Renaldo Nehemiah and Willie Gault, world-class hurdlers who gave up Olympic dreams to play pro football, should be allowed to compete in the Olympics, according to the head of track and field's international governing board.
"If the big money-making tennis stars are allowed to play in the Olympics, there is no reason why Nehemiah and Gault should be banned," said Primo Nebiolo, the Italian president of the International Amateur Athletic Federation.
"John McEnroe, Ivan Lendl and Boris Becker make millions in tennis, their own sport, and they will be allowed to compete in the Olympics. Nehemiah and Gault make money in another sport, professional football, but they are amateurs in track and field. There is no logic in this position."
Proposed rule changes, which would open the way to the Olympic Games for all pros, are to be voted on at an Olympic meeting in October.
Nehemiah plays for the San Francisco 49ers and Gault for the Chicago Bears. Other track stars in the NFL include Ron Brown of the Rams, who won a relay gold medal in the 1984 Olympics, and nose tackle Michael Carter of San Francisco, shotput silver medalist in 1984.