I MADE MY NOMINEE FOR SPORTSMAN OF THE YEAR (BILLY JOE PATTON) KNOWN TO YOU LAST WEEK (19TH HOLE, Dec. 26). THUS WHEN I SAW JOHNNY PODRES ON YOUR COVER AS YOUR CHOICE I SAID "OH, NO!" THEN I READ ROBERT CREAMER'S RATIONALE. CONGRATULATIONS! SI KNEW BEST.
STARS AND SNIPES (CONT.)
It looks as though you've managed to get Snipe sailors all over the country up in arms with the running word-battle of Snipe sailor versus Star sailor (19TH HOLE, Dec. 12). We see nothing left but a challenge in defense of our integrity. Let Mr. de Cardenas get his boys and we'll get ours and meet on the field of honor.
We suggest a meeting of two to five picked crews dueling to the death in a neutral boat; or, should he prefer, six races, three in Stars and three in the world's greatest racing machine, Snipe!
AT THE RISK OF BECOMING UNPOPULAR...
Over the years I have given a great deal of time and thought to the problem of accurate timing in downhill ski racing. I therefore have considered the claim by Mr. Ralph Miller of reaching the speed of 109 mph at Portillo, Chile on August 26 most carefully.
According to Miller's account, a 50-meter stretch was carefully measured and marked at start and finish with bands of soot on the snow. His timer, Emile Allais, stood some distance away on a slope directly opposite the speed trap; from this vantage point he timed each crossing of the black lines.
When the same timekeeper times the entry and exit of a skier over a stretch defined by soot, I doubt if accuracy is possible within half a second's margin. The time for this particular record, as registered on a stop watch by a single timekeeper, was given as "one second and a fortieth." Clearly an error of a tenth of a second on a 50-meter course completed in approximately a second at a rate of over 100 mph would correspond to some 10 mph, an error of half a second to some 30 mph.
In the case of the record established by Zeno Colo on May 8, 1947 (159.29 kilometers, or 99 miles an hour), electrical timing was employed. Moreover the Italian Federation of Timekeepers and the Aosta Federation of Timekeepers both sent their special delegates to time. In addition there were an assistant timekeeper and two judges and a delegate of the Italian Federation of Winter Sports. Moreover, the course was measured by an official and professional surveyor. A world record established under such conditions, though unofficial, has some interest.
When I was Chairman of the Downhill-Slalom Committee of the FIS, I vainly endeavored to persuade the governing body for skiing to formulate official rules for the measurement of courses and to formulate precise rules for world records in speed. The essence of sport is the attempt to discover the limits attainable by that intricate mechanism, the human body, but it is regarded as slightly vulgar, at least by the FIS, to display any interest in such statistics for ski racing. The only result of this refusal of the FIS to regulate such matters is that claims for world records are made and published which provoke doubts, and which ensure a certain amount of unpopularity for those who question them.
SIR ARNOLD LUNN
FAMILIAR CUP IN CANADA
SI has always been tops in my book, and now since I have read the 19TH HOLE, Dec. 26, it is even more so.