ALARUMS AND NON-EXCURSIONS
Concerns about terrorism have caused some sports teams to cancel trips abroad. Last week, for example, the 7-Eleven cycling team, which includes Olympic medal-winning cyclists Alexi Grewal, Ron Kiefel and Davis Phinney, as well as Eric Heiden, announced at the last minute that it would not take part in the 2,484-mile Tour of Spain, which has just begun on Majorca. "You'd be a real easy target in a bike race," said Phinney, whose wife, retired cycling gold medalist Connie Carpenter-Phinney, has felt the pain of terrorism: A childhood friend of hers from Madison, Wis., Fred Gage, was killed in the terrorist bombing at Rome's airport last December. "When you see [photos of] the body there in the airport, it really hits home how serious it is over there," said Phinney. The 7-Eleven team said it might also withdraw from the Tour de France in July.
Football teams at Central Connecticut State, DePauw University in Greencastle, Ind. and Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa have also called off trips to Europe. So have the NBA's Phoenix Suns, who were to play in Bulgaria this summer as part of the agreement that allowed Bulgarian forward Georgi Glouchkov to play in the States this season. Fear of terrorism has even affected a peewee hockey team from suburban Boston, which had to scrap a playing tour of West Germany and Austria because so many parents pulled their sons from the trip. "We just couldn't field a team," said coach Owen Hughes.
Those who still plan to compete in Europe are practicing prudence. The U.S. Baseball Federation, which will send a national team to Holland in July, is giving team members precautionary advice, including instructions not to wear U.S.A. jackets when they are walking around airports. Although the U.S. Tennis Association has scrapped plans to have American junior players compete in the Italian Junior Open in two weeks, 11 American pros are expected to be in the senior draw. For their part, Italian organizers have switched players' reservations from a downtown hotel to a heavily guarded hilltop hostel closer to the Foro Italico stadium. Players will practice on the Rome police club courts. There will be constant bomb searches of the stadium.
Some sports teams scheduled to compete in Europe are trying to arrange competition instead in presumably less volatile places, such as Australia. A Washington, D.C. organization called Sport For Understanding, which has arranged for some 35 U.S. teams to travel abroad this year, has established some new guidelines: no trips to Italy and only nonstop flights. And the NFL is trying to determine whether safety can be guaranteed for two of its teams scheduled to play on Aug. 3 before 80,000 people in Wembley Stadium outside London. The opponents are the Super Bowl champion Chicago Bears and the Dallas Cowboys, also known as America's Team.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN
Two years ago the infamous Cannonball Baker Sea-to-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash—a.k.a. the Cannonball Run, last contested in 1979 across the highways and byways of America at breakneck speed—spawned a more sedate successor: the One Lap of America road rally. Sponsored by Uniroyal, the third annual One Lap will begin Saturday in Detroit, with a field of 130 cars set to compete on an 8,400-mile, eight-day circuit of the U.S.
Teams must maintain certain average speeds (between 22 and 51 mph) for each of 46 segments and are penalized if they pass any of the secret checkpoints either too early or too late. The winner receives a minimum of $10,000 and possibly as much as $35,000, depending on sponsor tie-ins. Anything on two axles can enter. The 1984 winner, Jeff Burnett of Warren, Vt., won in a rented Chevy station wagon with free unlimited mileage. Last year restaurateur Rocky Aoki finished 65th in a 1959 Rolls-Royce decked out with tuxedoed chauffeurs and a backseat microwave oven. This year's field includes a prototype car never seen in public (a 16-cylinder Volkswagen) and an '84 Pontiac owned by a cheese company president and painted to look like a package of cheddar.
The most expensive entry will be a $102,000 BMW equipped with five microcomputers, a transponder linking the vehicle to satellite tracking systems and various other electronic equipment. Drivers of the car, which is sponsored by Rand McNally & Co., will be able at any time to determine their location to within 15 feet.
Just in case the electronic gear isn't enough, the RM team will carry one other item: a $5.95 road atlas.