SPORTSMAN OF THE YEAR: CONGRATULATIONS
Congratulations on picking Bobby Morrow as your Sportsman of the Year (SI, Jan. 7). Where could anyone find a nicer, more talented and more decent sports figure than the Abilene Speedster?
SPORTSMAN: TRUE JUSTICE
I think that Bobby Morrow was the only one deserving of this great honor. His performance in the Olympics is the highlight of a great sports year. Justice was done when he was chosen Sportsman of the Year.
LEWIS T. BARR
SPORTSMAN: THERE ARE OTHERS
I vehemently disagree with your, selection. In my opinion, the award should have gone either to the young slugger Mickey Mantle or the aged comeback star Sal Maglie, especially since there are other sprinters as good as Morrow, notably Dave Sime.
SPORTSMAN: WELL-INFORMED PUBLIC
You seem to have omitted what I call "influence upon the public" when you made your decision. Ask anyone who Bobby Morrow is and what he did and the answer will be vague. But ask the same person about Mantle, and he'll probably tell you how many home runs he hit, in which games, off what pitcher, and how far they traveled.
I want to congratulate you on your selection of Bobby Morrow. You couldn't have chosen a more deserving athlete. Morrow is not only an outstanding athlete, but an inspiration to all young people.
SPORTSMAN: WHAT SAY?
I believe Dave Sime should have been awarded the title, "Hard Luck Case of the Year." Luckily, he still has a very slight chance of making the 1960 Olympics if he keeps in shape and fate is kind for once.
I think it's time SPORTS ILLUSTRATED published special ballots for subscribers to vote and give opinions on different awards and topics—what say, you editors?
•The reader's special ballot box is the mailbox and all he needs to cast his ballot is literacy and a 3¢ stamp. But his ballot is secret only until it reaches the 19TH HOLE.—ED.
SPORTSMAN: A CREDIT
Amen to your difficult choice of Bobby Morrow as Sportsman of the Year—without a doubt a great credit to the U.S.
SPORTSMAN: ALL OUT OF STEP, EXCEPT
I am writing this letter in the defense of Mickey Mantle. Everyone's athlete of the year with one exception, that being SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. This is the year that saw Mickey win the triple crown, the first switch-hitter to do so. The year that saw Mickey become the first man since Babe Ruth to draw people into the ball park only to see him blast one. The year that Mickey brought back to baseball a little of that excitement that left with Babe Ruth. The year that brought Mickey the American League's Most Valuable Player award and the Associated Press's Male Athlete of the Year award. The year that saw Mickey thrill millions of baseball fans with his tremendous home runs. This is the year that SPORTS ILLUSTRATED overlooked Mickey Mantle in favor of Bobby Morrow. Believe me when I tell you that I think that Bobby Morrow is a great athlete. But I believe that in 1956 he must run second to Mickey Mantle.
Parma Heights, Ohio
•The editors, who twice put Mickey Mantle on SPORTS ILLUSTRATED's cover during the '56 season, have the greatest respect for this extraordinary young man who might develop into a player of the stature of Ty Cobb. But this year's Sportsman had to come from the world's greatest sports spectacle—the quadrennial Olympic Games.—ED.
OLYMPICS: CONTEMPORARY HISTORIAN
SPORTS ILLUSTRATED's decision to have Roger Bannister as a special correspondent for the Olympics was a masterly one.
I especially enjoyed his article Melbourne: A Human Story (SI, Jan. 7). Bannister's style of describing an athletic contest is reminiscent of Sir Winston Churchill writing history. Both have that intimate knowledge and years of practical experience plus beautiful exposition and choice of words.
Besides his achievements as a runner and a doctor, surely another must be added now: Roger Bannister the writer.
PATRICK A. NUTT
OLYMPICS: WESTERN APPROACHES
It was interesting to note the difference in the approach to sports taken by two of your writers in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED's January 7 issue. In TENNIS, Talbert says: "If we are to maintain our position as a dominant tennis nation we must set up our own assembly line and turn them out like Fords." Bannister, speaking of the true amateur Chris Brasher, says: "Could any athlete in the future...do a normal day's work and still win an Olympic title? If he could not, then the Olympics would have lost their raison d'√™tre." Me, I'm a Bannister man.
Garden City, N.Y.
OLYMPICS: NO PLACE FOR RUSSIA
The free world should break off all relations in sport with Russia until the Russians have been withdrawn from the countries they have occupied.
The Communists, like the Nazis, suffer from an inferiority complex and their prestige with their own people would suffer if they were treated as pariahs with whom self-respecting sportsmen refused to play games. It is easy to predict the immense consequences which would follow from the complete rupture of sport relations between the Free World and Soviet Russia, but let me anticipate certain obvious objections.
1) "One should not mix politics and sport." It is a degradation of words to confuse political differences with crimes against humanity. And, in any case, the Olympic Committee which excluded Germany and Japan from the 1948 Games is in no position to use this argument.
2) "All contacts between Russian and Western athletes help to counteract Communist propaganda." Maybe, but the contact is very limited. At Cortina a Russian-speaking guest in the hotel in which the Russians and I were staying began to chat informally to two members of their Olympic team. A Russian official, probably a member of the secret police, separated them by sitting down between them.
3) "The Russians will assert that the rupture of sport relations is inspired by the certainty of being beaten." Surely by now we should have learned to treat with contempt Russian lies about the West.
I write, however, in the hope that there may be some leaders in the world of sport who feel, as I do, an urgent need to make reparation for our crimes of omission in 1945 when, in the vain hope of buying peace and security for ourselves, we acquiesced in surrendering into slavery not only the countries that had fought against us but our ally, heroic and betrayed Poland.
The Swiss have just canceled the invitations which they had sent to the Russians to compete in the Lauberhorn race at Wangen and the S.D.S. at Grindelwald. O! si sic omnes.
•One of the great pioneers of modern skiing, Sir Arnold Lunn waged a relentless fight for recognition of the downhill and the slalom as legitimate forms of ski activity in the '20s and early '30s. Today, active as a writer and official, he is regarded as a world authority on alpine skiing.—ED.