When Sebastian Coe, the 1,500-meter gold medalist in both the 1980 and 1984 Olympics, failed to qualify two weeks ago for the team that Great Britain is sending to Seoul, there was an outpouring of sentiment on behalf of the champion. "It was a bit like requiring Mozart to run through the scales for the entertainment committee of the working men's club," wrote one British journalist. But the 31-year-old Coe reacted with his usual grace, saying, "The [selection] has been made, and I abide by it just as the other athletes have done."
Last week the president of the International Olympic Committee, Juan Antonio Samaranch, got into the act by writing the British Amateur Athletic Board to ask that it reconsider the decision to leave Coe off the team. Samaranch, who knows Coe well from their work on Olympic matters of mutual concern, told one London newspaper, "I know that many British people, as well as others from other countries, want to see him run in Seoul, so I decided to write and ask that the question be considered again."
Coe said he was honored by the efforts of Samaranch. But Tony Ward, a spokesman for the board, said, "A letter has been sent to the president politely, but firmly, rejecting his suggestion." Ward also said, "We have replied that our selection policy is complete and we are quite satisfied with it. We find it quite extraordinary that the IOC president should write concerning our selection policy."
Extraordinary and misguided. The president may have had noble motives for making his request, but as the leader of the Olympic movement, he must maintain an impartial and objective stance. Samaranch made much the same mistake last February when he criticized the U.S. Olympic hockey program. Whether or not Coe makes Britain's Olympic team is really none of his business.
HE EATS LIKE A PERSON
One of the entrants in Saturday's International Trot at Yonkers Raceway has rather unusual eating habits. Go Get Lost, a 4-year-old horse who finished third in the race, loves chocolate cupcakes, specifically the kind made by Hostess. He has tried Twinkies, but prefers the cupcakes. "He likes to bite the top icing off." trainer Art Wirsching told SI's Amy Lennard. "Horses don't usually like anything gooey because they're chewers, but he seems to love it. He also likes bananas." After Go Get Lost won a recent race at Yonkers, he was presented with a large silver cup filled with the chocolate cupcakes. "We can't give them to him all the time because of his digestive system." says Wirsching. "He would eat them three times a day if we didn't use discretion."
Go Get Lost also has a slightly more disconcerting trait. "When he wants attention, he sticks his tongue out the side of his mouth, hangs it way out." says Wirsching. "He wants you to pull it, like shaking hands. If you don't pay attention, out comes that tongue."
Because of his strange food preference, Go Get Lost reminds some of Jamin, the French trotter who won the very first International back in 1959. Jamin was so partial to his favorite food, artichokes, that when U.S. Customs officials confiscated the artichokes that had crossed the Atlantic along with the horse, Jamin fell into a funk and trained listlessly. An emergency airlift of artichokes from California was arranged, and thus fortified, Jamin won the race.
OVER THE BORDER
The Canadian Press news agency polled members of the California delegation at the Republican National Convention last week in New Orleans. Though its methods were not exactly scientific—only 20 of the state's 175 delegates were canvassed—the poll did yield some interesting results. Only six of the 20 Californians knew that Canada was upset with President Ronald Reagan's foot-dragging on the problem of acid rain. Only seven had any knowledge of the recent free trade agreement signed by President Reagan and Canada's Prime Minister. Brian Mulroney. When asked, however, the name of the newest member of the Los Angeles Kings, all of them knew it was Wayne Gretzky.
TOUGH NUT TO CRACK
Peer pressure forced pitcher Jack Morris to remove the Tchaikovsky tape he was playing in the Detroit Tigers' clubhouse the other day. So Morris decided to get even and had the highbrow music played over the Tiger Stadium P.A. system during batting practice. Asked what particular Tchaikovsky piece was wafting through the late afternoon air, Morris replied, "Uh, I think that's from his greatest hits album."
NO BEAUTY CONTEST
One would not expect the Canadian Football League to be an ardent proponent of feminism, but this year the CFL will take a revolutionary approach to the traditional beauty pageant. Since 1951 the league has sponsored a Miss Grey Cup Pageant as part of the celebration surrounding its championship game. All contestants had to be pretty, single and between the ages of 18 and 24. "The girls who did the best were the girls who could dance the best," says Jo-Anne Polak, a pageant organizer. "A lot of them didn't have any knowledge of football or the CFL."
For this November's contest, in Ottawa, the CFL will consider women 18 and over regardless of their marital status. Contestants will appear in dresses or business suits, not cheerleaders' costumes or swimsuits, and each will have to deliver a five-minute speech telling what her CFL team means to her community. Even the current Miss Ottawa Rough Rider, Cindy Van Buskirk, 24, likes the change. "I think it's long overdue," says Van Buskirk. "The contest has had more to do with beauty than [with] speaking or brains or knowledge."
A COURSE IN LATIN
The Taconic Golf Club in Williams-town, Mass., has a picturesque and challenging layout, but what really distinguishes the course is the message printed on every scorecard: Medio Tutissimus Ibis.
Back in the 1930s Harry L. Agard, a mathematics professor at nearby Williams College, was asked to provide a suitable motto for the club. He turned to Ovid's Metamorphoses and the story of the flight of Pha‚Äö√†√∂¬¨¬•thon. Before Pha‚Äö√†√∂¬¨¬•thon took off across the sky in his chariot, his father, Helios, told him to drive neither too close to the sun nor too close to the earth. Said Helios, "Medio tutissimus ibis," or, "You will go most safely in the middle."
At 6'9", 341 pounds, Missouri sophomore Rob Dryden could have been the biggest football player in the Big Eight this year. Instead, he will settle for being, in all likelihood, the world's biggest bass player. It seems that Dryden, nicknamed Eclipse for his ability to block out more than just opponents, prefers playing electric bass for his band, Da' Tripp, to playing left guard for the Tigers. He had been expected to start this year.
Dryden, who comes from a musical family, says, "Football has never really been something I wanted to pursue. Those aren't my dreams and aspirations. Those are everybody else's." Missouri head coach Woody Widenhofer could only shrug and say, "I've lost players because they've been ineligible, because they didn't want to play anymore, because of girlfriends or wives. But this would be a first. A band?"
JUST A REMINDER
St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Joe Magrane wears a T-shirt that bears this inscription: THROW STRIKES...BABE RUTH IS DEAD.
A FRIDGE WITH AN EVEN BIGGER CAPACITY
While William (refrigerator) Perry, the 6'2", 350-pound defensive lineman, rejoined the Chicago Bears last week after a four-week stay at a diet clinic, St. Clair County (Ala.) High's 5'11", 500-pound senior defensive tackle Jeremy Lowery was busy preparing for his season opener this Friday. Folks in Alabama claim that Lowery, whose uniform pants are actually three regular pairs sewn together, is the biggest football player in the country.
Jeremy always wanted to play football, but until this year his blood pressure was too high. Like the Fridge, Lowery is on a fitness program, this one prescribed by the Sports Medicine Institute at the University of Alabama, Birmingham. He has lost 13 pounds in the last few weeks by walking a mile a day, switching to diet sodas and cutting his nightly intake of cheeseburgers from three to two. Says Lowery's coach, Jerry Forrest, "Jeremy gets around faster than any 500-pounder I've ever seen."
Lowery's teammates have been knocking themselves out trying to find a suitable nickname for him. Usually they just end up calling him Big Fridge.
THEY SAID IT
•Charlie Waters, former Dallas Cowboy defensive back, on the aspirations of pro football players: "First you want to make the team. Then you want to be All-Pro. Then you want to be in the Hall of Fame. But before that you want to be in a Lite beer commercial."
•Jim Ferree, a player on the PGA Seniors tour, on golfers who complain about the Old Course in St. Andrews, Scotland: "They are the same people who knock the pyramids because they don't have elevators."