Eric Heiden, America's golden glider of the Lake Placid Olympics, has given it a good but not quite good enough ride in a bid to make the U.S. Olympic bicycling team -- saying that if he had qualified, he would have defied President Carter's boycott of the Moscow Games.
"I would have gone," said Heiden, runner-up by .17 second in the 1,000 meters at San Diego. The winner of five gold medals for speed skating at the Winter Games missed out on the quarterfinals, in his first major cycling competition, when he finished 12th in the 4,000 meter individual pursuit.
"Sports and politics don't mix," said Heiden.
"If he gets serious about cycling, he could be a potential world champion within a year," said Eddy Borysewicz, coach of the U.S. bike team (two-time national champion of Poland, Borysewicz defected to the West at the Montreal Olympics in 1976) . . .
Armageddon at 147 pounds, alias Sugar Ray Leonard versus Roberto Duran in 1976 gold medalist Leonard's return to Montreal Olympic Stadium, occurs June 20, and Capital Centre will carry it, closed circuit, on Telscreen. Tickets go on sale Friday, 10 a.m.; all seats reserved, $25 in advance, $30 on fight day . . .
Bill Madlock doesn't want to wait until June for a hearing on his appeal of the 15-day suspension and $5,000 fine; the Pittsburgh third baseman pressed for and will get a hearing from Chub Feeney, NL president, in New York today, an off day for the Pirates, Pending appeal of the penalty for pushing his glove into an umpire's face -- "I might as well be tarred and feathered," says Madlock (fined three times in the past for fighting, a league spokesman points out) -- he keeps playing. And Pete Peterson, Pirate general manager, assured him he won't lose any salary, suspended or not -- "I checked with the league office, and I was told it was up to me to decide if the club wanted to pay Madlock. I think the fine is too severe and told that to Feeney" . . .
Baseball fans either are trying to get their fill early, for fear of the threatened May 23 strike, or believe all will turn out okay. Recession be darned, attendance rolling along at an all-time record pace. Even oakland (!)in the act: 24,309 came out, urged along by a Kaiser Aluminum gift night promotion, to see Billy Martin's A's against Cleveland (!) Tuesday night; through 15 dates, A's attendance near 10,000 per, has reached almost half of last year's 306,000 season total. Also starting Friday: All-Star voting. Look sharp . . .
Basketball recruiting: Maryland women, high school all-America Belinda Pearman, 6-2, 24 points, 17 rebounds, South Hagerstown H.S. . . . American U. men, 6-5 1/2 Juan Jones, ex-Mckinley, coming out of Allegany Community College, Cumberland, Md., with three years to play. AU women, Darsi Smith, 5-9, 19 points, 23 rebounds, from Penn Hills H.S., Pittsburgh area . . . Towson State: all-met guard Leo (Bebe McGainey of Potomac H.S. and 6-5 Tom Speicher of Larel's Class AA state champs . . .
House Speaker Tip O'Neill had a news conference in the Capitol yesterday to send off the 10th annual Lombardi Memorial golf and tennis tournament, June 23, Indian Spring. Proceeds toward Georgetown's Vincent T. Lombardi Cancer Research Center . . .
San Diego Clipper coach hunt, continued: Now Gail Goodrich has left owner Irv Levin "very impressed." Next interview: good old Bill Musselman. Levin also slated a meeting with center Bill Walton for his views on a new coach.
Bringing us full cycle to bike racing in the San Diego velodrome, where U.S. Coach Borysewicz watched a scrunched-up, helmeted pedaler in the 1980 opener of Tuesday night racing one day recently. "Who's that big guy?" he asked. "Billy Walton," somebody replied. "Never heard of him," said Borysewicz.
"Bill Walton?!?" exclaimed Irv Levin "shocked." Tut-tut, just part of Walton's rehabilitation program, retorted the basketball-disabled big guy . . .