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EVENTS & DISCOVERIES
September 10, 1956
JIM FINNEGAN ON GOLF, WAS THE LADY HEAVYWEIGHT A BIT LIGHT-FINGERED?, HITTERS, SPITTERS AND LEW BURDETTE, OKLAHOMAN WITH EVERYTHIN' GOING HIS WAY, ARAGON'S ART
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September 10, 1956

Events & Discoveries

JIM FINNEGAN ON GOLF, WAS THE LADY HEAVYWEIGHT A BIT LIGHT-FINGERED?, HITTERS, SPITTERS AND LEW BURDETTE, OKLAHOMAN WITH EVERYTHIN' GOING HIS WAY, ARAGON'S ART

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THF GOLF VOTE

On his political rounds last week Adlai Stevenson said, "I hope my opponent has time to face some of the realities of our diminished stature in the world and lost opportunities at home. And when I speak of 'lost opportunities,' I don't mean on the putting green, either."

Headlines bloomed across the country: STEVENSON CHIDES PRESIDENT ON GOLF; "TOO MUCH PUTTING" SAYS ADLAI; STEVENSON ON GOLF.

A man from SPORTS ILLUSTRATED asked Stevenson if he really meant to offend the country's voting-age golfers (6,300,000 of them, according to George Gallup). His reply: "I used to be something of a golfer myself, and I hope to take it up again if I find the time."

But Jim Finnegan, Adlai's campaign manager, was ready to write the golf vote off. "Listen," he said. "I got news for you. Ninety-eight percent of those people vote Republican anyway."

THE CASE OF THE FIVE BERETS

At 27, round and red-haired Nina Ponomaryova has a right arm as hard, smooth and heavily muscled as a blacksmith's; four years ago at the Olympic Games in Helsinki she became a person of consequence in the Soviet Union by throwing the discus 168 feet 8� inches and bringing home one of Russia's two gold medals in track and field. Last week, as a result, she was privileged to drop her duties as a Soviet wife (her husband is a doctor), a Soviet mother (she has a 2-year-old son) and Soviet schoolteacher, and to travel to London, that rich and curious capital of the heathen West, with 55 other top Russian athletes.

Nina settled into London's tourist-crammed 200-room Lancaster Court Hotel, near Hyde Park, and for five days trained for a pre-Olympic meet with England, which was to be held at White City Stadium. For five days she also savored the heady foreign air of London; the Russians ate fruit by the basketful, shoveled through bowls of yogurt, gobbled chocolate bars and, in many cases, ate steak at every meal; they also went to the movies (Cinerama Holiday), went sightseeing and—equipped with �5 (about $14) in pocket money—went shopping. Nina never got to White City Stadium—her battle with England took place, instead, at C. and A. Modes Limited, a cut-rate women's shop on Oxford Street.

Nina walked alone through the store's glass doors and found herself surrounded by jumbled counters full of cheap hats—fluffy wool stocking caps, feathered bands, felt flowerpots. She poked through the gaudy mass and found five cheap little berets worth a total of 12 shillings 11 pence—$4.61. Exactly what happened after that may never officially be known, but as Nina left the store with the berets in her bag, two store detectives stopped her and accused her of shoplifting. Nina speaks no English. The store manager called Scotland Yard (for an interpreter) and the Russian Embassy. With stolid British insistence on due process of law (and in what the Daily Express called "a most precipitate and clumsy manner") Nina was hustled off to a police station, charged, and released to the Russian Embassy on �5 bail.

Within hours Nina and her $4.61 worth of hats became the basis of a curious and bitter international incident; Nina, in fact, all but wiped the Suez crisis out of London's newspapers. Russian officials tore off to the British Foreign Office to demand that the charges be retracted. They had a plausible story: that Nina, ignorant of Western ways, had paid for the hats but had not waited for a receipt and thus could not prove ownership. They insisted that the only money missing from her �5 was the exact price of the purchase. The Foreign Office could only explain that it had no jurisdiction and nothing could be done unless the store retracted its charges. This the store refused to do.

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