Hurdler Willie Gault, a first-round draft choice of the Chicago Bears, intends to ask the International Amateur Athletics Federation to allow him to compete both in the National Football League and in the 1984 Olympics.
Gault, a wide receiver at Tennessee, said that if permission is not given, he will pass up 1983 football and try to make the Olympic team. Cleveland Browns draftee Ron Brown, a sprinter who played wide receiver at Arizona State, made such a decision last week.
"I would just be sitting out six or eight months out of a lifetime to do something I really want to do. I'd be patriotic and run for my country and hopefully win a medal," Gault said.
Appearing on ABC-TV's "Sportsbeat" yesterday, Gault said he was close to an agreement with the Bears, but would not sign until his amateur status is clarified under IAAF Rule 53, which allows professionals in one sport to compete in another where the same skills aren't in use.
That way, Gault said, he would still be an amateur instead of a professional trying to get his amateur track status reinstated (like Renaldo Nehemiah, turned down by IAAF after joining the San Francisco 49ers).