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Nineteen years ago, when I was in the ninth grade, I sent a letter to the editor of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED stating my disappointment regarding the exploitation of women in your annual Swimsuit Issue. But with those beautiful pictures of swimmer Michael Phelps in your Olympic Preview, I can now say that all is forgiven.
Susan Casey's story on Michael Phelps's quest for eight gold medals was excellent, and the anatomic splendor of this magnificent water vessel was captured in amazing detail in the pictorials (The Quest, July 28). But in that photo on page 76, did we really need to see the rudder?
As a swimmer in the 1968 Olympics who also has an economics degree, I disagree with Casey's claim that "it's already over" in regard to a comparison between Mark Spitz and Michael Phelps. Mark was not a "seven-figure industry" in '68 or '72. Back then we did not have the financial support to be able to swim for three or more Olympics, as Michael does. This financial support also allows Michael to use state-of-the-art methods of training that will allow him to challenge Mark's record.
Natalie du Toit's participation in the 2008 Olympic Games (What's New, July 28) is indeed noteworthy, but it is not the first time a Paralympian has competed in the Olympics. Neroli Fairhall, a paraplegic from New Zealand, competed in archery in several Paralympics and also the '84 Olympics. A number of American athletes with disabilities have also competed, including Jim Abbott, who was featured in your recent Where Are They Now? issue and who pitched at the '88 Olympics, when baseball was a demonstration sport.
Looking at your medal picks in more than 300 events, including nonsports such as synchronized springboard (?!?), I think I'd be better served not watching the Olympics and instead practicing Madden 2009, since that is likely to soon become an Olympic event.
The gold medal for photography goes to SI and Michael O'Neill's Olympic portfolio.
Though Barry Bonds still wants to play (PLAYERS, July 28), it isn't difficult to see why no general manager will take a chance on him. Your relatively short story included phrases such as "legal issues," "surly persona," "subpar leftfielder," "clubhouse distraction," "former mistress" and "not talking." That doesn't exactly boost his cause.