Your articles on the Winter Olympics (Jan. 27) would be interesting were it not for the implication between the lines. We gather that Austria will dominate the Alpine events because her skiing is "highly-organized." West Germany and France will win the figure-skating events because a plane crash killed the real champs. Further, we gather that the U.S. will not win a gold medal in the luge events because there are no courses or more than two sleds in the U.S. And this is not all. We will fail to win at hockey because our altruistic ideals of amateurism won't allow us to field anything but the "fair" amateur.
In other words, were it not for several annoying little facts, the U.S. would win most of the gold medals going. Our athletes are generally admired by other nations for both ability and charm but, above all, they are now respected because of their new sense of sportsmanship. They are poorly honored by a press that explains their failures in terms of how we could have won "if only."
North Andover, Mass.
Congratulations on the fine article about Bill Reichart, captain of the Olympic hockey team (A Question of Honor, Jan. 27). Being from Rochester myself and an avid hockey fan, I have watched Bill play quite a bit during the regular season, and he gives the area fans some very fine hockey. My hat goes off to him and the rest of the Olympians who are representing the U.S. this year.
ROGER H. SMITH
In response to Mr. Peter A. Dornbrook's letter (19TH HOLE, Jan. 27) expressing his unhappiness over the Olympic Committee's new track-and-field selection system and my opinion concerning this situation (19TH HOLE, Jan. 6), I would like to make a few last comments.
First, as Mr. Dornbrook stated, the Olympic champions at Tokyo will be decided on the merit of their performance alone. Once our athletes arrive in Japan there will be no turning back. This is why it is absolutely imperative that we utilize every possible method to insure that only our finest and most qualified trackmen make that trip. The Olympic Games are far too important for us to use them as training grounds for giving some flash-in-the-pan neophyte experience.
Second, whether we like it or not, nationalism plays an integral and important part in the Olympic Games. We cannot afford to come out second best at Tokyo.
Finally, we live in the 20th century, not in ancient Greece. Our past reliance upon "the tradition of the ancient Greeks" and other similar archaic practices is one of the main reasons why our position as the world's top track-and-field power today is seriously threatened. It's about time we discontinued our strict adherence to the outdated and ineffective methods of yesterday and looked to the future instead of the past.
BY THE NUMBERS
Three cheers for SPORTS ILLUSTRATED! It's about time somebody recognized what a great basketball team Michigan has. John Underwood wrote an excellent article about the Wolverines, Down Bloody Nose Lane, Jan. 27. He told of their superb starting five, Cantrell, Russell, Buntin, Tregoning and Darden; and their great coach, Dave Strack. But, what he didn't mention, is something essential to a championship team: a strong bench. Versatile Cazzie Russell can play any position, and many of the "bench warmers" at Michigan would be starters at other schools in the country. Also, the Wolverines won't just be a "one-year" team. Four of the five starters and most of the benchmen are juniors and sophomores. With a team like that, how can Michigan do anything but win the Big Ten (and maybe the NCAA) championships for the next few years?
I enjoyed your fine article on Michigan's current team. I know they are rightfully proud of their current record of 15 wins and 1 loss. But at no time did Underwood mention the team that handed them their lone loss, the UCLA Bruins, Coach John Wood-en's "press" team, and the No. 1 team in the country.
E. W. PEASE
You have to admit that UCLA's Walt Hazzard and Gail Goodrich make up the best guard combination in college basketball, with Hazzard being one of the best all-round players you'll ever see.
Apple Valley, Calif.
Picking Davidson as the best in the South was very foolish. Kentucky should be No. 1 in the South, followed by Vanderbilt and then Davidson. Kentucky is a much stronger team than Davidson, even though the Wildcats are biting Kentucky's heels.
Your excellent coverage of Davidson's Wildcats has shown me that your magazine is No. 1—just as are the Wildcats. While most everyone else disregarded Davidson College completely, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED quickly ranked them among the elite teams of the country and gave them public exposure. At the end of the season, the Wildcats will make you look even better by being the nation's No. 1 team!
One look at the cover of your January 20 issue and we could feel the clouds break up over New Haven.
Thank you for reviving, for a few moments, both the Caribbean Sea and our otherwise lifeless lives with that unbelievably "shoe" girl in the white bathing suit. Since the issue arrived here the snow has melted, the sleet has stopped for as much as an hour at a time and even the ground is beginning to thaw in some places.
New Haven, Conn.
I must admit that the cover of your Jan. 20 issue is just about the prettiest that you could possibly have, as are the related pictures. But such pictures do not stimulate my thinking about what is usually considered legitimate sports.
You may think that such pictures sell more copies, but I do not believe they do. I am sure that they detract from the merits of your work for serious sports fans. I most certainly do not want such pictures coming into my home for my young teen-age son to ogle, much less myself. Think of the thousands of other youngsters around the country that you people are influencing, and don't do this just for what may be financial gain. Please leave that to the pulp magazines!
W. FRANK CASTON
EAGLES AND EGGSHELLS
After telling you what I thought of Dr. Kearns's eggshell plaster-of-paris coating of Dempsey's wraps, I was sure that I could wait for the next issue about Mickey Walker. Trouble is, I only got as far as the page 6 article on the bald eagle (SCORECARD, Jan. 20). You tell Ranger W. E. Welch to come up here in the fall. If he counted only 352 eagles, and this is supposed to be one-fourth of the eagles in the West, then you are counting Alaska out of the western part of the U.S. The famous Chilkat River valley in our area, which borders the Haines highway leading into the Yukon, has a convention of eagles numbering into the thousands. Now, I'm not giving you the Doc Reams treatment. I have personally counted around 500 in a few miles. There have been several official investigations about the eagles, and the Department of the Interior can give you the dope thereon.
Now, to confuse you more, there are about 5,000 more Eagles than this in southeast Alaska, meaning that about half of the Indians up here are in the Eagle phratry while the other 5,000 arc Ravens, of which I am one. I could carve you a totem pole to explain it more fully, as that is our business. Come see us at the World's Fair in New York at the Alaska Exhibit. We will be carving a 40-footer (or larger) there.
CARL W. HEINMILLER
Port Chilkoot-Haines, Alaska
As a charter subscriber and a shotgunner for 30-odd years, I take the liberty of disagreeing with Mr. Harold R. Reed (19TH HOLE, Jan. 27) that "the smaller the shot pattern the better the shooter it takes to bring down the game."
The gauge, or bore size, of a shotgun does not determine the size of the pattern. The degree or amount of choke does that. A full-choke .410 bore and a full-choke 12-gauge will put the same percentage (about 70%) of the load in a 30-inch circle at 40 yards. The maximum spread or width of the pattern will also be approximately the same.
The smaller gun and smaller load will, of course, put numerically fewer pellets in the circle. That's the only reason the heavier loads have a longer effective range.
Mr. Reed's misunderstanding is quite a common one, comparable to the belief that the longer the shotgun barrel the longer its effective range.
D. L. FRY
NO WAY OUT
Congratulations and appreciation for your fine reporting of Bobby Fischer's phenomenal triumph in the U.S. Chess Championship (Jan. 13).
Some day, perhaps when Bobby becomes world champion by wresting that crown away from the Russians (as we American chess players fondly hope), it would be pleasant to think of him becoming Sportsman of the Year. For a chess player to attain this honor is not unknown, at least in Europe, for only last year Paul Keres was so distinguished by Estonia, even though he did not become world champion. The honor was nonetheless richly deserved and, I feel certain, popularly received.
No one can deny the mastery of chess as displayed by Bobby Fischer, but I believe that in the third game Robert Byrne's resignation was premature since he is one major piece to the good and may have a way out.
CHARLES E. BARG
Jackson Heights, N.Y.
•Presumably Robert Byrne (White) did not think so. In this astounding position (see board above) the threat of moves 22...Q-R6ch and 23 K-N1, BxNch (forcing the White Queen to abandon defense of the KN2 square) cannot be met adequately. Byrne probably resigned after he had checked out the following variation:
White is mated on the following move. Another defensive try is 22 K-N1, Q-R6; 23 N(3)-N5, but 23...B-KR3 wins the White Queen because of the threat of...B-K6ch.—ED.
After reading the letters from several of your readers re the advisability of playing the championship game of the NFL in some neutral city in the South, I've come up with what seems to me a brilliant idea. Why not play the final round of the Crosby golf tournament in warm, beautiful Miami? After watching the final at Pebble Beach last Sunday and other Crosby finals on that same course in past years with the players being buffeted by rain and wind, I think lovely Florida would be just the spot for that final.
CLARENCE E. KOHLER
Delray Beach, Fla.