The athletes of the winter Olympics have their memories, and Beth Spangenberg and Cheryl Bauer (the one in the hat) have their memories . . . of the athletes themselves.
"It was like a dream come true -- they had the best bodies," said Bauer, 22, dreamily.
And Spangenberg, who is 23, said, "Every second you turned around and fell in love again."
Both women lived for three weeks in Lake Placid as hostesses in the soft-drinks-only disco that was off limits to everyone except residents of the Olympic Village. Each evening in the disco, operated by Washington's Tramps (where Bauer is the DJ), they were two women in a sea of muscular men. Their job: to coax shy (and sometimes not-so-shy) athletes to the dance floor.
After the club closed at 11 each night, both Bauer and Spangenberg were free to date the many men who vied for their attention. The pair bought German, Italian and Spanish dictionaries and quickly learned to how to say "No" in several languages, which led them to award some medals of their own:
In the Casanova competition, the gold went to the Austrian bobsled team. Spangenberg, who normally works as a nurse in intensive care at Georgetown University Hospital, said her one "special friend" came from that team. Bauer said, "They were the craziest guys in the Village -- we called them the disco bobsledders. Very good-looking, self-confident, aggressive. They knew how to move."
In the category of clumsiest Romeos, the French took the gold easily, both women said. "They once tried to drag us into their trailers for a half-cup of champagne," Cheryl said.
For best dancers, gold went to the Germans, who were also the most forward. "Do you want to go home with me tonight?" a West German hockey player asked Bauer moments after he met her.
Gold for most drinking went to the Czechs.
In the shyest athletes' competition, the Chinese and Russians took gold and silver, in that order, perhaps because of the language barrier. Most Europeans could manage some English, but the Communists had to struggle with sign language. While dancing with a Russian athlete, Bauer spoke slowly as she asked him his nationality.
With a broad smile and a beginner's understanding of English, he exclaimed happily, "Skiing!"