governments that they not go.

Robert Helmick, a USOC member, president of the AAU and secretary of FINA, the world swimming federation, who last week returned from FINA meetings in Europe including the Soviet Union, says, "I am convinced that very few, if any, Western-bloc countries will be boycotting."

For their part, the Soviets are buoyantly confident that the Games will succeed. "Their attitude is: 'Gee, it's a shame you won't be here, because everyone else is coming,' " Helmick says. "At a time when they seem contemptuous of world opinion about Afghanistan, they see the Olympic entries as symbols of approval from the Western countries.

"Foreign policy is set by our administration, and to back off now might hurt. But if the public and the members of the USOC feel the best interests of the country would be served by sending a team, then I think the committee would go against the President's wishes. It would be unfortunate if it came down to that, but that right does exist here."

The possibility of the USOC voting to accept the Moscow invitation and the refusal of some athletes to heed the President's policy may have prompted Carter last week to address an issue on which he would only equivocate at the recent White House briefing for past and prospective Olympians (SI, March 31). To the question of whether he'll try to bar U.S. individuals from traveling to Moscow, Carter stated, "I think I have the authority, but I will not use it. The athletes ought to make that decision themselves."

Perhaps he was taking his cue from Robert Ellicott, the Australian Home Affairs Minister, who was asked the same question about the possibility of the Australian Olympic Federation's sending a team to Moscow. With obvious pride, he said, "We are not going to use the same tactics as those we so strongly oppose."


One of the problems bedeviling the PGA tour is that the better golfers tend to be choosy about where they play, leaving some events deficient in big-name attractions. In hopes of corralling the best possible fields, promoters of Dallas' Byron Nelson Classic and Fort Worth's Colonial National Invitation, held on successive weekends in mid-May, are joining forces to offer a bonus of $200,000 to anybody who wins both events this year. That's in addition to the first prize of $54,000 at each tournament.

The rub is that winning the $200,000 will be a tough proposition no matter who participates. Ben Crenshaw in 1977 and Lee Trevino in 1978 came close to pulling off the double, each winning the Colonial after placing second in the Nelson. But nobody has won both events in the same year since Ben Hogan did it in 1946. And if the $200,000 bait has its desired effect, the fields will be so strong that winning both tournaments will become even more difficult this year. One thing you can be sure of, though. Whoever wins the Byron Nelson now will stick around for the Colonial.

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