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Original Issue


It will take time to establish who in fact will be hurt more by the U.S. Olympic boycott—the Soviet government or the American athletes (The Decision: No Go on Moscow, April 21). Perhaps a demonstration of the kind Tommie Smith and John Carlos put on at Mexico City would have a more pronounced effect. But then our athletes would be entangling politics with sport, the very thing that the Soviets and President Carter are accused of doing.

Our athletes are just as patriotic as any other Americans. They value the freedom of sport that we enjoy in this country. What makes it so difficult for them to comply with the President's wishes is the manner in which he acted. Coming out of left field, wielding all the power and authority of the U.S. Presidency, Jimmy Carter in effect jabbed his finger into the chest of every prospective Olympian and said, "You will not participate in the Summer Games." That method may work well in Cuba and East Germany, but it would infuriate me if I were an athlete.
South Charleston, W. Va.

What great news that our athletes will not compete in Moscow! In 1937 or '38, in a small theater in a German-American neighborhood on the North Side of Chicago, I saw what was advertised as the "official" movie of the 1936 Berlin Games. Take it from me, Jesse Owens didn't win anything in those Olympics, according to that film. A German won the 100 meters. The movie didn't lie. It just did not say that what the German won was a preliminary heat, nor did it follow up with footage of the final and Owens' victory. It lingered on any successes that the German athletes had and focused sharply on those occasions when Hitler presented a medal to one of his countrymen.

Even with live TV coverage, Soviet propagandists could do the same thing. Manipulated facts could be presented to the millions of people whom TV does not reach.
Palatka, Fla.

Your SCORECARD item (April 21) on Detroit's teams really hit the nail on the head! It is amazing that fans—myself included on a few occasions—continue to turn out as they do. Here's hoping things will take a turn for the better, as the situation can't get much worse. Or can it? Looking at the sports page as I write this, I see the Tigers are 1-5 and in last place. As the Academy Award-winning song says: "It goes like it goes."
Warren, Mich.

Your SCORECARD item on Detroit's cellar dwellers rang true on all points but one. The Detroit Express (NASL) is the best professional team in town, despite being in existence for little more than two years. With a record of 38-32 (24-12 at home) over that span, two playoff appearances and a winning attitude, the Express is building a following (14,695 per game last year). While most Detroiters continue to return to the scene of the losers and cry for winners, a few of us know where to go to see a victory.
St. Clair, Mich.

If one turns one's attention to boxing, Detroit looks more like the city of champions. The Kronk Recreation Center boxers, handled by Emanuel Steward, comprise the best homegrown amateur team of its sort in the country. In the professional ranks, this organization boasts WBA lightweight champion Hilmer Kenty, unbeaten and often-dodged welterweight Thomas Hearns and up-and-coming middleweight Mickey Goodwin. I should also mention that Wayne State University, which is also located in Detroit, recently won its second straight NCAA fencing championship.
Ann Arbor, Mich.

It was refreshing to read of Ralph Sampson's decision to remain at the University of Virginia for at least one more year, in spite of the megabuck enticement of the Boston Celtics (SCORECARD, April 21). However, it was distressing to read Red Auerbach's sour-grapes statements following Sampson's announcement. Perhaps Sampson bypassed a lucrative contract. Maybe this was the only chance he will have to join the Celtic team. And, heaven forbid, he could suffer an injury that would limit or destroy his future bargaining power.

But is the Celtic organization going to guarantee Sampson employment until he is 65? What happens when his basketball abilities fade, he is cut or relegated to a reserve role, and his salary plummets? What happens if, as an inexperienced youngster in the business world, he mismanages his newfound wealth and ends up broke?

I think the smart man in this conflict is the 19-year-old in Charlottesville.
Lynchburg, Va.

Sam Moses' article Land of the White Wind (April 14) recounting the ill-prepared and ill-fated attempt to climb the South Face of Aconcagua makes for exciting reading, but it does a disservice to serious mountaineering.

Ed Connor's adventure was fraught with errors of judgment and execution. The party got into trouble even before it departed Southern California when an untried member was selected for the assault on Aconcagua. From there on, the expedition smacked of an amateurism that contributed directly to the loss of the two younger climbers, Guy Andrews and Chuck Bludworth.

This story reminded me of another mountaineering tragedy featured by SI (72 Hours of Terror, June 14 and 21, 1965). In that grisly tale, similar errors of judgment resulted in a disaster of similar dimensions, except that the party was larger, rescue was effected in time to save most of them, the mountain—our impressive Grand Teton—was no Aconcagua, and the altitude and orographic elements were not so severe.

There are numerous "successful" climbs in which the planning and performance are far better than in either of these two examples, and most of them involve just as many thrilling episodes. I hope that a future issue of SI will feature a saga of a major mountain ascent wherein there is no postmortem, at least not as a result of ineptitude.
Arcata, Calif.

A beautifully written piece, marred only by the author's idiotic insistence that it was a "successful" climb.

Either Michael Baughman (VIEWPOINT, April 7) is dreadfully naive, or he has not researched his subject very well. I refer to his statement, "Not even the staunchest advocates of gun control have ever promoted legislation which would in any way restrict or inhibit America's sportsmen."

That is exactly what some proponents of gun control have done and continue to do. The more candid among them admit that control of handguns is only a first step, that they will not stop until all guns, including those of sportsmen, target shooters, skeet and trap enthusiasts, Olympic rifle and pistol shooters and, yes, even the police, are either banned outright or so severely restricted that few people will be able to use or own them. And the anti-gun forces have been joined by many of the anti-hunting advocates, who see gun control as the best way to impose their views on all of us.

I hope Baughman's son does get to use those shotguns one of these days, but if Baugh-man keeps up his apologies for anti-gun proponents, his kid had better get his shooting in soon.
Ann Arbor, Mich.

I object. Michael Baughman cites the opinions of "experts" who claim people who own guns are victims of insecurity, paranoia, impotency and even loneliness. Surely he cannot believe gun owners exhibit these tendencies to a greater degree than non-owners.

I enjoy shooting for the same reason I enjoy bowling and golf, to see how proficient I can become at the sport. There are millions of others like me who shoot for recreation, not because of some unstable psychological condition.

I must also disagree with Baughman's contention that "hunters are America's most responsible group of gun owners." The most responsible gun owners are: first, those who participate in some sort of target shooting sport; second, law enforcement officers; and last, hunters. These are listed in the order of those having the most training, the most practice and the most respect for their weapons.

Baughman's diatribe is a personal affront to all gun owners and has no place in a national sporting publication.
Florence, Ky.

Is Michael Baughman serious? He says, "Control or no control, my conclusion is that things will go bloodily along as they have."

While I certainly don't believe that gun control will eliminate killings by sick persons, I do believe that it will curtail such acts. There are more than a dozen James McCarters and Marvin Noors out there.
Evanston, Ill.

Michael Baughman's VIEWPOINT on gun control should be pursued until there is an irrefutable, universal judgment that there is no valid reason for anybody to have firearms.

Abel had a chance against Cain, but with a gun there is no defense for man or beast.
St. Petersburg, Fla.

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