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February 14, 1960 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1960-02-14

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Seventieth Year

hen Opinions Are Free
Truth Will Prevail"

Editorials printed in The Michigan Daily express the individual opinions of staff writers
or the editors. This must be noted in all reprints.

AY, FEBRUARY 14, 1960


Vasily Kuznetsov, world record holder for the decathelon, has to take a publicity back-seat
to his team as a whole.

Let's Give the Games
Back to the Athletes

Eutu r
Daily Staff Writer
THANKS TO today's modern
mass communication media,
the tool of propaganda is a re-
quired and well used item in every
nation's arsenal of non-military
Taking its place along side of
such age old favorites as eco-
nomics, propaganda has proved to
be more encompassing than its
early proponents could have ever
dreamed of. For these organized
methods of thought now cover
everything from moon-bound mis-
siles to muscle-bound athletes.
An unfortunate and innocent
victim of this powerful weapon
has been the Olympic Games.
The ancient Greek games were
revived in 1896 by the French
sportsman Baron de Courbetin for
the purpose of letting "men all
over the world meet in friendly
athletic competition."
From its small beginning - a
dozen nations and 484 athletes -
the Olympics have grown grad-
ually into a world famous inter-
national event, with 69 countries
and 5,867 competitors in 1952.
Unfortunately the Olympic's
rise to prominence has been par-
alleled by a similar rise in its pro-
paganda values. Russia upon en-
tering the Cold War took careful
note of this fact and placed ath-
letic supremacy high on its priority
list of non-military objectives.
FACILITIES were created, ex-
tensive training methods were set
up, foreign techniques were care-
fully observed and a stiff competi-
tion schedule was installed. Re-
sults were amazing as the Russians
jumped to second in the summer
Olympics at Helinski in 1952.
For the first time, the United
States' take-it-for-granted ath-
letic supremacy seems to have
been lost. United States officials
are aware of this and have set to
work, trying to develop better ath-
letes in the sports Americans are
traditionally weak in: gymnastics,
wrestling, etc.
The United States is certainly
not eager to lose its title as the
world's 'best' athletic nation. It
has spent many years building up
this image throughout the world,
by means of wide publicity and
goodwill tours by famous American
THE TRUE Olympic spirit has
somehow been lost in the flood of
press releases. Baron de Courbe-
tin's words, "competition is to be
between n dividuals and not be-
tween nations" have been forgot-
Center of the propaganda battle
is the unofficial Olympic scoring
system, which gives 10-5-4-3-2-1
points, respectively, for the first





, el
Jam //4 /
--Daily--Coco Oppenhleimner
six place finishers. This method
of scoring was dreamed up by U.S T AMSELCTON
American sportswriters when the
Olympics took place in Los An-A
geles back in 1932.
both the NCAAwhnd.choegncor u t
ing methods,O is applied to every
event at the Olympics. Ridicu- By HAROLD APPLEBAUM may sometimes replace the out- . CANHAM, the outspoken Mich
lously, the same amount of points Daily stagr writer standing competitor, who is not at gan track coach, expressed simila
are given to a first place winner N THE four years since the last peak mental or physical condition sentiment in regards to his fiel
in a single pistol event as are Olympic Games the methods by during the only trial saying, "There are occasional in
given to a soccer team, which is which the United States teams are justices, but the present metho
composed of many more individ- chosen have been under fire by THE REASON why little has is best.
uals and has to go through a great certain coaches, members of the been done was best explained by "The trial system as it no
many more preliminaries in order press and officials.- Mch stands is best because our athlete
bot thnCAAiciandanforeignympicor-m
t at . The heart of the problem lies ming coacGus replac te ou know that they will have only thi
The International Olympic Com- in the fact that in 1956 the Ameri Canham Michigan track coach one opportunity and their re
mittee's attitude to 'team battles'. can teams, which have dominated and a prominent figure in the sultant desire to make the Lean
and scoring systems are expressed Olympic history, were second to world of track and field creates greater competition for thi
inth statement from its bylaws: Russia in overall supremacy and g n C s trials and thus better perform
cpoNed ofny pic games or na generally performed belowexpec- y THge ran wh tae hasbances than if we were to jus
us andthastongosthrough aegatd crtatin ocemmeso h ns. onteaebest painednjby- Thoe ortiarytrasito,
indicate superiority of one system ,knaows tatrthettihes and weak spots in the one heselectons on trerel s
over another. One of the objects mehdwi s amhtth shot-trial method, but taking all series of meets," he continued.
of the Olympic Games is to build to choose its teams does not as- theings tposcsierwaytochoseis If an athlete is injured or no,
iternational good will. Efforts to sure the United States of having theams ichea tro croa sharp on that particular day it i
pit one nation against another in the strongest possible contenders and ami n the unfortunate, but an athlete wh
this di.e. a point scoring system) for Olympic honors and resulted * * a is injured or doesn't race up to ht
ir any other manner must be in the weaker American showing SOME CRITICS of the present capibilities during the trials is n
spverely censured c in 1956. system say we should try the Aus- longer a superior performer an(
s c c tralian system for choosing swim doesn't deserve a spot onth
THUS, YEAR after year the teams. In Australia the swimmers team.
IOC has censured all forms of THESE METHODS vary with trying for the team are tested in a "Sometimes an injury is th
scoring systems as being misrep- the sport, and range from using series of meets culminating in an athlete's own fault. The Sime cas
resentations of the Olympic spirit, a nucleus of one organized team, Olympic trial meet. The team is is a perfect example. Sime is i
but their efforts have been in vain. bolstered by the addition of all- then chosen, largely on the basis runner who really had little bu
For the last two Olympic years, ab frs Oie hors a ket- of the final meet, but the results a,reputation in the press. He wa
1952 and 1956, Americans have inte werae mecan -spowin of the previous meets arestaken ijured because of his own stu
or ehow 'we' are trailing.r eaigtrack and field, swimming, skiing, ttoesimmdersto mihtae o o dytraining and hurt imsel
This summer should be no dif- box i ndividual sports not performed up to expectations with a foolish maneuver in a race
ferent. Sport fans can expect to Although there have been in the concluding meet, he con- It's better that guys like that don'
see a full repetoire of articles on squabbles over the choice of teams tinued. make the team," Canham added
how Americans are getting soft, to represent the United States in "Then the swimmers work to- *
the Russiansare professionals or Hou events, the arva ogiteates tr for te m areding "BY COMPLAINING that w
scorng ystms sbingmisep- thesoretmandra netomsusin-gsersormetscmntingpepainga tlt' w al.TeSm a
--depending on the results-how . b for the Games under the dire- are not choosing the stronges
the Russians aren't really so great, ividual t sportswhich are chose tion of a team of coaches. A short team these critics, whether the
and how America has made a blsytcers andoatedpolotithe to time fore they leave for the be coaches, officials or sportswrit
benr edigaot'e'aeaedighn-sottiatetodcusdcn inocosieatonIatecaeso.pdiysHystem. eer ul
or howwe' a ean tk ad fl sg sGames a head coach is chosen ers, are overlooking the real is
Ieet.wSportefansraneectdtonlto ugrtee aeaendin he onudingmnet, then sett ersadthagikegthaston'.
those ho lketorethioatlest spo stqTHE MA JOR contentionhofeeamofotthealmsmtiudtesau the tesam anineter tha
is one field where man can forget those opposing the present trial they have ever, been, but so ar
international differences and com- method is thatthe superior ath- the Australians, the Russians an
-epe o e deting. lete who is injured or is not other- "THIS SYSTEM may be better the other 'athletes from Easter
The IOC says, "The Olympics are wise up to par on the day of the than our own, but it would be im- Europe. These countries neve
a contest between individuals." Its trials is not selected. Thus an in- practical for the United States to even had teams in the Games 2
a shame it can't be just that. ferior athlete, having a good day use it," Stager said years ago.


THE OLYMPIC GAMES, originated to honor
"the manhood of nations," have slowly de-
veloped into the chance for gifted countries to
glorify "the nations of manhood." And it's about
time things were changed back to the initial
Americans are now raising Olympic funds to
"beat the Russians," and Russians have broken
every code of amateurism to "beat the Ameri-
cans." Several United States groups have sug-
gested that the state-supported athlete be
established here to a certain degree because
Russia has them.
The athletes of Red China aren't allowed to
compete because they are from Red China.
Super stars, like Michigan diver Joe Gerlach
of Hungary, can't compete because they are
expatriated from Olympic sports when they
change their national residence. As each Games
begin, the officials-not the athletes-of many
nations grab the headlines by complaining about
housing, food and facilities to excuse their
possible defeats.
In all of these cases, the nation, rather than
the athlete, is the center of attention.
UT HOW CAN you improve the situation,
you ask.
It's not easy. That's because the officials are
old reactionaries and patriots who consult the
Greek archives to see how it was done in B.C.
and act accordingly, especially if it is to their
advantage for publicity. They are mostly rich
men, so it is easy for them to set up strict rules
defining amateur status which are difficult for
athletes to follow.
To get the athlete back into the Olympic
limelight, the show must be built around him.
This means that the individual performer must
be made the central figure, instead of the na-
tion he represents.


THIS COULD BE accomplished by choosing
athletes on a regional basis, not nationally
as it is done now. The better athletes in the
regions would advance to the finals. Thus, the
barrier created by not allowing an athlete to
compete for more than one country in his life-
time would be overcome. Athletes like Gerlach
would be able to move from one country to an-
other without jeopardizing their eligibility.
Now may be the time to introduce this plan,
since we are on the verge of becoming a cos-
mopolitan world. It also could bring the athletes
of Red China together with those of the rest
of the world (now only athletes confirmed by
Nationalist China are recognized as "official
Chinese"). Four to six major geographical re-
gions could be established considering natural
continental boundaries and population areas.
HOW ABOUT MONEY to send the athletes
to the finals if such a plan were to be
adopted? The answer lies in receipts from the
regional and final competitions, and help from
the athletes' residential areas. This would cut
out national support to a degree and further
de-nationalize the Games. As it is now, few
countries can afford to send full teams anyway.
The last step in giving the Games to the
athletes would be to hold them every two years
instead of four. In our present world, we have
more leisure time and transportation is easier.
More people want to see the Games and more
areas want to sponsor them. For example, right
now it is almost impossible to get tickets to the
1960 Games at Rome. And at least a dozen suit-
able cities (including Moscow, Antwerp, Rio
De Janiero, Detroit, Los Angeles, Washington
and New York) would have jumped at the
chance to sponsor the 1964 Games. Now, it
would take a half century more to juggle those
already-prepared cities into the program.
Sports Editor


"With the exceptionally large
field of contestants we have in this
country holding a series of meets
would ,be too complex and too
costly, especially in terms of trans-
portation and housing.

"What we have to do is face the
facts and realize that we are not
going to dominate the Olympics as
we have in the past and not quib-
ble about matters like - choosing
teams," Canham said.

The Price Tag Burden

BEHIND THE competitive pageantry of this
year's XVII Olympiad which will entertain
spectators in Squaw Valley and Rome, there is
a large financial base which provides the funds
needed to stage such a mammoth athletic
Italy, the host country for the summer games,
will probably spend over $10 million to perfect
facilities to house the participants and areas
designated for the various contests. Entering a
team from the United States will cost nearly
two million dollars.
Finding the money to send a team to the
events in Rome, the contests in California and
the Pan-American games held last summer in
Chicago could be a problem. According to Asa
Bushnell, of the Olympic Committee, this coun-
try has gone to the Games in the past before
there was a balanced budget. "Nevertheless we
have always been able to straighen our ac-
counts and pay our bills."
IN RECENT YEARS the problem of raising
vast sums of money has been made easier by
the fact that countless numbers of people
throughout this country have volunteered their
services. Nation-wide magazines have provided
free advertising, celebrities have donated their
services to help gather funds and industry has
provided the team with uniforms and equip-
Colleges and universities have added over
$500,000 to the Olympic cause. Sports-minded
people in the Armed Forces in this country
and abroad have not only given financial help
but also assisted in housing team personnel
while they were training.
Fraternal and religious organizations have
contributed to the fund while athletic organiza-
tions around the country, including the very
financially sound Detroit Athletic Club, have
been known to put out substantial amounts.
07 4Ihprt

tioned as possible substitutes for the hetero-
geneous collection of "angels" who support the
Games. Soliciting help from a smaller group of
very rich individuals was also suggested. The
numbers of eager alumnae willing to write
checks to their football-alma maters seems to
imply that the latter type of economic aid
would be quite easy to obtain.
Both suggestions have been vetoed by the
Olympic Committee members, many of them
wealthy men, because they want to keep the
Games part of the public's domain. Bureau-
cratic control, they feel, would stifle popular
interest. Concentrating the backers among a
small number of prosperous capitalists could
also deaden national concern for the event.
Opponents of this fairly idealistic stand will
argue that other nations, particularly the
Soviet Union and her idealogical allies, spend
fantastic sums in support of large scale sports
programs. The small East German state alone
spends $60 million each year for government
run athletics,
are involved in more than military com-
petition, it could be argued that producing a
top team which can stay even with the Rus-
sians is part of the overall rivalry. Government
aid will help this effort.
Tug Wilson and his committee have been
unwilling to sacrifice their idealism for what
may be political expediency even though it be-
comes apparent that the Soviet Union will
surpass this country in many areas. Part of
their reasoning is connected to the principle
that the Olympics were designed for individual
rivalries, not national sporting battles.
The committee is also interested in public
support, whether from individuals or com-
mercial or private groups. They have been able
to construct a useful dichotomy between the
public supporting athletes who actually do not
represent this country.

Russians Seek U.S.
Sprint Dominance
Sports Editor
HOW FAR CAN a nation develop its athletes in its quest of demon.
strating physical supremacy to the world through competition?
The Russians have raised this problem recently with the state-
supported athlete as they try to win heavily in Olympic competition for
propaganda purposes. But they have found an obstacle in their bid
from chief-rival United States.
One Russian goal is the title "world's fastest human" which is

established by breaking the world
the Olympic 100 - meter dash
* * *
WHY CAN'T the Russians, who
have improved to championship
caliber in the distance runs and
some weight events, reach Ameri-
can class in the sprints?
The Russians have repeatedly
tried to get that crown from
American speedsters who have
won 24 of 28 (including eight by
University athletes) Olympic
sprint titles since the Games were
renewed in 1896. At any meet with
the United States, they send al-
most as many photographers as
coaches to record how Americans
do it.
* * *
YET THEY have had no suc-
cess, and many Americans feel
they will never succeed. But the
Americans - coaches, physiogists
and athletes-can't agree why.
One of these experts-shot-put-
ter Parry O'Brien-told this writ-
er that it is the "American way of
life" is the reason for our su-
"We Americans do everything
at a faster pace than the rest of

sprint records in track or winning
ham, who has written several
books about track and field. "The
theory is that muscles are looser
in warm weather than In cold.
"Over generations, this becomes
innate," he continued, pointing out
that our great sprinters are of
African descent.
Canham recalled that on cold,
but track-loving country, FInland,
tried to improve its sprinters to
world class. The Finns, who have
had champions in most other
track and field events, thought
Americans were good because they
ran. short distances over indoor
tracks all winter. Therefore many
fieldhouses were built in Finland.
But not one great sprinter came
out of them.
OTHER THEORIES of note are
that Americans have better food
and better competition. The former
proposition has to be thrown out
because many of our great dash-
men have come from humble
families. As for competition, Amer-
ica does have the most good
sprinters as well as the greatest.
But Russia has gone all-out to
seek competition and has shown


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