Another ceremonial secret that slipped out is how the Olympic torch will be lighted. Inspired by the worldwide popularity of Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Ovideo Bassat Sport has decided to have an archer fire a flaming arrow to light the torch. However, archer auditions have not gone well. The first prospect shot his arrow well over the target and ignited a small portion of the stadium, while another took too long in aiming and suffered burns on his left hand. Said one Ovideo official, "It's so hard to find a really good archer these days."
Maybe all the really good archers are already in the Olympics.
Man of Steel
After 23 seasons, Chuck Noll abdicates his throne
Last July the Pittsburgh Steelers traveled two hours by bus to the Washington Redskins' camp in Carlisle, Pa., for an 80-play scrimmage. After 79 plays, the score was tied at 19. Before the Redskins could trot out their field goal unit for a chip shot that would have won the scrimmage, the voice of, coach Chuck Noll rang from the Pittsburgh sideline. "Everybody on the buses!" he shouted, and his Steelers dutifully left the field before they could be defeated. Moral of the story: Two decades on the job hadn't softened the NFL's hardest rock.
Noll, 60, seldom gave a good interview in this media-driven age. He never gave his players pats on their backs, which drove some, most notably Terry Bradshaw, bananas. He was slow to change with the game, acting as his own special-teams coach until 1987. But when he resigned on Dec. 26, he left the biggest void atop a team since Vince Lombardi retired from the Packers in '68. In Noll's 23 seasons as Pittsburgh's coach, his steely, steady hands guided the team to 12 playoff appearances and four Super Bowl victories.
"Chuck never fell into the twin pitfalls of ego and greed," New York Giants general manager George Young says. "He always had his life and his role in football in perspective. He cared more about the teaching of football than listening to accolades and selling himself in commercials." Noll never hawked a product. Once, a friend persuaded him to have his picture taken with a local banker; Noll was embarrassed when a blowup of the photo became a billboard for the bank. That was it for Noll's endorsement career. All he wanted to do was coach...that and be invisible.
He couldn't achieve the latter—not totally, anyway—because loyal Pittsburghers loved this most unpretentious of sportsmen, and even the fans who thought the game had passed him by treated him with reverence. They adopted radioman Myron Cope's nickname for Noll: Emperor Chas. Late this season, folks around town could be heard saying, "Think the Emperor's going to retire?"
Noll's legacy? There's a clue in something he said in a recent interview. "Don't leave anything on the beach but your footprints," he said. You figure it out.
In the Trap
A pro golfer from Ghana is accused of espionage
This is a spy story without an ending. It starts in September 1990, when Martin Amadume, a 26-year-old professional golfer from Ghana, arrived in Canada, purportedly to play in the Canadian Open that month.