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Original Issue


The Dream Team
It seems sad that during the Olympics, an international competition intended to celebrate amateur athletes, so much attention was focused on the Dream Team, a group of highly paid professionals with inflated egos (Let the Games Begin, Aug. 3). The hype and publicity surrounding the team only detracts from the true Olympic heroes, the many previously unheralded champions of sport.
West Paterson, N.J.

With the exception of Magic Johnson, Clyde Drexler and Larry Bird, the U.S. basketball team showed little to no class. I hope we send only collegians to future Olympics.
Chino, Calif.

I grow weary of all this Dream Team bashing. The team's presence in the Olympics was utterly within the rules. Sure, in the U.S. we're all a bit tired of the NBA and its endless season, but the rest of the world isn't sick of the NBA players. Theirs was a beautiful and powerful display of excellence in athletics.

When members of the Dream Team expressed reluctance about giving up their summers and taking attention from other athletes, we practically reconvened the Un-American Activities Committee. Now they're criticized for having hogged the attention. It would have been too expensive for security and too distracting for everybody to have them stay in the Olympic Village, but we complained because they stayed in an expensive hotel. If they won by too many points, they were rubbing it in. If they didn't win by enough, they were dogging it and not playing defense. I don't know why these talented men and their families bothered with the rest of us.
Wooster, Ohio

Cheers for your Faces of the Games in the Aug. 10 issue. While the conceited, money-hungry Dream Team got all the attention, these athletes quietly represented their countries out of the press's spotlight. Thank you for giving them the recognition they deserved.
Grosse Pointe Park, Mich.

Pablo Morales
Leigh Montville's Bravo, Pablo (Aug. 3) is an inspiration and a tribute to any athlete who has persevered. The Nelson Diebels and Melvin Stewarts often draw media attention with their flashy styles, but gold medal swimmer Pablo Morales's quiet grace and dignity speak far more eloquently in support of all that is admirable in athletics. Montville's comparison of Morales to Joe DiMaggio was right on target and a compliment to both men.

Trent Dimas
Trent Dimas's gold medal performance on the horizontal bar deserved more than one paragraph (Amity Beats Enmity, Aug. 10). You barely praised his accomplishment before belittling it by saying that Shannon Miller was America's gymnastics star. I, too, was thrilled for Miller, but Dimas's performance should not have been treated as a lesser feat. The road he traveled to reach the Olympics was one that many people could never have endured. That his struggle ended with a gold medal must have made the whole experience that much sweeter for him.

Korea's Marathoners
I was disappointed that you didn't cover the final and best event of the Olympics, the men's marathon, despite the interesting history of Korean marathoners in the Games. Hwang Young Cho of South Korea won in 2:13:23 to become the first Korean to win the marathon since 1936, when Sohn Kee Chung set an Olympic record of 2:29:19. Because Korea was occupied by Japan in 1936, both Sohn and bronze medalist Nam Sung Yong had to compete on the Japanese team, using Japanese names (which were Kitei Son and Shoryu Nan, respectively), and to have their victory celebrated by the Japanese flag and anthem. Sohn, now 80, was in the stands in Barcelona to see the victorious Hwang enter the stadium all alone, waving and blowing kisses to the crowd.
Visalia, Calif.



Hwang had far more reason to celebrate in Barcelona than Nam (26) and Sohn had in Berlin.

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