updated 08/05/1996 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/05/1996 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Our coverage of Margaux Hemingway's death (PEOPLE, July 15) drew both sympathetic and impatient reactions. Several readers reported how much they had appreciated Hemingway's honesty about her problems during her lifetime; others questioned whether she was worth our attention. Concerning Olympic matters, correspondents ripped NBC for denying Greg Louganis a role as a commentator at this year's games.

On Feb. 1, 1988, I was 28, unemployable and thought my life was over. I was thinking I was crazy and that institutionalization or death would not be so bad. Then my father gave me the new issue of PEOPLE. Inside was an article about Margaux Hemingway in which she discussed her alcoholism. In her description I saw myself and found hope. I have been clean and sober ever since. I am a happy, healthy and productive citizen. I hope Margaux's last days were not sad, for it was she who saved my life.

Sadly this validates my theory that given a lack of purpose, nearly everyone with enough time, money and opportunity will eventually self-destruct.

So another shallow, coked-out, clapped-out celebrity makes an early exit. Is this really worthy of our sympathy? Your article was a waste of paper, ink and space.
V.A. CARNEY, Stoive, Vt.

As a researcher and aficionado of the Hemingways, I can't tell you how much I appreciate the sensitive nature of your report on Margaux's troubled past. We all know she came from a background plagued with problems. Instead of ridiculing and placing blame, you showed what an attractive, bright and phenomenal person she was.

I was a pudgy, awkward child when Olga Korbut was performing her magic on the balance beam in 1972. I was mesmerized. She immediately became my idol. I took up gymnastics, lost 35 pounds and became one of the happiest adolescents you would ever meet. Although I never reached her level of competition, gymnastics instilled in me a sense of confidence, grace and determination which I have carried with me ever since. Olga, thank you!
MARY MULLANEY, Quincy, Mass.

A few weeks ago, you headlined the problems associated with the eating disorders of young women in pursuit of a look. Now you have highlighted the similar dietary regimen of 14-year-old gymnast Dominique Moceanu, who in her pursuit of an Olympic gold medal maintains a daily intake of just 1,300 calories. You also reported that she recently suffered a stress fracture. The scientific evidence linking such injuries with inadequate diet is quite convincing, yet you never raised the obvious question: Is malnourishment in a teenage girl more justified in the pursuit of medals than in attaining the look of models?
Manlius, N.Y.

While I enjoyed your Olympic Heroes piece, I also was sadly disappointed. Ever hear of Mark Spitz? How could you leave him out?

I was appalled to read that NBC had decided not to use Greg Louganis as a diving commentator. I happen to be a heterosexual married woman who simply wants to watch the diving, accompanied by commentary, by one of our country's bravest and most talented gold medalists. It is too bad that the small minds at NBC decided to let homophobia rule the day.

If the greatest diver in Olympic history is not good enough to be a diving commentator for NBC's Olympic coverage in Atlanta, then I'm not good enough to watch its coverage or patronize its sponsors. I'll find what I want to know from another source.
Santa Cruz, N.Mex.

Thank you for the article about Meggin Hollister and her research on schizophrenia. For years families like mine, unfortunate enough to be struck with this disease, were so fearful of the stigma attached to it, we had a hard time discussing it even with friends. Now there is a pathway of study and a first glimmer of hope for anyone with a family member suffering from this devastating illness.

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