What Ottum has forgotten is that Peggy, with her unique abilities, revolutionized the sport. Female skaters would never again look like the heavyset Sjoukje Dijkstra. I would hope that one day some young woman will do a triple axel with Elaine's athleticism and Peggy's style.
MICHAEL M. TSUJI
Roslyn Heights, N.Y.
Bob Ottum's story on Elaine Zayak was a welcome sight in our household. My family unanimously agrees that Peggy Fleming has been totally negative toward Zayak. Could she be jealous? With Fleming's athletic ability, an attempt at one triple jump, let alone seven, would put that "soft-spoken butterfly" flat on the ice. I'm glad the article brought all this out.
I commend Heinz Kluetmeier on his spectacular multiple exposure photograph of Elaine Zayak. But having read about the mix-up concerning the original photograph in LETTER FROM THE PUBLISHER (Dec. 6), I'd like to report a second mix-up on the part of SI. The picture shown is of a double toe loop, not a triple toe loop.
MARK W. JOHNSON
•According to Anne Gerli, an international judge with the U.S. Figure Skating Association, Zayak is executing a triple toe loop in the picture. Her foot in the second exposure of the sequence can be seen clearly digging into the ice; she pushes off from her toe and begins to rise while spinning—the third exposure. The loops occur between the third and fourth images, between the sixth and seventh and between the eighth and ninth. The ninth figure appears only faintly, but if one examines Zayak's feet, one should, suggests Gerli, be able to make out a third loop.—ED.
I enjoyed Bob Ottum's article about Elaine Zayak. She certainly deserved the story, because she won the world championship with a radically different style of skating. However, my reason for writing is that my brothers, friends and I got quite a laugh out of Ottum's description of Lou's Tavern, the bar owned by Elaine's father. Rich.
As lifelong residents of Hillsdale, N.J. and occasional drinkers at Lou's, we've rarely seen a hardhat there or heard someone say, "Did youse see dat?"—although the friendly arguments about what to watch on TV do take place. Also, the old Erie Lackawanna tracks that you described now belong to NJ Transit, the state public transportation agency, and daily carry thousands of commuters part of the way to Wall Street and back; hardly the hard-bitten area that Ottum portrayed. But it was great reading about our town in your magazine.
Congratulations on Barry McDermott's article (Hey, Look Who's 4-0!, Dec. 1). It was about time someone gave Joe Gibbs and the Redskins the credit they deserve. The 'Skins are too often overlooked, and when attention is given to them, it's always mentioned that they barely pull out victories. Surely no team could win large numbers of close games merely by luck; any team with results like Washington's must have earned them with skill and perseverance.
You did it again, SI! Just when I thought the Redskins would beat those dreaded Cowboys for the first time in three years, you put them on the cover. Of course, Dallas beat us again. Please hold off on any coverage of the Redskins until they finally beat the Cowboys—maybe in the playoffs. Thank you.
Your excellent SCORECARD item (Dec. 6) on the magnificent prank pulled by MIT students at the Harvard-Yale football game contained one error. MIT does have a football team, with a fulltime coach, former Bates standout Dwight Smith, and three assistants, including Ted Dumbauld, former Navy linebacker and 1980 Academic All-America. Although football at MIT is considered a club sport and isn't affiliated with the NCAA, the level of competition might be comparable to that of Division III.
Finally, as SI noted in a feature article several years ago (Beating Their Brains Out, May 26, 1975), MIT continues to offer its students one of the broadest intercollegiate athletic programs in the nation. At present, we have 34 varsity sports teams for men and women.
Sports Information Director
Massachusetts Institute of Technology