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We have been speaking to our friends in the advertising and retail business about 1956 as the American Sport Year. Every year is crowded with notable events like the Derby, the U.S. Open and the World Series, to mention only a few which have become an increasing inspiration for merchandisers' plans and promotions. But the American Sport Year is a name which occurred to us when we began to discuss the extra events on the sport calendar this year. For 1956 is going to be a very special year in some special ways.

It's an American election year for one thing. And the elections—with their bands, crowds, banners, strategy, dark horses and grandstand managers—are, despite some political overtones, a sports story. That's how SI will handle them, leaving to others the job of filling in the minor political incidentals. SI, in fact, has already begun, as readers will recall, with a winter-book scouting report on the candidates in the January 2 issue. And for those who like to make their decisions in the light of historical precedent, SI during the summer will publish a series on sports of the Presidents from Washington to Eisenhower.

All year long the Olympics, too, will capture the attention of Americans as never before, from Cortina later this month through to the Olympic Summer games in far-away Melbourne, which end in December.

In this year also SI will execute a long overdue program for honoring the American designers of women's sports clothes who have done so much to improve the scenery on the golf courses we play, on the boats we sail, at the sports events we attend—in short, wherever we go. The program will reach its climax with SI's presentation of the first American Sportswear Designer Awards.

These things among others, beyond the week-by-week, season-by-season parade of sports, have lately added spice to SI's conversations with advertisers and retailers about the year 1956.

Some will go on calling 1956 an election year, others an Olympic year and still others perhaps the-year-Jimmy-learned-to-do-a-stem-Christy or Mary-a-half-gainer. But for those hundreds of advertisers and retailers who have come to know sports and SPORTS ILLUSTRATED as essential elements in their plans, the American Sport Year seems to say it pretty well.