When we look back on the Atlanta Olympics, we'll remember the
dramatic gold medal triumph of the U.S. women's soccer team
(above) more vividly than the bronze medal performance of the
U.S. men's baseball team, and the smiling teamwork of the
kinder, gentler women's Dream Team more than the guns-out
assault of the NBA All-Stars. Michael Johnson's blazing golden
slippers will prove more memorable than Lisa Fernandez's blazing
fastball or Amy Van Dyken's four swimming victories, but we'll
recall Jackie Joyner-Kersee's gutsy bronze medal long jump with
nearly as much awe as Carl Lewis's leap into immortality.
American women worked together, winning all three swimming
relays, both track relays and team golds in gymnastics and
synchronized swimming. American women worked alone--the
pain-racked visage of Kerri Strug will be an enduring Atlanta
image. Call the Games of the XXVI Olympiad, from a U.S.
perspective, the Gender Equity Olympics.
A PROUD NATION
Iranian freestyle wrestler Rasul Khadem's defeat of Makharbek
Khadartsev of Russia in the 198-pound gold medal match elicited
the following comments from Iran's president, Hashemi
Rafsanjani: "I congratulate your excellence and our nation for
rubbing the nose of America in the dirt. The flag of the Islamic
Republic of Iran was raised in the house of Satan through the
resolve of a pious youth, despite all the mischief by the
Americans to prevent this historic event."
It's nice to see the Games haven't been politicized.
PLAYING A ROUND
We recently took note (SCORECARD, July 29) of the
vodka-spouting-nude-woman-ice-sculpture brouhaha at the Lakewood
Country Club in Rockville, Md. But some male golfers in the
Washington, D.C., area are still in need of a few sessions on
the sexual-sensitivity range. A charity tournament at the
Ridgeview Country Club in Centreville, Va., last week featured
topless female caddies and the auctioning of young women to
accompany male golfers in their carts.
The tournament, organized by Bill Bayne, the owner of a topless
club in nearby Arlington, was held as a benefit for the American
Heart Association, which denied any knowledge of the nature of
the event. Bayne defended it. "Guys like to be around a pretty
woman, riding with them," he told the Washington Post. "They've
got nude tournaments all over the country." And if "they" ever
hold a major, chances are it will be in suburban Washington.
TRADE FOR ROGER MCDOWELL
Bullpens have traditionally been a prankster's paradise, a place
for hot foots, phony phone calls and bantering with the crowd.
Not so in the case of the Colorado Rockies, says Colorado
outfielder Larry Walker, who spent a few games hanging out with
the Rockies' pitchers after going on the disabled list. "These
guys need to put cots down there," he says. "They flick
sunflower seeds to keep themselves excited. You sit in a chair
and stare straight ahead like a mannequin. You feel like a kid
Guess a league-worst 5.63 ERA has its side effects.
MODEL CITIZEN UNDER SCRUTINY
Joe Smith was a man as down-to-earth as his moniker--kind,
humble, devoted to family. But basketball fans now have
questions about Smith, whose clean-cut image has been sullied by
the events in a Chesapeake, Va., bar on July 26. A brawl at
Ridley's Restaurant and Lounge that night led to the Golden
State Warriors forward being charged with malicious wounding,
punishable by five to 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of
$100,000. He faces a preliminary hearing on Sept. 16.
Smith and about 10 friends went to Ridley's to celebrate Smith's
21st birthday. Witnesses say that the group was loud and unruly
and demanded that male dancers, who were performing a show,
vacate the stage so the Smith party could take over the dance
floor. Dancers David Turner and Carlton Coney say that the group
shouted obscenities at them and hurled a beer bottle and an
ashtray onstage. Turner says that when he and Coney attempted to
talk to Smith, Smith's friends attacked them. While several of
the friends held him, Turner says, some of the others began
pummeling Coney. Then, Turner says, he saw the assailants hold
Coney over a railing while the 6'10" Smith smashed a beer bottle
over the back of Coney's head. Coney was cut below the neck and
suffered a gash that required 22 stitches. Both dancers say
Smith then ran out of the club.
Another dancer, Nelson G. Frias, says, "There is no doubt in my
mind" that it was Smith who hit Coney. "[Smith] was the only
tall person with a hat on." Two patrons at the bar interviewed
by The Virginian-Pilot supported the dancers' account that
Smith's group was unruly. One said she saw Coney get hit but
couldn't confirm that Smith was the person who struck him.
Smith was unavailable for comment. One member of the party at
the bar, a 28-year-old schoolteacher named Kenny Brown, says
that the dancers "provoked" the fight. And some who were not in
the bar have sprung to Smith's defense, based on his unblemished
past. Golden State general manager Dave Twardzik, who signed
Smith to a three-year, $8.53 million contract last year, says,
"You look at his past, and he's never been in any kind of
trouble." And nobody stands behind Smith more resolutely than
the person who says she knows him best. "Joe did not do that,"
says his mother, Letha, who lived with her son in the Bay Area
during his rookie year. "He's not that type of person." The
basketball world waits to see if there is--and hopes there
isn't--a new Joe Smith.
COLOR PHOTO: DAVID E. KLUTHO [Two members of U.S. women's Olympic soccer team holding American flag]
COLOR ILLUSTRATION [Campaign button reading "Clinton Gore '96]
COLOR PHOTO: ROBERT BECK [Belt]
COLOR PHOTO: TONY HUTCHINGS/TONY STONE IMAGES [Thumbtacks]
COLOR PHOTO: BECK [Jar of Vaseline]
COLOR PHOTO: CHRIS ROGERS/THE STOCK MARKET [Drill]
COLOR PHOTO: JIM GUND Smith's image has been tarnished by his alleged brawling. [Joe Smith]
Combined height of Dennis Rodman (6'8") and Olympic
weightlifting champ Naim Suleymanoglu (4'11"), prospective
co-stars of Jean-Claude Van Damme's next action film.
Difference, in career home runs and total pounds, between new
New York Yankee Cecil Fielder (278 homers, 265 pounds) and Tony
Clark, his successor as Detroit Tigers first baseman.
Months since 40-year-old boxer Sugar Ray Leonard, who is
weighing a comeback against Hector (Macho) Camacho, last fought.
Dollars former Boston Red Sox manager Butch Hobson admitted
sending to a Birmingham man to purchase cocaine, according to a
state court document.
Games, on average, that coach Clinton Gore's Osceola (Ark.) High
football team has won each season since the 1992 election.
Forget the five-tool ballplayer--one tool is enough, especially
for a pitcher. A look at some common big league hardware.
A sharpened belt buckle is ideal for gouging a ball and making
Prefer to go beltless? A tack, tucked beneath a Band-Aid, does
Ah, the time-honored greaseball. Lube it up, and let it fly.
A hitter's boring revenge: Drill out a bat and stuff it with
cork to make it lighter.
THIS WEEK'S SIGN THAT THE APOCALYPSE IS UPON US
California computer engineers have invented a golf club
containing an explosive charge that enables duffers to hit the
ball 200 yards when they pull a trigger in the handle instead of
THEY SAID IT
The Baltimore Orioles first baseman, on the failure of his team
to make any deals before the trading deadline: "We tried to get
the Phillie Phanatic for Luis Polonia, but the Phillies wouldn't