Almost lost in the drug-related scandals that rocked the 1983 Pan American Games the past two weeks was the fact that all 13 members of the U.S team who either live or attended school in the Washington, D.C., area and competed here went home with medals.
Leading the way was Ruth Rowe of Gaithersburg, who captured two golds, as the individual archery champion and as a member of the U.S. women's team titlists.
Benita Fitzgerald of Dale City took the gold in the women's 110-meter hurdles, Polly Winde of Ellicott City earned silver in the 400-meter individual medley and another swimmer, Susan Rapp of Alexandria's Edison High School, a silver in the 200-meter breaststroke and a bronze in the 200 individual medley.
A fifth woman medalist was Andrea Godin, the athletic trainer at George Mason University, who was second in the 114.5-pound division as women's sambo wrestling made its Pan Am debut.
Two multiple medalists among the men were table tennis stars Brian Masters of Columbia and Sean O'Neill of Vienna. They teamed to win a bronze in men's doubles, but each also collected a gold--Masters as the singles champion and O'Neill as unbeatable quadruple gold medalist Insook Bhushan's mixed doubles partner.
Jim Martin, a D.C. fireman who lives in Alexandria, was the winner in 180.5-pound sombo wrestling.
Dan Lyons, Naval Academy '81, and Paul Jacobson of Hamilton, Va., were members of the championship eight-oared crew.
Earning silver medals were recent Naval Academy graduate Leo Williams, in the high jump, and Anthony Leon of Arlington in free rifle, three positions. Floyd Favors of Capitol Heights was a bronze medalist in bantamweight boxing.
There was a sour note tonight at the closing ceremony, staged before a turnaway crowd of 30,000 in Estadio Olimpico. No U.S. athletes were in evidence, although most competing nations were represented, including a large group from Canada. The U.S. flag was not displayed during the march, apparently because no one stayed to carry it.
A USOC official had said that athletes competing on Sunday would remain for the finale. Even the U.S. officials, so visible during the opening ceremony that was televised back home, were missing tonight.
The United States, as usual, collected the most medals, 285--137 golds, 92 silvers and 56 bronzes.
Throw out swimming and shooting, where the United States hauled in 25 and 31 gold medals, respectively, and the real winner of these Pan Am games, certainly on a per capita basis, was Cuba.
The small Caribbean nation collected 175 medals, including 79 golds, and dominated boxing, baseball, wrestling, fencing and gymnastics, while virtually matching the U.S. medal figures in track and field.
Nevertheless, Cuba was even more embarrassed than the United States by what will forever remain the major memory of these games--the drug scandal.
Forced to return medals were Cuba's greatest weightlifter, world record holder Daniel Nunez, and another triple gold medalist, Alberto Blanco Fernandez. Fencer Mario Wilson was caught, too, as was volleyball player Lazaro Beltran Rizo, even if he did receive a somewhat belated and couched exoneration.
Only one U.S. athlete, heavyweight lifting champion Jeff Michels, was among the 16 found with a positive drug test. Of course, the U.S. Olympic Committee's underground railroad out of the country before the start of track and field provided sufficient embarrassment for this country.
There were several serious incidents, none of which involved any U.S. athlete. The 800-meter semifinal in which Venezuela's William Wuyke allegedly was pushed by Brazil's Agberto Guimares became a cause celebre here, with Guimares receiving a police escort out of the stadium and being showered with debris the next time he competed. By week's end, however, even the Venezuelans were laughing while they jeered, and Guimares and his colleagues approached folk hero status as fans sought their autographs.
Except at a few sports, such as volleyball, attendance dropped drastically from the first week to the second. People had waited hours in long lines the first week; empty seats became commonplace the second. What people wanted was a chance to see Venezuelans win something.
Venezuela wound up with 73 medals, compared to the 10 it earned in San Juan in 1979.
This was no accident. While slow in completing sites for the games, Venezuela thought ahead in a competitive sense and sent its top athletes abroad to train.
Still, the Pan American Games amounts to a no-win situation for the United States. Bring the best, win everything and you are picking on the little guy. Leave your top people home and you are demeaning the event.