CALGARY, FEB. 25 -- The chairman of the Calgary Organizing Committee said today he believes as many as 1.5 million people will have witnessed Olympic competitions in person by the time the Games end on Sunday.
Frank King, chairman of OCO '88, also indicated that more than 3 million will have had what he described as "an Olympic experience," including more than a million people who have turned out for the spectacular nightly medal presentations in the Olympic Plaza downtown.
"We have brought more people to sport then ever before in the history of winter sports," King said today. "Despite some adverse conditions, we've had thousands of people go and enjoy themselves."
King said that OCO probably will wind up giving out about $2 million in ticket refunds from events that were postponed and rescheduled because of high winds that hit the Games in the first week of competition. However, he indicated that OCO's $30 million contingency fund most likely will not be touched and will be added to another $80 million endowment now in place to help fund Canadian amateur sports.
Gault on the Sidelines
Chicago Bears wide receiver Willie Gault apparently will be out of the starting lineup for the four-man bobsled competition.
Gault, riding in USA 3 driven by Randy Will, finished behind USA 1 and USA 2 in a two-heat competition today to determine which sleds will represent the United States.
"I feel good," Gault told the Associated Press. "I pushed well today. I think we could have gone better. But I think I got a fair opportunity and the athletes treated me fairly."
Gault also said he did not expect the top two U.S. drivers, Brent Rushlaw and Matt Roy, to add him to their crews.
Will complained today that Roy's sled was seven pounds overweight, even though no official weigh-in was held by the U.S. team. Said Roy: "I think Randy's the worst loser I've ever seen in my life . . . he's grasping at straws."
Maybe Gault was, too, when he said after the run that world-record hurdler Edwin Moses was the newest non-bobsledder considering joining the U.S. team. "I have talked to Ed about it and he was very interested," said Gault.
Soviet Skiers Located
Two Soviet ski jumpers were sent home because of bad showings and a Nordic combined competitior was too ill to participate, the Soviet delegation announced today, ending speculation about a possible defection when the athletes could not immediately be located.
Two individual ski jumpers, Edward Soubotch and Mikhail Essine left for the Soviet Union on Monday after they finished 38th and 39th in 70-meter competition on Feb. 14. The Soviets said their Nordic combined jumper, Allar Levandi, had stomach problems and was forced to withdraw.
The Jamaican bobsled team has made a major splash at these Olympics, not to mention a major financial killing.
George Fitch, who put together the team, said he had sold more than 18,000 sweatshirts ($25 each) and T-shirts ($15) sporting the team's logo.