THE OLYMPIC HOOFER
Hokey smoke, Bullwinkle, did you see the paper last week? "A tap-dancing moose from Anchorage stole the show today as the 12 cities vying for the 1992 Olympics unveiled exhibits that they hope will sway the vote of the International Olympic Committee...."
That's right, a tap-dancing moose. Since 1980, Seymour of Anchorage (see more, get it?)—a walking, talking, tap-dancing moose played by schoolteacher Bonnie Rindo in costume—has been the mascot of the city's visitors bureau. With Anchorage bidding to host the 1992 Winter Games, Seymour was in Seoul last week hoofing to that moosical favorite, Wild About Anchorage, for the august sports administrators attending a meeting of national Olympic committees. "Seymour seemed to catch the other bidders by surprise," said Rick Mystrom, head of the Anchorage delegation.
In truth, Anchorage is a long shot for '92, if only because another North American city, Calgary, will be the site of the '88 Winter Games. But the Alaskans made an impressive pitch in Seoul, one that included not only Seymour's dancing and other "cultural" displays but also reminders of Anchorage's favorable location: It's equidistant from London, Tokyo and Houston, and perfect for U.S. prime-time television coverage. While the IOC is still likely to pick Falun, Sweden as the '92 Winter Olympics site when it meets this October, Anchorage remains hopeful. "We're the ones with the momentum," said Mystrom. "They don't have any moose dancing for them."
On the basketball court Scott Skiles has always outshone Phil Wendel, his former backcourt mate at Plymouth ( Ind.) High School. Skiles was the MVP in the 1982 Indiana high school basketball tournament and scored 39 points in Plymouth's 75-74 double-overtime championship win over Gary Roosevelt; Wendel chipped in with 16. Skiles went on to lead the Big Ten in scoring at Michigan State this past season and is likely to be a first-round choice in June's NBA draft. Wendel also starred in college but at a more modest level; he had a career scoring average of 10.4 points a game for Division III DePauw and helped the Tigers to a 26-2 record in 1985-86.
Off the court it has been a different story. Skiles gained notoriety during college with three arrests, one for drug possession and two for driving while intoxicated. Next month he will serve a 15-day jail term for violating the probation given him after he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor possession of marijuana. Wendel, an honor student in high school, won the prestigious Arthur L. Trester award at the '82 tournament. That award recognizes grades and leadership as well as basketball ability; to this day signs at the Plymouth town line celebrate the state champions and Trester winner Phil Wendel. Last week Wendel was awarded one of 10 $2,000 graduate scholarships given by the NCAA in men's basketball. He will graduate May 24 with a 3.3 average in psychology and plans to attend graduate school.
Wendel, who aspires to be a basketball coach, isn't ever likely to command the big income that Skiles will in the NBA, but he says of his former teammate, "I don't think I'd trade."
BIG DEMAND FOR THE BIG PUTTER
Want the lowdown on the big black putter that Jack Nicklaus used to win the Masters, the one staff writer Rick Reilly likened to a vacuum-cleaner attachment (SI, April 21)? It's called the Response ZT—ZT for "zero twist"—the kind of name engineers think is catchy. It was designed a year ago by Clay Long, director of research and development engineering at MacGregor, the Nicklaus-owned company that manufactures the ZT. "We knew that big putters had less twist," says Long, "so I decided to carry that concept to extremes."