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NOT QUITE RIGHT
The Bristol-Myers Co., which began to support track and field when it sponsored the U.S. Olympic Invitational in Madison Square Garden last winter, has come up with another attempted shot in the arm for one of the country's needier sports. The company has just announced that it will sponsor a Grand Prix for the current indoor season to honor the best athlete in 14 meets, from last week's Muhammad Ali Games at Long Beach, Calif. to the national championships at Madison Square Garden in late February.
While Bristol-Myers' heart is in the right place, calling the winner of the Grand Prix the "best athlete" borders on hyperbole because the basis on which points are awarded—five for a win, three for second and one for third—almost assures that the winner will not be a distance runner. Ten of the meets are held on five Friday-Saturday weekends and require overnight travel. A sprinter, high jumper or pole vaulter can rather easily win back-to-back competitions over two days but it will be much harder for a distance runner to do so. Shotputters, long jumpers and women hurdlers aren't even in the running because these events are not contested at some meets.
For sure, the Grand Prix' big winner will be the U.S. Olympic Committee; $20,000 of the top athlete's $25,000 prize will be a contribution to the USOC in the winner's name. The remaining $5,000 goes to the organization or track club to which the winner belongs, while the athlete gets to take home a "specially designed trophy."
Sprinter Steve Riddick, last year's outstanding indoor performer with 15 wins in 15 races in the U.S., says, "It's progress, but it would be nice if the USOC got a little less and the club a little more."
GOODBY TO A GREAT ACT
Fourteen years ago, when Mrs. Tom McVie gave birth to a son, she and her husband, who is now the coach of the NHL Washington Caps, decided that Dallas had a nice sound to it and so named their boy. Five years later, Mrs. McVie gave birth to another boy, and she and her husband named him Denver after a character in a TV Western.
Both Dallas and Denver grew up without much fuss being made over their names until Denver and Dallas made the Super Bowl. Now the brothers themselves are at odds. Dallas, 14, is rooting for Denver, and Denver, nine, is rooting for Dallas. By the way, the difference in their ages matches the early point spread.
PUN MY NAME (CONT'D)