Publish date:



"It was much more fun in '96," mused Sir George Robertson, 90, who won a fourth in the shotput, a sixth in the discus and an olive branch from the King for reciting a Greek ode of his own composition in the first modern Olympiad in Athens. "There was no official team then. We went out under our own steam and entered events as we chose. That was how I came to be in the tennis. I was passing the courts and discovered there was no British entry so I put my name down—though I should not have dared enter the most modest tournament back home."

Everybody knows that Fidel Castro is a baseball fan. What they don't know is that the rules tend to change slightly when the Maximum Leader steps up to the plate (below). Last week, before a crowd of 35,000, he did just that to inaugurate Cuba's new amateur season, ran his count up to one ball and three (that's right, three) strikes, took a cut at the ball on what would have been the fourth strike and poked an easy liner past the second baseman—who didn't bother to field it. Under Castro rules, everything Fidel touches is automatically fair and a base hit.

A four-girl relay team called the Rinky Dinks won applause and not very much else at Fort Worth's Will Rogers Indoor Games last week. But the team's coach and sponsor, Texas Millionaire Tommy Mercer, who owns a few oil wells, a beer business and two minor league ball clubs (the Dallas Rangers and the Fort Worth Cats), was not disheartened. "I always tried to support this Fort Worth meet," he explained, "and I noticed last year they had only about three girls' teams, so I tol' 'em I had a li'l ol' girl who was pretty fast so I'd just get up a team to help out." The li'l ol' girl—Mercer's 11-year-old daughter Christy—and three friends worked out under Mercer's eye on the family driveway, and if they didn't do so well in the meet as they hoped, it was not for lack of trying. "They were runnin' against girls three years older," said Christy's father. "They scarcely came up to the shoulders of the other teams."

After four years of speeding through the nation's living rooms, TV's top sports-car driver, Martin Milner, has finally reached the end of Route 66 and turned in his dust-covered Corvette. His first act as a pedestrian? To plank down $1,200 for a brand-new motorcycle.

While the sun shone on the ski slopes of Innsbruck, the glory of France rested on the slim and shapely shoulders of the sisters Goitschel. But when night fell it became the responsibility of the Gallic Minister of Sports, Maurice Herzog. Despite his comparative old age (45) and a certain shortness of fingers and toes incurred in a victorious encounter with the Himalayan peak Annapurna I, Minister Herzog, with the help of his partner, Princess Ira von Furstenburg, 23, was adjudged the top twister of the Winter Games.

It was not clear whether they would be looking for fugitive tailbacks for the AFL, gangsters on the lam from another decade or just some new talent for tired old TV. Whatever the game they had in mind, football's Joe Foss, TV's Robert (Elliot Ness) Stack, and the latter's former boss, ABC-TV President Tom Moore, were all joining that old jungle clubman, William Holden, to hunt it in darkest Africa.

The economy move at the White House may have gone further than most people think. When he was asked to join a preluncheon swim in the basement pool, Broadcasting Executive Leonard Goldenson excused himself on the grounds that he had no bathing suit. "What bathing suit?" asked host Lyndon Johnson. "Here we go bare."

In what seemed an unladylike rush to get to the Tokyo Olympics on time, Venus de Milo, the most beautiful body of all, left her pedestal in the Louvre, took a bath in olive oil and departed Paris by train for Marseilles to board the ship which will take her to Japan.

A great name emerged from the halcyon past of professional wrestling to help flabby Americans get fit without fighting. Gargantuan, hairless Stanilaus Zbyszko, who whipped and was whipped by Strangler Lewis for the heavyweight championship in the '20s, took out a patent with his brother Wladek for a tilt-table exerciser on which the subject could either sit or lie.

It was nothing like Cyprus or Zanzibar, but the signs of unrest on the tiny Channel island of Sark were nonetheless unmistakable. After years of patient frustration, the male dogs of the island were going on a biting rampage, presumably in protest against an ancient law which gives the 80-year-old Dame of Sark sole right among all the islanders to own a bitch.