Who among the Olympic athletes best revealed the degree of pure excellence suggested by the Greek concept of arete, which you honor in your Sportsman of the Year award? I submit that triple gold medal winner Wilma Rudolph represents the best choice (Like Nothing Else in Tennessee, Nov. 14).
During the six-year history of your award, no woman athlete has won.
Clearly, the accomplishments of Wilma Rudolph—from her crippled childhood to the quintessence of Olympian effort—represent a success story in the best tradition of American sport, as well as in the best tradition of arete.
JAMES J. LORIMER
Between the lines is another story, one of strange parallels and marked contrasts In this democracy where a rail splitter or a millionaire can be president, where opportunity and equality are every man's portion, we find some distressing flaws. There are still the "underprivileged," as we prefer to label those who have less than we. To find among them a 20-year-old who can—in 300 meters—become a national heroine, who can win with grace, accept victory with humility, withstand eulogies with poise and undergo the overwhelming enthusiasms of our unique system of hero worship with noble restraint is to find a rare and fortunate individual.
Bill Bendix couldn't hit the balloon he's in with that bow and arrow (Who's Your Sportsman?, Nov. 28). It looks like a recurved bow to me and, if so, it's strung backwards! Besides the caveman grip with his right hand he has the arrow on the wrong side.
A MATTER OF TIMING
John Zimmerman's smashing color spectacle of horses leaving the starting gate (Two Seconds that Can Win a Horse Race, Dec. 5) describes the most important two seconds of the race. As a sidelight to this truth, these most important seconds are not actually computed in the official time. The timing of a race begins about 40 yards up the track after the horses have had a running start. Thus a lagging horse at the start who is able to catch the field has actually gone faster than the official time indicates. To repeat the point: the most important two seconds of the horse race don't count in the official timing.
CLOYSTERS AND WALLES
Don't you think it is a little misleading to say (SCORECARD, Nov. 28) that the roof-climbers of Cambridge have "now received literary recognition" in Night Climber's Guide to Trinity! It seems to me that as far back as half a century ago, the late Geoffrey Winthrop Young published anonymously two remarkable little books on the subject, The Roof-Climber's Guide to Trinity (1901) and Wall and Roof Climbing (1905); and in 1937 a certain Whipplesnaith wrote a longer book called The Night Climbers of Cambridge.
Moreover, if you can turn up a copy of Wall and Roof Climbing (which is not easy to find), you will see that innumerable other writers of prose and poetry alike have acknowledged the charm of this nocturnal sport. See, for example, Milton's Il Penseroso:
But let my due feet never fail,
To walk the studious Cloyslers pale,
And love the high embowed Roof,
With antick Pillars massy proof.
Or Shakespeare's lines in Julius Caesar: