Romania, the only Soviet bloc nation that hasn't boycotted the Los Angeles Olympics, seems satisfied with the security plans for the Games that the Soviets said were unsatisfactory. In Los Angeles last Friday, Haralambie Alexa, president of the Romanian National Olympic Committee, told reporters through an interpreter, "We feel assured that security will be guaranteed.... From what I have seen, everything is covered."
Reporters pelted the Romanian with questions about his country's decision to fly in the face of the Soviet Union's decision to boycott. Peter Ueberroth, the beleaguered president of the L.A. Olympic Organizing Committee, reacted nervously to the questioning, but Alexa, a pleasant, roundish man, handled it with ease.
"We made our own decision to come," he said calmly. "There have been no pressures put on us. Each Olympic committee decided independently. We decided to come."
When a reporter referred to the Romanian move as "heroic," Alexa smiled. "We don't consider that our participation is heroic," he said. "It is our gesture of respect for the Olympic movement and principles." Asked about possible defections from Romania's 179-person delegation, Alexa said, "We'd like to declare in all clarity [that] we'd like to return with those that we are bringing.... [In Romania] our athletes suffer from no restrictions."
When someone asked if Romania had another Nadia Comaneci, he smiled again. "Yes, we do," he said. "Not just one, but several."
HADL'S DUBIOUS DECISION
The USFL is striving for a legitimate place in the pro football sun, but what the Los Angeles Express did last Saturday didn't help matters much. L.A., which had already clinched first place in the Pacific Division, was playing Arizona, which was vying with Denver for the last open spot in the playoffs. Denver's hopes depended on a Denver victory over Oakland Friday night and an Arizona loss to Los Angeles on Saturday. Denver did its part, winning 20-7, but its playoff chances went kaput when L.A. coach John Hadl announced that he would rest his outstanding rookie quarterback, Steve Young, against Arizona, and start reserve Frank Seurer. With Young, L.A. was an eight-point favorite. Without him, L.A. was a 35-10 loser as Seurer and Russ Jensen completed only 10 passes in 35 attempts and threw three interceptions, one of them run back for the final Arizona touchdown.
Denver tried hard in its last regular-season game. It's a shame the Express didn't.
Most communities that put up road signs honoring famous native sons take a distinctly formal approach to the task. WELCOME TO PODUNK, THE HOME OF JOE CELEBRITY, such signs typically say. But Don Meredith, the football player turned TV personality, is a folksy sort who has inspired admirers in his native Mount Vernon, Texas to affect a lighter touch. A sign on I-30 leading into the community of 2,025 inhabitants says, WELCOME TO MOUNT VERNON, A DANDY TOWN.