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Mining A Rich Vein Of Gold...And Rancor
Pat Putnam
August 20, 1984
The home team won nine Olympic titles, but even it yelped about being jobbed by judges and squabbled within its own ranks
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August 20, 1984

Mining A Rich Vein Of Gold...and Rancor

The home team won nine Olympic titles, but even it yelped about being jobbed by judges and squabbled within its own ranks

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Still, if that decision went against the U.S., there were several others that should have but didn't. The South Koreans were particularly incensed when Jerry Page, the U.S. light welterweight who went on to win a gold medal, was given a 4-1 quarterfinal decision over Kim Dong Kil, though it was clear to all in attendance that Kim had fought well enough to win. After filing a useless protest, the South Koreans, who'll host the Olympics in 1988, threatened to take their boxers and go home.

"There's too much influence for the United States," said Kim Seung Youn, president of the Korean Boxing Federation, who is also a vice-president of the AIBA, repeating a complaint that was aired almost daily during the 13 days of boxing. "We are over here not only to win but to learn for 1988. The way things are going, there's nothing to learn. They say they pick the judges by computer, but no one seems to know how to run the computer. As you can see, when the Americans get in the ring they always win, and personally I believe some of them lose. They [the officials] should be fair.

"But I have a very small voice, and nobody listens to me, and that's why I went public. I'm personally upset. If they run it like this here, then should we run it the same way in Seoul in 1988? Should I just give 12 gold medals to the Korean fighters?"

Asked if the Koreans' threat to pull out was meant to intimidate the judges at these Games, Kim grinned and admitted it was.

"Then," a second question went, "you have made your protest known. Is there any more to gain by actually pulling out your team?"

"I think not," he said.

The Koreans weren't the first to threaten to leave. On the night of Aug. 3, Nappi, tired of a long-running feud with professional trainer Emanuel Steward, grabbed his luggage and headed for the United Airlines terminal at Los Angeles International Airport. The manager of world champions Thomas Hearns and Milton McCrory, Steward, who runs the Kronk Gym in Detroit, also trains Mark Breland, Frank Tate and Steve McCrory, one-third of the eventual U.S. gold medal winners.

Steward claims the latest exchange between the two began when Nappi barred him from the Hamilton High gym, where the American team trained while it was in Los Angeles. "He actually told the kids he never heard of Emanuel Steward," said Steward. "He embarrassed me in front of the kids. He wouldn't let me in the door."

No matter. Round 2 came when Breland, after a listless first-bout welterweight victory over Wayne Gordon of Canada, went to Nappi and asked if he could train with Steward at the Muhammad Ali Gym in Santa Monica. "If you think it will help you, then go ahead," Nappi told him. "Just cool it."

Breland trained with Steward on July 31. The following day McCrory and Tate came in for private tutoring. The trouble started when two reporters arrived at the gym on Aug. 2.

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