The Olympics are definitely moving East, figuratively and literally. Not only does Moscow have the 1980 Summer Games, but now the Czechoslovakian resort at Vysok� Tatry is talking of applying for the 1984 Winter Olympics. It has handsome new hotels all ready and expects to have the necessary sports installations built by 1978. Next stop, Red China.
DUCATS AND DOLLARS
Despite reports to the contrary, rumor has it that quite a few tickets to key Olympic events are still floating around, although they are selling in unofficial markets at prices well above face value. One entrepreneur claims to have amassed substantial numbers of such tickets by shopping for them in foreign countries, picking them up from the supply allotted to those countries by understanding the simple rule of inverse interest. That is, don't bother to look for gymnastics tickets in a country such as Japan, where interest in that sport is high; track and field ducats are easier to come by there. While Lord Killanin himself would have trouble finding a loose track ticket in one of the East African countries, choice seats for swimming and diving might just be sitting there. And so on. As a result of this international poking around, people with money to spend are still able to find and buy good seats.
As for sleeping accommodations, the Quebec Lodging Bureau says it already has overseen the rental of more than 25,000 rooms—not including hotels and motels—and still has a few thousand available. The bureau, established in 1974 to prevent rent gouging during the Games, has had trouble with some would-be landlords, including a few who asked to be on the approved list but were turned down. A bureau spokesman explained, "We get people coming in here with nice places who say, "We wouldn't want to have any niggers rent them.' Of course, we can't put up with that. Others want $150 a night for a room because it has a Gauguin in it. We turn them down, too. We tell them that all we really need is a bed and a sink."
The bureau has had furnished houses and apartments listed at rates of around $50 a day. Now some unlisted homeowners, defying the law, are asking between $4,000 and $6,000 for the month of July, and choice one-room apartments in downtown Montreal are going for $100 a day during the Games—although the standard unlisted apartment rental for the Olympic period (16 days of events, plus a few days before and after) is a flat $1,000, just about the same as the listed $50-a-day rate.
In any case, says the bureau, "We are confident that everybody who comes can get a bed." Just bring money.
"I hadn't expected to hear The Red River Valley played on a harmonica at midnight in Oslo, Norway," wrote columnist Tom Fox of the Philadelphia Inquirer. But hear it Fox did, lovingly rendered with all the mournful longing of a homesick cowpoke who had just ridden in off the range. He investigated and found the harmonica player slouched against the fender of a taxi outside the Oslo airport. Then came Fox's second surprise. The virtuoso was Stan Musial.
Fox had flown across the Atlantic with Musial to begin a two-week tour of Europe but had no idea of the ex-ballplayer's musical talent. He subsequently learned that the 55-year-old Musial had been invited to play the harmonica with the St. Louis Symphony, is expert on the accordion and can even whistle superbly ("You'd have thought somebody was playing the flute," said the awed Fox).
Musial's wife Lillian says, perhaps facetiously, "When Stan was a boy, he didn't want to be a baseball player. All he wanted to play was the accordion. He bought one with his first World Series check, in 1942. He promised me he'd buy me a diamond ring and get himself an accordion. He paid more for the accordion than he did for my diamond."