To the hotel from which they were stolen last fall, the first two Olympic medals in skiing ever won by an American. Gretchen Fraser, nicknamed "Gretchen of the flying pigtails," earned medals of gold and silver in 1948 at St. Moritz, Switzerland, for winning the slalom and finishing second in the Alpine combination. Filched in October from a display at the Sun Valley Lodge in Idaho, the medals arrived there last week in a package with no return address. Fraser, 72, a Sun Valley resident, reclaimed them, then returned them to the display case. Of her most coveted medal, Fraser once said, "It's lovely, but it's too heavy to wear and it won't make a good ashtray. What can you do with six ounces of pure gold?" The thief must have wondered the same thing.
The original playground legend, Connie Hawkins, by his election to the Basketball Hall of Fame. Banned by the NBA for seven years because of unsubstantiated allegations that he was in cahoots with a gambler while in college, the Hawk was reinstated in '69 after starring for two years in the ABA. He averaged 16.5 points a game over seven NBA seasons. Also enshrined: Piston center Bob Lanier; coaches Lou Carnesecca, Al McGuire, Jack Ramsay and Phil Woolpert; Sergei Belov of Russia, the Hall's first international player; and the first two female players to get in, Delta State's Lusia Harris and AAU sensation Nera White.
By NFL referee Pat Haggerty, his son, Patrick Andrew Haggerty II, as the photogenic suspect accused of robbing three banks in the Denver area. Extraordinarily clear pictures of the culprit, taken from bank surveillance cameras, were printed in Denver newspapers in mid-January, and the robber became known as Hollywood Bandit II (Denver's first Hollywood Bandit was nailed for six robberies in '90). The elder Haggerty was one of several dozen people to notify the FBI of the suspect's identity. Patrick Haggerty II, 31, is in jail pending arraignment.
To coach the decrepit Colts, Ted Marchibroda, who guided the Buffalo Bills' no-huddle offense. Marchibroda, 60, led off a press conference in Indianapolis by saying, "I'm very excited to be named coach of the Baltimore Colts." His confusion is understandable—Marchibroda led the Colts, then in Baltimore, to AFC East titles in '75, '76 and '77—even if his willingness to go back to work for eccentric owner Bob Irsay is not. Marchibroda quit briefly in '76 after Irsay threw a tantrum in the locker room. And in '79, before firing Marchibroda, Irsay was seen at a party with a windup doll that played Taps. "It's for Ted," he giggled.
Mel Hein, 82, the New York Giants center-linebacker who never missed a game; of stomach cancer; on Jan. 31 in San Clemente, Calif. A charter member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Hein played in 172 consecutive games during his 15-year career, from 1931 to '45. "And I never lost a tooth," he said with pride. An All-Pro eight years in a row, Hein was the league's MVP in '38, when he helped the Giants win the NFL title. "He should be barred from football," said Green Bay coach Curly Lambeau. "He's too good."
Pigtailed Fraser struck gold in '48.