Day Three of Olympic Village, D.C.
"You all count to 10," challenged Harvey Glance, America's 5-foot-7, 100-meter relay man, practicing a mock schoolyard dunk Monday on the over-hanging roof of Hogate's seafood restaurant.
"I'll come down on 10," he announced to some of the other athletes leaving dinner, sounding as if he owned the 100-meter record for leaping straight up.
"Hey, Harvey, there's a Volkswagen in the parking lot," one of them called out, urgin Glance to try an Evel Knievel leap over it.
"Now you're talking," beamed Glance, moving in that direction before opting to hop onto the steps of an Olympic team bus instead.
America's summer Olympic athletes, loosening up thanks to those magnetic, camp-like, third-day friendships, continued their round of Washington activities Monday and yesterday with a few hours of pageantry at the Marine Corps barracks, more partying at the Marriott Twin Bridges Hotel, and individual programs yesterday afternoon with locals in their sports.
On the bus to the Marine barracks, Darrell Pace, two-time world champ in archery and winner of the Olympic gold in 1976, compared sports with Bart Conner, No. 1 in the men's gymnastics final this year. Pace, wearing a red-and-white checked shirt from the Pan-American Games -- he won that, too -- and a Mexican medallion with arrows through it, explained how a top pro archer can make "maybe $5,000 a year." Conner talked about the need to adjust his goals in order to keep training well. While both regret not going to Moscow, each admitted that the Olympics mattered less to them than to some others, Pace because he considers his only competition to be in the United States and Conner because he'll be competing in six or seven international meets soon where he can test himself against rivals now in Moscow. They were looking forward to some Olympian feats of rifle-tossing by the Marine Silent Drill Team.
As the athletes filed into the wooden stands for the show, "Superheavy-weight" wrestler Tom Stock trailed behind 7-foot-1 Sam Bowie of the basketball team. "Hey Stock, stand up!" came a voice from the upper rows. These Olympians were shooting for laughs. The Corps fed them lines.
"We all know that Olympians aim at a perfect score," one of the Marine Corps greeters said to scattered giggles. More commentary from the stands accompanied some of the drilling. "Looks like 10 guys taking the sobriety test," remarked one bent-over judo man as some officers marched past. "Like a Russian fencer," cracker another as the drill team whirled bayonets past the faces of motionless fellow Marines.
Pretty soon though, the accumulated patriotic marches and snappy drilling were evoking comments like "Damn!" "All right!" and "Bad!" as a combination of patriotism and appreciation for top-notch performance shaved away some of the sass. After the performance, the team captains came onto the field to shake hands with the Marines. Some petted the black bearskin cap of the assistant drum major. Many signed autographs.
Mingling on the lawn, U.S. Olympic Committee president Bob Kane engaged in some serious business. He was worried that a planned statement by the athletes later this week would estrange the "30 or 40 percent" of the American people who may vote for Carter. "It could be said another way without taking a slap at the present administration," he told Robert Nieman of the modern pentathlon team. "If only for our own selfish interests," he said softly to Nieman.
Back at the Marriott Hotel, partying once again centered in Gambits, the hotel's lounge, rather than the third-floor Chesapeake Room offering only Sprite and Coke, "I wanna wake up in a city that doesn't sleep," crooned Sinatra over the speakers, "and find that I'm king of the hill, top of the heap." Others with the same attitude packed the backgammon tables, bar and tables.
"Had we been at the Olympics," admitted Bruce Thompson, a Greco-Roman wrestler who remembers Olympic Village in Montreal, "each group would be so intense that there wouldn't be this kind of socializing until later." But just as Olympains differ about the boycott, they differ in their recollections of past Olympics. "It's not uncommon at all," countered Doug Brown, a steeplechaser who's been at the last two Olympics. "You can very often see the athletes out carousing before their events."
Brown emphasized that the week has "molded together" the different team captains more than ever before because of the unusual amount of time they've spent talking. Both wanted to make clear they appreciated the efforts of the committee and local organizers to cheer them up. "It's nice that they've done as much as they have," said Thompson.
Yesterday afternoon the teams split up, heading for different sites to accommodate their fans. Out at the Oakcrest Gym in Prince George's County, or Sugar Ray's gym as many now think of it, the boxing team delighted a roomful of youngsters just by shaking hands and playing a pickup game of hoops. Standing amid the motionless Everlast punching bags, Dick Pettigrew, assitant coach of the boxing team, declined to characterize the visit as a clinic, saying that to come onto the home territory of Lenoard's trainer Dave Jacobs with that intent would be way out of place.
The boxers themselves jumped at the chance for a pickup game. "This is the first time I've broken a sweat," said heavyweight Willie Broad, whose goal now is to beat Cuban heavyweight Teofilo Stevenson of Cuba, the last Olympic gold medalist, a few months from now in Cuba. Pettigrew says there's no "bitterness" among the boxers. On top of not going to Moscow, they've also had to deal with the deaths of many of their boxing colleagues in a plane crash in Poland this spring. Featherweight Bernard Taylor, who's now put the possibility of a gold metal behind him and the world championship in front, expressed his feeling simply: "There's a lot of sacrifice in boxing. We accept this as another one."
A few hours later, all the Olympians and their guests, who arrived yesterday, were reunited out at Smokey Glen Farm in Gaithersburg.
Levi-Strauss, which has been distributing Olympic gear to the athletes all week, hosted the party on the 65-acre farm. After receiving a flag-waving welcome from townpeople as they arrived, close to 1,000 guests feasted on barbecued beef ribs and chicken under two large tents.
Volleyball, basketball and Olympic Frisbee occupied many of the athletes, but a determined bunch concentrated on two mechanical bulls. Decathlon man Fred Dixon (thrown) and free-style wrestler Lee Kemp (tall in the saddle) both took a keen interest in the fast-growing sport popularized by "Urban Cowboy." With the 1984 Olympics to be held so close to Hollywood, they may have been hedging their bets.