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Fame before fortune

Even folks who don’t usually turn first to the sports section of their daily newspaper before they read the rest of the rag are enamored of the Olympic Games. It’s great fun to watch the best athletes in the world compete against each other while learning their life stories. The downside, though, is to see superstars making millions competing in the same events with amateurs who earn almost nothing back home. Historically, amateur rules were downright illogical, taking 1912 gold medals from Jim Thorpe for playing pro baseball and the 1956 gold from Lee Calhoun for accepting gifts while getting married on a TV show, neither of which activities were medal-winning sports. If LeBron James wants to run a track event or Serena Williams wishes to play volleyball, I would have no problem with that. I’m not advocating reverting to the ancient Greek-style games in which only men competed (in the nude), but I’d like to see a return to the days when a young man like Cassius Clay could earn fame before fortune. Far too many that have both should be watching at home with the rest of us.

Dale Roloff