A boycott would play havoc with many events, and the competition has enough questions already without the added uncertainty. The Americans, for example, are wondering whether they might be on the upswing at last in sports like water polo, fencing and perhaps even soccer. Conversely, there was concern about sports Americans traditionally dominate. I ears were again being raised that the U.S. basketball team, tall but young, might finally lose a game.
The U.S. and the Soviet Union should win the most medals, as usual, but considering its population—only 17 million—the real Olympic power will almost certainly be East Germany. The prospect that West Germany's elaborate production might wind up as a showcase for its bitterest foe could be embarrassing, but until the 5,000 cloves arc released—and with them the emotions of the multitudes—at Saturday's opening ceremonies, the organizers will have enough other topics to dwell on. Besides fretting about the threatened boycott, German officials were waging a Dirnenkrieg—whore war—to rid Munich of prostitutes during the Games, a campaign that wits said would at least help preserve the amateur character of the Olympics.
Then there is the business of the "new and different Germans." It might have been this preoccupation that caused some M�nchner to react as if it were a national disgrace when souvenir hunters began filching Olympic banners. Remorse got to some of the thieves, and one wrote the newspaper Abendzeitung offering to return live stolen banners "with best regards to the Olympic Committee." The note directed police to a locker in Munich's central railroad station, where the flags were found—un-soiled and neatly folded.