Washington is accustomed to celebrities coming to Capitol Hill to testify before various committees. They come to town to get publicity for their favorite causes, and the media dutifully record their presence. Tomorrow, sports celebrities will not only be appearing -- they will be performing before Rep. Frank Annunzio's Banking Committee hearings on legislation to mint Olympic coins for the 1988 Olympic Games.

A group of Olympic gymnasts, headed by 1984 gold medal winner Bart Connor, will perform gymnastic routines and then testify in support of the legislation in Room 2128 of the Rayburn Building at 10 a.m. Connor will perform on the pommel horse and parallel bars; another 1984 gold medal winner, Scott Johnson, will also appear. And Olympic hopeful Joyce Wilbourn will perform on the balance beam. And we thought the Iran-contra hearings were fun.

Out and About

Alan Held, 27, and David Pittsinger, 25, two members of the Wolf Trap Opera Company, are big men with booming voices. On Friday they were rehearsing a duet from Verdi's "Luisa Miller" in the Barns of Wolf Trap. At an especially powerful moment in the music there was the loud noise of something breaking. After an investigation, a sliding glass door was found to have shattered into a stunning mosaic. And Ella Fitzgerald was nowhere nearby doing a Memorex commercial ...

New York Times columnist James (Scotty) Reston yesterday announced his retirement after 48 years with the newspaper. After writing two to three columns a week on the op-ed page, he said he would now write when he felt like it. He plans to spend more time on Martha's Vineyard "before they hang out the standing-room-only signs" and added, "If I'm lucky, I'm going to write a long love letter to America" ...

Bratty actor Sean Penn has begun serving his 60-day jail sentence for punching an extra, but it is a jail sentence California celebrity style. The 26-year-old husband of rock star Madonna is conveniently paying $80 a day to stay at the jail of his choice -- a 24-bed dormitory-style facility in Bridgeport, Calif., in the mountains near the Nevada border. Although Sgt. Terry Padilla of the Mono County Jail points out that "we don't have any rooms with a view" and that Penn "wears the same jail clothing, eats the same food and has the same privileges as our other prisoners," the actor has managed to get himself far away from the truly tough men from L.A. who could really give him a seminar in bad manners. After just five days in jail, Penn is expected to travel to West Germany to resume filming a movie. He will then return to complete his sentence, which could be cut to 32 days if he behaves himself. There are denials that Penn is receiving special treatment after twice violating a probation order stemming from a previous battery conviction. But even bad-mannered celebrities with money are not treated harshly by the legal system, especially in Los Angeles ...

Hospital report: Oscar-winning director John Huston is recovering from pneumonia complicated by acute emphysema, but a spokesman at Charlton Memorial Hospital in Fall River, Mass., said his convalescence is expected to take several weeks. Huston, who celebrates his 81st birthday Wednesday, was to begin shooting in the starring role of an adaptation of Thornton Wilder's comedy "Theophilus North," set in jazz-age Newport, R.I. His longtime friend, actor Robert Mitchum, will now star in the film, which will still carry Huston's name as coauthor and executive producer ...

Country singer George Jones, who has the look of a man who has lived and played hard, is in University Hospital in Birmingham, with a collection of problems including bronchitis, stomach pains, exhaustion and an inflamed prostate gland. The 55-year-old Jones has had to cancel some of his concert schedule. His wife Nancy says she isn't going to let him work hard again and expects his recovery soon, adding, "All he needs is some good old beans, fried okra and corn bread and then he'll be all right." If he can eat that and be all right, he's in better health than anyone ever guessed ...

There are more old nude photographs of pop singer Madonna. Nine color shots of the now-famous singer are in the September issue of Penthouse magazine ... In the same issue of the magazine, columnist Tom Braden has some harsh things to say about Patrick Buchanan, his longtime partner on radio and television. Of the choleric Buchanan, a former White House communications director, Braden writes: "I wouldn't be surprised if he plays with the facts. I can't expect him to be scrupulous. It doesn't matter to Pat whether the facts are exactly right as long as they sound good. I put him in the same category as Westbrook Pegler and Joe McCarthy, although they were taken more seriously." And there's much more, including Braden on the subject of Buchanan's loathing of homosexuals and feelings about blacks ...

An Iran-contra hearings joke making the rounds: "Knock, knock." "Who's there?" "I can't recollect" ...