These things we already know about the Seoul Olympics, and they don't even start until Saturday:
- OTHER THAN being there live - and that's debatable, depending on the variables such as humidity, wind, smog, and terrorism - there will be no better seat for the 1988 Olympic Games than the one in your Utah living room.The Mountain Time Zone is the place to be. Virtually every significant Olympic final will be staged sometime between 6 p.m. and midnight in Utah. That's because Korea time is 16 hours ahead of Utah time, and NBC-TV has orchestrated the competition so it will be broadcast back to the U.S. in the evening hours. People on the West Coast will catch the live action an hour earlier than the Rocky Mountains, while on the East Coast it will be two hours later.
- SEOUL has some of the world's finest dog restaurants . . . but not during the Olympic Games.
Koreans like to occasionally dine on dog steaks, and there are an abundance of dog restaurants in downtown Seoul, but during the 17 days of the Olympic Games authorities have forbidden the serving of dogmeat, so as not to offend the tourist trade . . . or any visiting pets.
- THE NATIONAL dish of Korea is kimchi, a cabbage dish that is cooked with an enormous number of spices and is also fermented. Apparently, kimchi in the proper amount is the perfect appetizer at a dog restaurant, or is an effective chaser.
- A RECORD number of nations and a record number of athletes will participate in these Games.
One hundred and sixty one countries have entered - out of 167 on the IOC rolls. That will make these the best-attended Olympics in modern history. A total of 13,496 athletes and officials had officially entered by the first of this week. In Los Angeles in 1984 7,078 athletes and officials were registered, representing 140 nations.
Only one country that sent in its original entry form is expected to be a no-show. That would be Madagascar, an island nation from the Indian Ocean that has never won an Olympic medal. IOC officials were guessing that Madagascar hadn't sent in its list of officials and athletes because of economic, not political, problems, but no one knew for sure because Madagascar hadn't bothered to call.
- IF TERRORISM rears its ugly head at these Olympics, it better bring a lunch.
The South Koreans haven't exactly adopted a Gandhi-esque attitude toward violence. A force of 120,000 Korean police and soldiers will be on active duty during the Olympics, aided (if necessary) by a squadron of F-18 fighter planes from the U.S., an American aircraft carrier, and the Japanese navy.
If that doesn't work, the entire 650,000-strong South Korean armed forces is on alert.
- DESPITE being the closest country to these Olympics, with the exception of the host country, North Korea has decided not to risk the 21/2-mile drive across the demilitarized zone and will not send an Olympic team.
But, nations from Africa, the Soviet Union, East Germany and the United States will all be on hand, all of which have boycotted either the Games of `76, `80 or `84.
- OLYMPIC pressure has already gotten a good (bad) grip on the South Korean team. Or so it appears from the following examples:
Lim Chun Ae, a 17-year-old farm girl and distance runner who won three gold medals at last year's Asian Games, had to go to the hospital recently with a broken ear drum, the result of her being whacked on the side of the head by her coach . . . Park Jong Whan, South Korean's Olympic soccer coach, resigned his post, saying, "I can't stand the pressure." . . . And Kim Jip, the Olympic team's official spokesman, said that the country should realistically expect to win six medals, which is a far cry from the six golds, six silvers and seven bronzes won in Los Angeles.
- And the first injury of the Games occurred this week when Vicky Roycroft, a show jumper from Australia, was bit on the ear by her horse, Mosman, after they both landed at Seoul's Kimpo Airport. The horse had apparently skipped the inflight meal and was hungry upon arrival.