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THE BETS ARE OFF
TOO HOT, TOO LATE
What was The Athletic Congress thinking when it chose New Orleans to host the 1992 Olympic track and field trials? Obviously not about distance runners who will have to run multiple rounds of the 3,000 meters, 5,000, 10,000 or steeplechase in the space of four days. The trials are to be held in late June, when the daytime high temperature in New Orleans averages 90� and the humidity is oppressive; temperatures in the evenings, when races are likely to be held, are generally in the 80s.
The heat in New Orleans could be even worse than it was in Indianapolis, where the 1988 trials were held under sometimes miserable conditions. "There is no question this is dangerous," says Bob Sevene, the coach of several top U.S. runners. "You remember [10,000-meter runner] Jay Marden being taken from the track in Indy. [Not to mention PattiSue Plumer and Sabrina Dornhoefer, who finished third and fourth, respectively, in the women's 3,000 and then had to be wheeled from the track on gurneys.] I don't know why we don't send the distance runners to Eugene [Ore.]."
That's not a bad idea. Or, if not to Eugene (which hosted the trials in 1972, '76 and '80), how about sending the runners to Minneapolis or Seattle or some place where the conditions are less likely to be life-threatening? While the tradition of holding the trials for all track and field events at one site makes for a grander occasion, the well-being of the athletes should take precedence.
And while we're at it, TAC should consider moving the distance races to an earlier month, perhaps April. That would give athletes in those events time to recover from the trials and build up again for the Olympics, which begin in late July in Barcelona. The 1988 trials were held two months before the Games—twice the span that TAC is allowing for '92—yet in Seoul, none of the U.S. distance runners finished better than fifth. Doesn't it make sense to give them a fighting chance in Barcelona?
BOWL AND CHAIN
Amanda Guild, a 30-year-old Saginaw, Mich., housewife, has a 131 bowling average, so you can imagine her excitement when, during league play at the local Americana Lanes on Oct. 29, she rolled a 587 (160-203-224) series. The Saginaw News named Guild its Bowler of the Week, which meant she got her smiling photo in the paper's sports section.
It's amazing what the thrill of getting named Bowler of the Week will do to a person's memory. Guild seems to have forgotten completely that she had been indicted seven months earlier by a grand jury in Jackson, Tenn., on charges including possession with intent to distribute marijuana and cocaine, money laundering, obstruction of justice and perjury. Guild fled Jackson, eventually returning to Saginaw, where, U.S. marshals admit, she might well have continued to elude them had she not had the night of her bowling life.