SI Vault
February 02, 1998
The wrestling rules that should prevent such tragedies are ignored, while larger revenue sports get the attention they need to keep them clean.TODD M. BARTER, WOOLWICH, MAINE
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February 02, 1998


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

Wrestling Weight
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.
JEFF KUPFER, Papillion-La Vista 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 stories.
ROBERT HART, Columbus, Ohio

Coach Vermeil
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.

Looking Back
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.

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