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When Sebastian Coe, the 1,500-meter gold medalist in both the 1980 and 1984 Olympics, failed to qualify two weeks ago for the team that Great Britain is sending to Seoul, there was an outpouring of sentiment on behalf of the champion. "It was a bit like requiring Mozart to run through the scales for the entertainment committee of the working men's club," wrote one British journalist. But the 31-year-old Coe reacted with his usual grace, saying, "The [selection] has been made, and I abide by it just as the other athletes have done."
Last week the president of the International Olympic Committee, Juan Antonio Samaranch, got into the act by writing the British Amateur Athletic Board to ask that it reconsider the decision to leave Coe off the team. Samaranch, who knows Coe well from their work on Olympic matters of mutual concern, told one London newspaper, "I know that many British people, as well as others from other countries, want to see him run in Seoul, so I decided to write and ask that the question be considered again."
Coe said he was honored by the efforts of Samaranch. But Tony Ward, a spokesman for the board, said, "A letter has been sent to the president politely, but firmly, rejecting his suggestion." Ward also said, "We have replied that our selection policy is complete and we are quite satisfied with it. We find it quite extraordinary that the IOC president should write concerning our selection policy."
Extraordinary and misguided. The president may have had noble motives for making his request, but as the leader of the Olympic movement, he must maintain an impartial and objective stance. Samaranch made much the same mistake last February when he criticized the U.S. Olympic hockey program. Whether or not Coe makes Britain's Olympic team is really none of his business.
HE EATS LIKE A PERSON
One of the entrants in Saturday's International Trot at Yonkers Raceway has rather unusual eating habits. Go Get Lost, a 4-year-old horse who finished third in the race, loves chocolate cupcakes, specifically the kind made by Hostess. He has tried Twinkies, but prefers the cupcakes. "He likes to bite the top icing off." trainer Art Wirsching told SI's Amy Lennard. "Horses don't usually like anything gooey because they're chewers, but he seems to love it. He also likes bananas." After Go Get Lost won a recent race at Yonkers, he was presented with a large silver cup filled with the chocolate cupcakes. "We can't give them to him all the time because of his digestive system." says Wirsching. "He would eat them three times a day if we didn't use discretion."
Go Get Lost also has a slightly more disconcerting trait. "When he wants attention, he sticks his tongue out the side of his mouth, hangs it way out." says Wirsching. "He wants you to pull it, like shaking hands. If you don't pay attention, out comes that tongue."
Because of his strange food preference, Go Get Lost reminds some of Jamin, the French trotter who won the very first International back in 1959. Jamin was so partial to his favorite food, artichokes, that when U.S. Customs officials confiscated the artichokes that had crossed the Atlantic along with the horse, Jamin fell into a funk and trained listlessly. An emergency airlift of artichokes from California was arranged, and thus fortified, Jamin won the race.
OVER THE BORDER