FROM PEKING TO PLACID
The International Olympic Committee's executive board last week cleared the way for the People's Republic of China to take part in the 1980 Winter Games next February in Lake Placid. At a meeting in Nagoya, Japan, the board passed a resolution that Nationalist China, whose presence in the Olympic movement prompted the mainland Chinese to bolt the IOC in 1958, compete henceforth as " China Taipei" rather than under its preferred name of the Republic of China and refrain from using its own flag or anthem. The resolution is expected to be approved by a majority of the IOC's 89 members in time for Peking to meet the Dec. 1 deadline for entering the Winter Games. Savoring that prospect, Song Zhong, secretary general of the mainland Chinese Olympic Committee, lauded the board's action as "extremely realistic and reasonable."
The Nationalist Chinese disagreed. Noting that the IOC board had arrived at what was ostensibly a two- China compromise, Lawrence Ting, vice-president of Taiwan's Olympic Committee, said ruefully that his country "was like an expectant father wondering whether the baby would be a boy or a girl, and it turned out to be twins." Ting and other Nationalist officials termed "completely unacceptable" the IOC proposal that they come up with a new flag and anthem for Olympic purposes. Unless they change their minds, their country could be out of the Olympics.
The U.S., which now maintains diplomatic relations with Peking but not Taiwan, had advised the IOC that it would have been "embarrassed" had a Taiwanese team entered the U.S. under the name Republic of China to compete in the Winter Games. Last week's action thus came as a relief to Washington. It no doubt also pleased the 300 athletes in the People's Republic who are training for the '80 Olympics, including not only figure and speed skaters bound for Lake Placid but also a good-sized contingent preparing for the Summer Games in Moscow.
WHERE DID THE BALL GO?
If what happened the other evening in New Haven, Conn. is a portent, the People's Republic of China may have some stupefying deeds in store for Olympic spectators. The Chinese gymnastics team was making a two-week tour of the U.S., and owners of the New Haven Night-hawk hockey team invited the visitors to a game and arranged for women's Coach Qu Derui to enter a between-periods "Shoot the Puck" contest in which fans vie for a 1980 Chevette. To win the car, one had to shoot a puck through a four-inch aperture in a target 60 feet away, something only two contestants had accomplished in eight years.
So imagine everyone's shock at the shot Qu got off. He had never been to a hockey game and, after whacking at the puck, he closed his eyes. When he opened them, he asked through an interpreter, "Where did the ball go?" The roar of the 4,018 fans in the Veterans Memorial Coliseum told the story: astonishingly, the puck had gone in. When he realized he had won the car, Qu trotted around the rink jubilantly, arms aloft. Rather than go to the trouble of shipping the car to China, Qu accepted a check for $4,000 for the benefit of the Chinese Gymnastics Federation. But not before he and other members of the Chinese delegation, few of whom had ever been behind the wheel of a car, had taken turns driving the Chevette around an open area in the arena.