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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Oct. 3, 2007 / 21 Tishrei 5768

Death of an Olympian

By Bob Tyrrell


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The death this week of Al Oerter, four-time Olympic gold medalist in the discus event, prompts some thoughts on the great generation of field-event athletes that is now passing. Oerter is the only Olympian to win four gold medals in his event (1956, 1960, 1964 and 1968) with an Olympic record every time.


Sprinter and long jumper Carl Lewis won golds in four straight Olympics, but he did not set Olympic records in each win. And Lewis, though one of the greatest athletes of his era, competed in a different era, an era after the Olympic ideal of amateur sport had been maculated by professional sports contracts.


In Oerter's day, there was no money in amateur sport, but there were plenty of great athletes and, not coincidentally, great characters. Another who passed away a few months back was shot-putter Parry O'Brien, winner of two consecutive Olympic golds and, in his third attempt in 1960, a bronze. In 1964, O'Brien finished fourth. Both of these athletes were innovators in their events and legendary competitors, without displaying the guff we often see today. They were also lifelong athletes who exemplified the athlete's highest ideals: character, competitiveness and health. On this last point, Oerter's experience might not be totally convincing. He died at 71, but it was after overcoming a life of high blood pressure and cardiovascular problems. He also was afflicted often with injuries in competition, injuries that he usually overcame, often heroically.


His first two golds were the easy product of a prodigiously gifted young athlete, but in 1964 and 1968, his feats amazed. Both times he was injured, and in 1964, the injuries were appalling. Six days before his event, the 6-foot-4-inch athlete, who weighed nearly 300 pounds, had fallen on wet pavement and torn rib cartilage on his throwing side while also damaging his neck. Team doctors advised him not to compete and to lay off it for six weeks. His response was, "These are the Olympics. You die before you quit." Calculating that he could only throw in five of the allowed six efforts, he let fly with a tremendous heave on his last effort, sending the discus far enough to beat his great Czech rival, Ludvik Danek. By the time Oerter's discus landed, he was convulsed in agony.


Harold Connolly, another Olympic gold medalist from Oerter's era — Connolly was a hammer thrower — esteemed Oerter "the greatest field-event athlete of the century. There's a magic about him when he's competing. He's nervous before the meet. He doesn't eat well and his hands shake. But once the event is about to start, a calmness settles over him. The other athletes see it, and it intimidates them. They watch him, and they are afraid of what he might do." Well, whatever he did, it always would be by the book. He competed until 1987, after reaching the finals of the Olympic trials in 1984 at the age of 47. When he quit, he observed, "The drug culture had taken over."


I suspect the "drug culture" is a concomitant of the big money that has been injected into sports at the highest level today. The Olympic ideal of amateurism is long dead. With its passing has gone the love of sport for its own sake, the sheer fun of competition. After visiting an Olympic training facility in the 1990s, Oerter rendered his judgment of the professionalism that has subverted the amateurism of his day. According to The New York Times, he lamented, "I saw these athletes in their 30s training full time. That's their life. What happened to the rest of it? I'm happy that I had a normal life, with a career and family. That makes a person whole."


The pure amateurism of the Olympics was a 19th-century liberal ideal. I always have wondered how the liberals could allow this ideal to fall victim to the mercenary impulse. It was one of the ideals they got right, and I have not heard a peep of protest from them as the giant corporations and the superpatriots subverted that ideal. Well, here I stand waving the banner of amateurism. Why is a modern Eleanor Roosevelt or Bertrand Russell not standing here with me? Is it because — as I have been saying for years — modern liberalism no longer produces such liberal paragons, just hustlers and the Clintons?

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Bob Tyrrell is editor in chief of The American Spectator. Comment by clicking here.

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