The political disturbances in South Korea, where increasingly widespread street demonstrations against the government moved Prime Minister Lee Han Key to state last week that the country was plunging toward "social chaos," are becoming more and more troubling to all those with a stake in the 1988 Olympics, scheduled for Seoul. Lee warned that "extraordinary measures" were inevitable if the unrest continued, which brings to memory the ugly scene in Mexico City just before the 1968 Games, when government soldiers fired on demonstrating students and killed scores of them. Those Olympics went on relatively calmly, but at a painful price.
There are reports that both West Berlin and Los Angeles are willing to serve as backup sites for the '88 Games. It might be a good idea for the IOC to have such a site on call.
BEARS DOWN CELTICS
Boston Celtics stock, which went on the market last December for $18.50 per share, settled in at around 18‚Äö√Ñ√∂‚àö√±‚àö‚à´, but the day after the Celtics lost the final game of the NBA championship series to the Lakers, the stock plunged more than 5 points, to 13‚Äö√Ñ√∂‚àö√±‚àö¬µ a drop of about 33%. Joseph DiLorenzo, the Celtics' vice-president for finance, said there was no relation between the trading price and the Celtics' performance but added, "There should have been, because we played more games, which meant more money."
A spokesman for the investment firm of Smith Barney, who insisted on anonymity (after all, the man lives in Boston), told The Boston Globe that the stock was probably overpriced when it was introduced.
Nobody begrudges hardworking college sports officials pleasant settings for their meetings, but as Kenny Hand, a columnist for the Houston Chronicle, points out, many of them scheduled official get-togethers this year in curious—though very pleasant—spots. For example:
•Lacrosse—Monterey, Calif., some 3,000 miles from the East Coast, the heartland of the sport.
•Ice hockey—San Diego, although California has no NCAA college hockey teams.
•Men's and women's skiing—Amelia Island, Fla., that hotbed of Alpine and Nordic activity.
In addition, wrestling has been discussed in Marco Island, Fla., and women's gymnastics and Division III men's basketball were reviewed, respectively, on Cape Cod and in South Lake Tahoe, Nev. Hand also notes that the Southwest Conference, eight of whose nine schools are in economically depressed Texas, held its spring meeting at the Inn of the Mountain Gods near Ruidoso, N.Mex.
Britain's notorious train robber Ronnie Biggs, who has been living in Rio de Janeiro to avoid extradition, almost appeared in England recently—in a print advertisement for New Balance running shoes. The ad, which was to have been in the official program for England's soccer match against Brazil in London's Wembley Stadium, featured Biggs in a Brazilian soccer uniform and New Balance shoes, along with the message A STEAL AT ANY PRICE. "We thought the advert was a bit of a laugh," said Bob Runham, the adman who came up with the campaign. The humor, however, escaped Scotland Yard's retired detective chief superintendent Jack Slipper, who had tracked Biggs for years after the $7.3 million train robbery in 1963. "It should be banned," said Slipper. Indeed, in the interests of good taste, it was.
Within 10 days of each other, under the influence of a June moon, two Frenchmen—one on a sailboard and one in a rowboat—set out from the East Coast to cross 3,300 miles of Atlantic Ocean alone. Boardsailor Stephane Peyron, 26, is attempting the first solo transatlantic crossing on a sailboard. His 24'6" Crunch weighs 1,100 pounds and is hollow, with plenty of space belowdecks, including a full-length berth to sleep in. Last year Peyron warmed up for this challenge by sailing 2,400 miles from West Africa to the West Indies with a friend on a twin-sailed board. Now, alone, Peyron hopes to cover 75 miles a day and make the voyage in 45 days.
Rower Guy Lemonnier, 28, prepared for his effort—which is unrelated to Peyron's—by setting a record rowing across the English Channel. His sleek, 21-foot craft, called Jacquet Enterprise has a small cabin and is considered unsinkable. Lemonnier hopes to row to Cherbourg in 60 days, which would beat the existing record of 72 days, 23 hours.
Lemonnier has a computerized navigational system aboard, but no one is sure if he knows how to use it. Peyron is worried about illness and injury. And killer whales. Storms and sharks, however, do not concern him. During last year's tandem crossing, sharks sometimes nudged against his board, but when they got too bothersome, he fended them off by poking a knife at their snouts. Merchant ships could also be a problem for the sail-boarder, especially when he is sleeping, but Peyron figures the bow waves such ships create would push his little board aside before actual contact.
Bonne chance, mes amis.
Sherri Steinhauer, a 24-year-old pro on the LPGA tour, drove into the rough on the 6th hole of the first round of the McDonald's Championship at the Du Pont Country Club in Wilmington, Del. Suddenly, like a cranky neighbor, a fox darted out of the nearby woods, picked the ball up with its teeth, ran a few yards and dropped it into a bunker on the 7th hole. Somewhat stunned, Steinhauer asked for a ruling. With the wisdom of Solomon an LPGA official declared, "The fox is an outside agency, and since the ball was damaged. Sherri is allowed to replace it and then drop it in the rough on the 6th hole without penalty."
Fair enough, but the question arises: What if the fox had scampered over to the 6th green and dropped the ball into the cup?
BETWEEN WYSONG AND YAIK
Joe Xavier, a second baseman in the Oakland Athletics' farm system, has been hitting around .300 for Class AA Huntsville and has been among the Southern League leaders in doubles, triples and runs scored. We're rooting for Xavier—who is, incidentally, the nephew of Atlanta Braves general manager Bobby Cox—to make the majors. If he does, he will become the only player in the long and illustrious history of major league baseball whose last name begins with X.
A TEENY-WEENY FOOTBALL GAME
Watching the first official arena football game last Friday night, between the Pittsburgh Gladiators and the Washington Commandos, was like taking a trip to Lilliput. Or the bargain basement of a department store. Everything was reduced. The field was half the size of a standard field, kickoffs were from the goal line, and goalposts were half as wide (though the crossbar was higher). There were only eight men on a side, and a miniature blimp, with HARDEE'S on it, hovered three feet off the field. "That's our Goodyear blimp," said Jim Foster, who created Arena Football.
Most of the 12,117 fans who showed up at Pittsburgh's Civic Arena for the Gladiators' 48-46 victory over Washington (the other members of the four-team professional league, the Denver Dynamite and the Chicago Bruisers, met the next night in Chicago, where Denver won 52-44) said they liked the game, although they were skeptical about the league's chances for success. Who wants to sit indoors on a summer night? But Foster says surveys show that football fans will watch their favorite sport in summer, even indoors, and he hopes to average 6,000 to 7,000 a game during this six-week preview season.
Pittsburgh scored its winning touchdown after missing a field goal. Under AF rules, the ball remained in play after rebounding off the high wire fence behind the end zone, and a Gladiator pounced on it for the winning score. ESPN broadcaster Beano Cook later shook his head and said he wouldn't be surprised if Arena Football succeeded. "After that kid landed a plane in Red Square," Beano said, "anything can happen."
Arena Football's indoor field, only 50 yards long, has narrow, fenced-in goalposts.
THEY SAID IT
•Henry King Stanford, president, University of Georgia, on embarrassing his wife by yelling, "How 'bout them Dawgs!" from his car to a pedestrian: "I thought about changing it to 'Ponder those canines,' but it didn't seem to be in the spirit."
•Bob Hope, on the exclusivity of the Cypress Point golf club on Monterey peninsula: "Cypress had a very successful membership drive last month. They drove out 40 members."
•Rocky Bridges, recalling a road trip to Reno when he was managing San Jose: "I lost the bus and two outfielders, but I won a shortstop and a bat."