Olympic Rings hang from the Tower Bridge beyond a set...

Olympic Rings hang from the Tower Bridge beyond a set of rings floating on the River Thames in London. The city will host the 2012 London Olympics with opening ceremonies scheduled for Friday, July 27. (July 26, 2012) Credit: AP

I am waiting for the Olympics opening ceremony and the days of exciting competition. However, I will watch with a sense of nostalgia.

I miss the hype created by the amateur athletes who played for the love of the game and the love of their country. Today, most of the participants play for millions of dollars and make fortunes with endorsements.

The U.S. basketball team does not resemble the 1980 "Miracle on Ice" team that stunned the world with its talent and guts against the Soviets. It does not boast of a Bill Bradley who played the sport as a college athlete in 1964.

It's the same with the women's teams: no struggling amateurs there. Most of the swimmers, aside from Missy Franklin, are repeat winners who have been given the financial support of sponsors and endorsements. Their repeated appearances may have ended the dreams of up-and-coming swimmers. The same is true for soccer, volleyball and many of the other sports.

Historically, America has supported the concept that the games were a venue for amateurs only. We remember how Jim Thorpe had to relinquish all of his medals when it was discovered that he had been paid for playing minor league baseball.

The games have changed. The innocence is gone. The winners will advance because they had the funds to train or play full time. While we may feel pride as the flag rises behind our winning athletes, we also must know that like so much else, money is the underlying factor and motive.

Lorraine Mund, Hicksville

The controversy over U.S. Olympic athletes' uniforms being made in China points again to the cause of our recession ["Not made in USA! USA!" Editorial, July 16]. Everything is being made overseas.

Here are the steps I would recommend to change this outrageous scenario. Place a tax on firms for each job outsourced. Second, renegotiate our trade agreements so that we export as much as we import from each country.

Finally, President Barack Obama must use his bully pulpit to start a campaign for Americans to buy American products, even if they cost a bit more. Congress can pass a law requiring all products to state where they were made.

We financed world wars by persuading Americans to buy war bonds. With enough effort, we can be persuaded to buy American.

Irving Gerber, East Meadow


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