OLYMPIC PREVIEW (CONT.)
Upon receipt of my copy of your special preview. The 1984 Olympics (July 18), I turned immediately to the several articles written by Kenny Moore and was rewarded once again by the work of your unrivaled writer of profiles. Although his athletic specialty was distance running, as a writer Moore has demonstrated a rare commonality of understanding with athletes in a wide variety of disciplines. This has enabled him to share with his readers seldom-revealed glimpses of the intrinsic beauties of diverse athletic experiences.
Goshen, N.Y. Sir:
What an excellent article by Kenny Moore on Daley Thompson (He's a Perfect 10). Being a fairly respectable decathlete myself (1984 Olympic trials qualifier), I can relate to a lot of what Daley says.
Some of the most satisfying times in my life have come when putting the shot or hurling the discus all alone on a track somewhere and feeling that progress is being made. The rest of the world is going about its daily routine and couldn't care less about the distances I've achieved. But I care, and I can only describe the feeling as incredible.
Moore has been able to capture some of this feeling and convey it to the public. It's a hard thing to explain, but he's done it quite remarkably.
Your 1984 Olympic preview is outstanding. Douglas S. Looney's article on Dan Gable (The Ultimate Winner) is the best ever in SHORTS ILLUSTRATED, and as a charter subscriber I've read them all. Gable's dedication, determination and intensity have made him America's best wrestler ever and the best coach in sports. To wrestle for Gable is the ultimate. His Olympic wrestlers must feel that they can take on the world and win, and I believe that they will.
W.F. HICKSON JR.
Thanks for the article by William Oscar Johnson on Buster Crabbe (A Star Was Born). My parents own a Buster Crabbe Swimming Pools dealership, and you'd be surprised at the number of people who don't know who Buster Crabbe was. Even though he was an Olympic swimmer and played Flash Gordon and Tarzan in the movies, people still call the office and ask for "Mr. Crabbe," or when my mom answers, they say, "Oh, Mrs. Crabbe, is Buster there?" Your article will shed some light on the real Buster Crabbe.
The breathtaking photo essay by Brian Lanker on rhythmic gymnastics (A Feast for the Eyes) approaches a truer feminine beauty than any of your swimsuit issues ever will.
LISA L. ZWICK
I was very disappointed when I received your special Olympic preview and found, after careful scrutiny, that the equestrian events were virtually ignored. Of the 540 pages the issue contained, a mere half-page (page 252) was devoted to the equestrians. It's my opinion that if equestrianism is regarded highly enough to be included in the Olympic Games, then it certainly warrants appreciable coverage in America's most widely read sports publication.
JODY N. ANDERSON
New Park, Pa.
BOBBY AND HIS BOYS
Curry Kirkpatrick's article Hooray for the Red, White, Black and Blue! (July 23) on teaching our Olympians the skills of the pros was excellent. Bravo! I enjoyed it and laughed with Curry as he told us how it is in the real world of basketball.
Go get 'em, Bobby Knight. Show everyone that your slammo-jammo-in-your-face youth are just as good as—if not better than—the best in the world, including the NBA.
Salt Lake City
My compliments on the excellent coverage of the Olympic basketball team. One question, though: Why do you continue to stand up for Bobby Knight? I admit he's a great coach, but his constant outbursts and unsportsmanlike behavior are ridiculous. I think SI should stop giving Knight credit for his coaching until he is able to grow up and show the public that he can go through a whole game without having a fit.
New York City
Joan Ackermann-Blount's story on our national women's power volleyball team (The Waiting Is Over, July 23) reveals some of America's finest athletes. Their sacrifice for their game is a large one—much greater than many would make. However, you can ask any athlete in a truly amateur sport, be it volleyball, field hockey, speed skating, archery or Nordic skiing, and you'll find that they feel the sacrifices are well worth it—the feelings of exhilaration and personal satisfaction derived from these sports are immeasurable.
It's too bad that most Americans, in the words of Marlon Sano, "just can't relate to it." They're really missing something.
Perhaps someone will find better words to describe the obsession that is volleyball, but Flo Hyman comes close when she says, "When it all works well, it feels like...you're playing a song."
The song that Flo and her friends play deserves to become a gold record.
Junction City, Ore.
I read with interest Steve Wulfs article about Cincinnati fireballer Mario Soto (His Bad Rep is a Bad Rap, July 23). In my opinion, Soto is the best pitcher in baseball, and I have grown tired of seeing him unjustly criticized for his fiery temper. Like John McEnroe, Soto is a professional at the top of his game who plays at a level of intensity and emotion that is both exciting and inspiring. I watch sports to relax and enjoy vicarious thrills, and so it is infinitely more interesting to see an athlete like Soto or McEnroe than someone who performs with robot-like detachment.
MATTHEW H. JONES
New Albany, Ind.
Steve Wulfs article on Mario Soto was just the remedy needed. Maybe because of this article people will finally take the time to understand the man and the circumstances before judging him.
Soto shows—to me, anyway—a lot more than just talent. He shows loyalty—something rarely found in baseball these days. Once he controls that temper of his, he'll be unstoppable. Or in other words, Sotorific.
There is certainly no disputing Mario Soto's extraordinary pitching talent, but I was perplexed and disappointed to see Steve Wulf and SI attempt to vindicate Soto for his past altercations on the playing field. Showing that Soto is a nice guy, and that he may have been provoked in these incidents, simply doesn't change the fact that he threw a baseball at another player. Cincinnati manager Vern Rapp defends Soto by saying that he was only protecting his livelihood in these scraps, but if that is so, does it justify endangering not only another man's livelihood but also his life by retaliating with a baseball? Someone could have been killed by a man capable of throwing the ball more than 95 mph. Soto's subsequent five-day suspension and $5,000 fine were inconsequential to a man with a $6 million contract. It's a shame that a player like Soto, with so much talent, reacted in such a poor way in Atlanta, and that SI has used its pages to influence readers to see this despicable act in a more favorable light.
MICHAEL W. YEN
I enjoyed Bil Gilbert's article (Can We Live in Peace with the Grizzly? July 23) on the plight of the grizzly bear in the U.S. I agree with Gilbert when he states, "I'm solidly pro bear." In the article, both Gilbert and Dr. Chris Servheen seem to say that the worth of the grizzly lies in the special experiences he makes possible for man, or in the lessons man can learn from him. Unfortunately, this man-centered perspective clouds many issues in our society, both environmental and otherwise. I believe that the true value of the grizzly is inherent in the fact that he was created by God for existence on earth. In this sense, man is a partner with the grizzly, and we are thus obligated to do what we can to allow the grizzly's continued existence in this ecosphere.
After reading Bil Gilbert's story, I was reminded of an incident last summer while I was working in Yellowstone Park. Late one afternoon I was fortunate to be able to watch a grizzly cub eat wild berries. For more than 30 minutes I watched from a distance because I respected the fact that this was his land. This was probably the highlight of my summer, but it was quickly spoiled by a tourist who had to get a close-up shot of the cub with his camera. We can coexist with grizzlies, but we must show them the respect that they deserve.
Bil Gilbert's report on the preservation of the grizzly bear was the best I've ever read. If we could all learn to be as intimately in tune with our emotions as Gilbert is, and come to understand the value of other living beings with which we share this earth, we would all be the better for it.
"Can we live in peace with the grizzly?" Who cares? I live in Iowa.
MARK D. NIEDERT
In your July 23 issue you responded to a letter from another reader by noting the individuals with the longest spans between appearances on SI's cover. I wonder who holds the record for the shortest length of time between cover appearances, and who has appeared on the cover most often.
New York City
•Bill Walton, then of UCLA, and Tom Burleson, of North Carolina State, hold the record for the shortest span, having appeared together on two covers in a row in 1974 (March 25, 1974, far left, and April 1, 1974). Muhammad Ali is the record holder for most cover appearances, with 29.—ED.
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.