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Shouldn't the Coaches Be Role Models, Too, for Today's Athletes?

March 01, 1986

Jim Murray's excellent column about athletes and drugs reminded me of an incident from another era. In 1960, I was a young swimmer hoping to represent the U.S. at the Rome Olympics. Six days before the Olympic trials, I underwent an emergency appendectomy in Detroit.

My superior physical condition and the close supervision and encouragement of the doctors and especially my coach, Bob Kiphuth of Yale, enabled me to recover in time to compete in the trials. On the eve of my first race, fearing that the pain during competition probably would slow me down, I asked Kiphuth if I might be allowed to take a painkiller before the race. His quick reply was an unequivocal "No!" and his fierce expression made me ashamed to have even considered such a breach of rules of amateur sports.

Where are the Bob Kiphuths of the '80s? Along with parents and teachers, coaches should establish rules, set the limits and be the role models for today's young athletes. Maybe we should praise coaches and athletes who are winners in values as well as games and races.

JEFF FARRELL

Santa Barbara

Farrell recovered from his surgery in time to make the 1960 U.S. Olympic swim team as a member of the relays. He anchored the 800-meter freestyle and 400-meter medley relay teams to gold medals in world - record times.

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