However, judging from the reaction of many puzzled spectators to the man-sized version of Whatizit that paraded around at the closing ceremonies, not everybody likes it. Willie B., where are you?
Among the items left behind at the Olympic Village's lost and found office were clothes, a check (for $40,000), eight certificates of femaleness, three wool shawls (presumably because they were not needed in the 90� heat) and a rice cooker. Still, the strangest—and biggest—leftover was an archer's bow, along with a set of arrows.
Eyeing the Finish
Pyambuu Tuul was understandably nervous at the start of the Olympic marathon on Sunday. As the only member of the Mongolian track and field team, the first Mongolian ever entered in the marathon and Mongolia's last shot at a gold medal, the 33-year-old Tuul wanted to turn in a strong performance. "I do not want to lag too far behind all the fantastic runners," he said through two interpreters—one turning Mongolian into Russian, the other, Russian into English. True, the race would be tough, but it's difficult to imagine any 26-mile run presenting a greater test than the one Tuul had already been through.
Tuul was a construction worker when he lost his vision during an explosion in his hometown of Ulan Bator in 1978. After two unsuccessful operations, he gave up hope of seeing again. Then the New York Achilles Track Club, which promotes athletics for the disabled, invited him to participate in the '90 New York Marathon. Led by a guide, Tuul walked most of the way and finished in slightly more than five hours. The club also arranged for a cornea transplant for Tuul, which was performed in New York in January 1991.
The first thing Tuul saw when the bandages were removed were the eyes of his doctor. "They were blue," he says. "I'm usually a pretty mellow person, but at that moment I was overjoyed." Tuul then saw the faces of his wife and six-and eight-year-old daughters.
Tuul was the last runner to finish the Olympic marathon, in 4:00:44, but 25 of the 112 marathoners had already dropped out. That gave him the distinction of being the last competitor of the '92 Games. Tuul hopes his participation in Barcelona will inspire his countrymen. "If I run in Atlanta in '96," he says, "I hope I'll have some other Mongolians with me."
Chip Out of the Old Blocks
Unlike other sports in the U.S., track and field rarely produces a second generation of athletes. Chip Jenkins, who was part of America's gold-medal-winning 4x400 relay team in Barcelona, is the son of Charlie Jenkins, who won a gold medal in the 4x400 at the 1956 Games. Before Jenkins, the last U.S. Olympic track and field athlete to follow in his or her parent's footsteps was Russ Hodge, a decathlete in the '64 Games, whose mother, Alice Arden, high-jumped in the '36 Games.
Forget faster, higher, stronger. Pin trading is the event for those of us too hopelessly sedentary to go for the gold. So we go for bigger, brighter, scarcer.