I did not know the members of the United States figure skating team well, for I only met them a short while ago in Philadelphia, where I was assigned to photograph them by your editors.
Would-be sports authorities forewarned me at the time that as a journalist I might find figure skaters a difficult group to deal with. I found the opposite to be true. Good-looking, gifted, totally dedicated to an all-demanding sport, there were many things about these boys and girls to impress my camera. What remained with me then as now, however, was their youth. This may seem an obvious comment to make, but as I watched their happy, inspiring faces and their graceful young bodies gliding over the ice, I felt as though I was looking not at the present but into the future. They seemed to promise so much.
My last memory of Laurence Owen was in the vast and shadowy arena where a few hours earlier she had won the women's North American figure skating championship. The seats were all empty. All the skaters save one had left. Down on the ice one girl remained, encircled by a small group of amateur photographers. With a radiant smile that almost lit up that dark place, Laurence Owen was posing for her friends who had come down from Boston to see her skate. A joyful, beautiful girl on probably the happiest day of her life.
JAMES A. DRAKE
I have made more than 100 drawings of the Owenses for the SPORTS ILLUSTRATED articles (Dec. 22, 1958 et seq.) and for Maribel's new book—carefully, carefully, observing each face and skate, their hands just so. I know them very well, in a special way, as no one else does. I can close my eyes and see their faces and hear their laughter and I will hear it always and see them moving on the brilliant ice in the morning sunlight.
NAUTICAL GAFF (cont.)
PARDON INTRUSION INTO SALT WATER DISCUSSION FROM MIDDLE OF DESERT BUT MUST TAKE ISSUE WITH 19TH HOLE FOR FEB. 27. "AEGEAN" IS FLYING THE ENSIGN PROPERLY. WHILE AMERICAN AND INTERNATIONAL HIGH SEAS USAGE PRESCRIBES FLYING ENSIGN ON SCHOONER AT MAIN PEAK OR GAFF, IT IS THE CUSTOM OF EVERY EUROPEAN MARITIME NATION FROM NORWAY TO GREECE TO FLY ENSIGN FROM STAFF AT STERN ON ALL TYPES OF SAILING VESSELS UNDER WEIGH.
BOXING'S BLIND AND BUFFS
Your article Hail, Hail, the Gang's All Here (Feb. 20) points a magnifying lens at the proverbial blind men and the elephant. Granted that all five members will benefit from the Patterson-Johansson fight next month, still the accompanying drawing lacks one representative figure, namely, us—the poor, blind public.
JACQUES B. NICHOLS
Your drawing showed the Swede out cold,
And this we think is fine.
But "prone" he's not, you must agree;
That pose is called supine.
J. F. SWAIN
Prospect Park, Pa.
THE FANS AND FRANÇOIS
I love ice hockey dearly, but now I know why André François illustrates children's books (The Most Beautiful Game of All, Feb. 20). Those paintings of my second-favorite sport look like some that I submitted to my first-grade teacher 20 years ago.
If you can't find anything better with which to fill in those empty pages, just leave them blank.
ROBERT D. BOIVIN
Niagara University, N.Y.
André should have gone back to Madison Square Garden at least two more times before he attempted this bit.
ROBERT N. BOTT
New York City