Finally, it seems somewhat provincial that Dr. Bannister resents a winner "because of the chance of his birthplace." I would like to point out that for most of the history of the Olympics since 1896 the winner's stand has been dominated by people from those areas of the world which could afford to develop competitive athletics. A talented runner who must devote all his waking hours to supplying basic human needs does not make it to the finish line first. This is evident in the observation that until recently Olympic champions have been white members of the Western world. It's most exciting to see more and more people from other parts of the world entering the international competitive arena.
Dry your tears, Dr. Bannister. The challenges ahead and the prospects for the future are exciting, and your spilled cup of tea is behind you.
ALBERT B. CRAIG JR., M.D.
I certainly share Dr. Roger Bannister's expert indignation at the stupid cruelty suffered by unacclimatized distance runners in the Mexico Olympics. As a distance runner of long ago, although of humble sorts, who is still jogging at 77, I was appalled at the decision of the IOC. I'm a chemist, not a physician, but I predicted what happened and, indeed, feared worse, as any educated man and distance runner could have.
The IOC's decision in the face of Dr. Bannister's expert opinion was both stupid and cowardly.
GEORGE V. CAESAR
Harbor Beach, Mich.
PLAYERS ARE PEOPLE
The article by Dan Jenkins on Penn State's football team is a brilliant description of a team that takes the game for what it is: a sport (The Idea Is to Have Some Fun—And Who Needs to Be No. 1, Nov. 11). It's nice to see a team undefeated and ranked near the top that does not make football its way of life 24 hours a day. Penn State's players are people first, football players second, and they have a human coach with some intelligence about things other than formations and plays.
If Georgia can't be the national champion, then I certainly hope Penn State has the honor. It deserves it.
I was pleased to see you cover the Army-Penn State football game in this week's issue, but I sincerely feel you did not do justice to an outstanding Army team. You gave the impression that Penn State could have scored at will. When looking at the statistics it almost seems the other way around. In total offense Army had it over State by almost a hundred yards, 381-287. And Army's scores came on sustained drives of 83, 67, 67 and 60 yards. State had two good scoring drives plus our blunders. Admittedly, we made several atrocious and costly errors, but it should be pointed out that many teams would have virtually given up after the bad breaks we incurred. But no one could say that about Coach Cahill's fighting Cadets.
You also talked of the Penn State ballplayers as if they were all great scholars and you seemed very impressed that Onkotz got up early on the day of a game just to take a physics test. I wonder if SI has any idea what time members of the Army team get up on Saturdays. They get up at 6:10 like everyone else here at the academy, and that's part of the reason why we love our team—they go through exactly what everyone else does.
RANDALL L. FEWEL
West Point, N.Y.
The obvious selection for Sportsman of the Year is Penn State Coach Joe Paterno.
R. STEVENS, D.D.S.
Jim Hines for Sportsman of the Year.