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Original Issue


The wrestling rules that should prevent such tragedies are
ignored, while larger revenue sports get the attention they need
to keep them clean.


It is terrible that there have been three recent deaths in
college wrestling because of cutting weight (POINT AFTER, Dec.
29-Jan. 5). In Michigan a high school wrestler may cut weight
only to 7% body fat, and rubber suits are not allowed. These are
very responsible rules.
JOEL M. MCCLURE, Grayling, Mich.

Why not weigh athletes at the beginning of a season and let
their weight at that time determine the only class in which they
may compete? During the season, weigh-ins may be taken before
matches to assure compliance.

Sadly, high school wrestling also has a dirty secret: home
morning weigh-ins. Besides the obvious problem of cheating
because a wrestler weighs himself, the 10-hour recovery period
before the match makes weight loss virtually mandatory, the idea
being that the wrestler trains down to the lightest class
possible for the weigh-in and then bulks up as much as possible.
Put the athletes on the scale and 30 minutes later put them on
the mat.
Papillion-LaVista High Wrestling Coach Papillion, Neb.

I have been involved with wrestling for more than 15 years, as a
participant through college and now as an assistant coach. David
Fleming's comment that diuretic and laxative use is widespread
among wrestlers is an exaggeration, to say the least. His
article serves to harm a sport that is already in the fight of
its life from Title IX-induced cutbacks. Parents of young
wrestlers should feel comfortable with their children's decision
to give wrestling a try, not terrified by irresponsible horror
ROBERT HART, Columbus, Ohio


Peter King has shown once again why he's the best NFL writer in
the country. His Return Man (Dec. 29-Jan. 5) took football fans
inside the thoughts of a great coach, Dick Vermeil, in his
comeback season with the St. Louis Rams. King showed us the ups
and downs of the daily life of a pro coach and gave us a glimpse
into his personal life without getting too personal. Articles
such as this set the standard in sports journalism.


My compliments to E.M. Swift for his Moment dealing with his
baseball experiences as a kid (Moments of Truth, Dec. 29-Jan. 5)
and his love for the game's little guys. Swift's last line,
referring to Marlins second baseman Craig Counsell, "As his
teammates leaped joyfully around him, I thought about Nellie
Fox," made me realize why I still love baseball. In the face of
all the bad stories, this was a refreshing article.
GEORGE L. CHAVEZ JR., Cottage Grove, Minn.

Your year-in-review story lacked charm...Silver Charm. I found
it hard to believe that Silver Charm's magnificent run at the
Triple Crown was not mentioned.

Mark McGwire and Ken Griffey Jr. hit 58 and 56 home runs,
respectively, and neither makes your year-end roundup?

Of course, you can't please everyone, but I'm sure tens of
thousands of soccer fans are disappointed that you didn't
mention the U.S. team's qualifying for the World Cup final as a
Moment of Truth.
TOM LAROSA, Pine Bush, N.Y.

I was disappointed that you did not include the retirement of
Mario Lemieux. Had he not been plagued by injuries and illness,
he probably would have been the greatest hockey player of all
AMANDA TETER, Clarksburg, W.Va.

You could have added that a track and field athlete named Carl
Lewis retired.
CHIP COMPTON, Marion, Ind.

COLOR PHOTO: HEINZ KLUETMEIER Other 1997 heroes (from left): Silver Charm, McGwire, Griffey, the U.S. soccer team, Lemieux and Lewis. [Horse Silver Charm in race]

COLOR PHOTO: STEPHEN GREEN [See caption above--Mark McGwire]

COLOR PHOTO: JOHN IACONO [See caption above--Ken Griffey Jr.]

COLOR PHOTO: GEORGE TIEDEMANN [See caption above--Player on U.S. soccer team]

COLOR PHOTO: DAVID E. KLUTHO [See caption above--Mario Lemieux]

COLOR PHOTO: BRAD MANGIN [See caption above--Carl Lewis]