SI has always had the best sports coverage, and your handling of the Winter Olympics was no exception. I wish, though, that you had included a picture of the wonderful, spontaneous hug Peter and Kitty Carruthers gave each other at the conclusion of their freestyle performance. It was one of the warmest moments of the whole Olympics. Could you publish that picture?
In his very fair assessment of ABC's coverage of the XIV Winter Olympic Games (Notable Triumphs, Wrong Notes, Feb. 27), William Taaffe didn't make enough of his best point. ABC's greatest failing was its "teasing." Nothing was more frustrating than turning on the tube to watch a rescheduled Alpine skiing event and having no idea when it would occur during a three-hour broadcast. ABC should have given viewers the choice of not watching John Denver and some of the other schlock it offered.
BRUCE COFFEY JR.
ABC's Olympic movers and shakers obviously didn't read John Naisbitt's bestseller, Megatrends. They would have learned that TV viewers won't put up with "information float." They want to see news when it happens, not seven or eight hours later. What transpired was an insult to viewer intelligence. Thank goodness for Kathleen Sullivan's postevent coverage.
I agree with some things William Taaffe said about ABC's coverage of the Olympics—Dick Button was terrific, Peggy Fleming dreadful; some features were good, others sappy or dumb; and "the tease" was not enjoyable. But I cannot agree with his general conclusion that the coverage was boring. By definition, the Games are a great happening. I watched about three-quarters of ABC's presentation (all that I could) and was never bored. With some effort it was possible to avoid hearing the sports news, and I appreciated ABC's little pretenses to keep the events alive for me. I also think ABC will be doing the public a disservice if it broadcasts live this summer, instead of in prime time when most Americans can watch. As for the ratings, since when has quality TV gotten good ratings?
West Chicago, Ill.
ABC rates a gold medal for this year's Winter Olympic coverage. Even with all the negatives (the U.S. hockey team hype, the blizzard, the time difference), it presented us with sensitive "up close and personal" segments, creative and exciting sports photography, a touch of the Olympic spirit that goes beyond winning and expert commentary. SI's simplistic and unfair account of the coverage is hard to figure, because even a Trappist monk knew Bill Johnson was the winner of the downhill before he appeared on your cover.
JOSEPH W. OGLE
My highest compliments to Jim Kaplan on his article about baseball's events "outside the white lines" (Here's to the Good Old Days, Feb. 27). The stories he recounts from the 1983 season range from the serious to the hilarious to the poignant. However, his odyssey is nowhere near complete without some acknowledgment of that beautiful October weekend at Fenway Park when Carl Yastrzemski bid farewell to the baseball world. Yaz was the ultimate personification of the game as the national pastime rather than a business. Yes, Johnny Bench was one of the alltime greats, and he retired to accolades at special ceremonies as he made his final appearance in each city. Yaz asked that no special ceremonies be given him in other cities. Even though his wishes were respected, one needed only to look at the fans and at the banners that decorated each park to appreciate the enormous respect he had earned.
Although I enjoyed Jim Kaplan's article, I find it hard to believe there was no mention of the team that epitomizes the good old days, the world champion Baltimore Orioles. No big contract disputes, always a team effort, a grass-covered, roofless stadium and a mustachioed batter who was the Series MVP.
I disagree with Jim Kaplan's opinion of mascots. They add that little touch of light-heartedness that reminds us it's only a game. And speaking of outlandish, while the Phillie Phanatic is quite a horror, the Baltimore Bird is just a cute-looking oriole.
Fort Dix, N.J.
Do your readers a favor. Don't print any more articles by Jim Kaplan. I couldn't finish his journal because of its depressing perspective. Kaplan deserves the same treatment Roger Angell gave Dave Kingman: Btfstpk!
NEIL B. CONNELLY
North White Plains, N.Y.
STUBBORN COACH (CONT.)
William Nack's article on Butch van Breda Kolff was great. As a former opponent (Cornell '65), I can assure you his Princeton teams of the early '60s were among the best passing teams ever, and it was as much because of van Breda Kolff as Bill Bradley.
As a coach, van Breda Kolff surely has done it "his way," but a noted tactician, Bob Knight, has often referred to him as one of the best coaches ever.
Nevertheless, van Breda Kolff has done what many of us college coaches would like to do—leave the rat race behind and get back to coaching basketball.
Southern Methodist University
The article on Butch van Breda Kolff provided some excellent insights into the life of one of this generation's most colorful sports figures. However, William Nack wasn't entirely correct in saying that Princeton's 25-3 record and fifth-place ranking in 1967 was "unheard of—and still is—for an Ivy League team." The University of Pennsylvania's 1970-71 Ivy League champions were 28-1 and ranked No. 3 nationally, as was Penn's 25-3 team in 1971-72. Penn's 1978-79 Ivy titlists went to the Final Four. That should answer the question "Is there life in the Ivy League after Bill Bradley?"
JOHN T. MILLER
Red Lion, Pa.
As a college athlete and fan of SI, I look forward to the swimsuit edition each year. It is indeed refreshing to see your models in the latest summer fashions in the dead of winter.
I also enjoy the 19TH HOLE two weeks later (Feb. 27), when readers offer their opinions. It seems women lead the antiswimsuit faction, claiming that it corrupts children and degrades women.
At 22 years of age, I can attest that after viewing 10 swimsuit editions, I certainly haven't been corrupted, and the majority of my peers have a high regard for the women who grace your pages. In an age of transvestite rock stars, bisexuality, and drug abuse in sport, I find it wholesome to see that boys can still be boys, and girls can still be girls.
SI's swimsuit issue was once again a flawless display of photographic art, tastefully presented. I'm amazed, however, at some of the responses you get every year, for example, equating SI with smut. I've seen worse (better?) in the family magazines in a doctor's office. Everyone has a right to an opinion, but I'm glad your excellent work isn't compromised by adverse criticism.
DONALD L. YATES
Oak Harbor, Wash.
I cannot tell you how sickened I am by the self-righteous enthusiasm with which some librarians notify you of their refusal to permit middle school students to have access to your swimsuit issue. I refer them to the American Library Association's Library Bill of Rights, Article 5, which states that the rights of an individual to the use of a library shouldn't be denied or abridged because of age. I remind them that librarians are information gatekeepers, not arbiters of public morality.
It's sad enough when external pressures result in the censorship of library materials, but when such energies come from one whose responsibility it is to encourage the dissemination of information, it is a sad day indeed.
Patrick County Public Library
Although your magazine has always maintained high professional standards in the area of sports reporting, your swimsuit issue is a flagrant attempt to promote cheesecake a la Hugh Hefner. After we received the 1983 swimsuit issue, we felt it would be your last, based on the negative input from your readers. We felt their concerns would be important to you. Obviously, they weren't! Please cancel our subscription.
After reading the mixed reactions to your annual swimsuit extravaganza, I congratulate you on your truly class publication. SPORTS ILLUSTRATED'S tradition of printing criticisms along with commendations, without justification or rebuttal, shows that you aren't insensitive to the concerns many have regarding the morality of such an issue. It would be easy to avoid controversy by simply scrapping your annual cheesecake edition. Yet by standing up for what you believe in and allowing others to voice their opinions and concerns, you continue to exemplify the freedom and integrity that are the foundation of this great nation.
MICHAEL J. YOFFIE
San Rafael, Calif.
As a longtime subscriber to SI, I believe I have seen almost all of your covers, including the swimsuits, to which I have no objection. However, you have outdone yourselves with the cover of your Feb. 20 edition.
If you have been looking for the all-American girl, you can stop searching because you have found her. How could you ever surpass the scrubbed, apple-cheeked, smiling, happy look of Debbie Armstrong?
The Hug, and a squeeze en route to silver.
Letters should include the name, address and home telephone number of the writer and be addressed to The Editor, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, N.Y. 10020.