After Adrian Paulen took away Bob Seagren's pole at Munich, his critics claimed that he would be run out of track and field in a hurry. Paulen visited Washington yesterday in his current role as president of the International Amateur Athletics Federations, governing body of track and field, and gave one sound reason why his organization has opposed open track competition among both professionals and amateurs.
"If we should declare athletics competitions open," the Hollander said, "the International Olympic Committee could say. "Thank you, IAAF, thank you very much, but you can't compete." Without track and field, there could be no Olympic Games.I would hate to take the responsibility for the end of the Olympics."
Paulen said he had "no objection to open sport as long as it is fair sport. But the unfairness that is so prevalent in professional athletics is wrong. The money leads people to do things that are not proper in sport."
Paulen is not unaware of the shameteurism that infests track and field, with under-the-table payments to so-called amateurs.
"I am well aware of the danger that threatens the athletics world, indeed the whole sporting world," Paulen said. "I hate shamism and hypocrisy in our sport. It's always been there, but never on this scale. We are very, very sincere in doing something about it. We are aiming first at the directors and promoters, rather than the atheltes. But in any case, we need proof.
"Regardless, if we officials think we can treat the whole world the same way, we are mistaken. What is an amateur in Great Britian, called Lord Exeter, who can train on his huge lawn, compared to a textile worker in Seoul, Korea, who leaves work at 6 and tries to do a little training?" Our job is impossible, but we try."
Paulen's apperance came to a luncheon sponsored by the West German organizers of the first track and field World Cup Sept. 2-4 in Dusseldorf. Teams representing the United States, the rest of the Americas, Africa, Asia, Oceania, the top two finishers in the European Cup and the remainder of Europe will participate.
As for the possibility of an African boycott similar to that in Montreal, Paulen said, "The walkout in Montreal is an issue in this thing, too. I've been to a meeting in Cairo with the African officials and they have pledged that if there will be one participant in Dusseldorf it will be the African team. I can guarantee you that they are sincere."
Paulen reviewed the Munich episode, in which he refused Seagren permission to use a new pole that was not available to all and Seagren wound up finishing second with an unfamiliar pole.
"The last item in sports is equal chance," Paulsen said. "They introduced the damn thing on the 18th of April 1972 and then said the other countries can't have it. The Congress decided I was right.
"I've got the damn thing at home. He gave it to me. He came up and said, "May I thank you for this fair competition and present this pole as a souvenir." I thanked him and took it."
Paulen has been taking it, always with a wry humor, ever since.