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Concern About 'the Dark Side of Sports'

August 23, 1992

The article ("A High Price for Gold," Aug. 9) about the health problems of female athletes indicates that, at last, some attention is being paid to the dark side of sports.

During the Olympics, I looked at the pinched faces of grossly underweight teen-agers who looked as if they were 9 or 10 years old and wondered if anyone--their parents, their coaches, the team physicians, anyone --cared what was happening to them.

The kind of punishment that gymnasts, in particular, subject their bodies to cannot fail to cause permanent damage.

Now, apparently, there is medical evidence that such training causes amenorrhea, osteoporosis and eating disorders. And if that were not enough, think of the mental stress which these girls undergo from a very young age, while giving up normal activities of childhood to spend up to eight hours daily in the gym. Let's call it what it is: Child abuse.

NORMA LE DOUX

Ontario

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