Eight years ago, back in the dark ages before man had orbited or danced the frug, President Eisenhower urged the sportsmen of the world to get together more often, avoiding, whenever possible, all the red tape their respective governments had to offer. At the time Eisenhower did not believe that sport was a cure-all for the world's ills. He simply felt it was one of the pleasanter medicines with which men of different minds might try to alleviate their common distress.
In the years since the Eisenhower proposal, sport has become genuinely international, abetted by superjets and the winking signals of Telstar. No one can say how much good the interchange of sportsmen and sport news has done. The most that we on SPORTS ILLUSTRATED are willing to say is that, while statesmen and businessmen do not seem to enjoy diminishing worries as the world shrinks, the competitors and spectators in the din and babble of international arenas are getting along quite well, by and large, and are enjoying themselves.
If we had been putting this magazine out 40 years ago, we might have served our subscribers a rather steady diet of familiar, American sports and homegrown heroes, casting our eyes abroad only when a U.S. superstar like Tilden, Weissmuller or Jones sallied forth to take on all comers. We could not get away with such provincialism now. For one thing, the U.S. obviously no longer dominates sport the way it did, and it is our duty to keep tabs on the foreign opposition. For another, after 12 years in the business, we have found that readers enjoy an occasional exotic dish, provided we do it justice.
This issue of the magazine epitomizes the obligation we feel both to inform readers and also to entertain them with doings abroad. On page 24 Bob Ottum reports on the world Alpine skiing championships in Chile. This is, in effect, a new installment of a continuing story—the American skiers still building, the Europeans still better. On page 56 Gwil Brown writes from Kingston, Jamaica, where 1,200 athletes from 35 nations and territorial fragments of the British Empire competed in the British Empire and Commonwealth Games. Naturally, there was not an American in the show, but there were plenty of performers who will give the U.S. trouble in the next Olympics, among them the precursors of a sports explosion in New Africa.
In contrast to these newsworthy accounts from Chile and Jamaica, Ed Zern writes on page 44 about the super-mystique of fly-fishing near the old ruins of Stonehenge in England. Why do we offer a piece that deals with a sport that most readers do not understand and with a place that most readers will never visit? We offer it because Zern is not only a skillful angler-writer who can satisfy all the fly-fishing purists but also a very human fisherman-liar who knows how to entertain everybody. On page 60 Jack Olsen—another very human writer who distrusts all mechanical transportation—writes of the Tour de France, the 3,000-mile bicycling madness that overpowers the Gallic mind every summer. A day after you read Olsen's piece you probably will not recall who won the race, or how, or why, but I guarantee that you will remember the Tour de France.