SEOUL - East is meeting West at these Olympic Games -on the playing fields, in the spectator seats . . . and at the concession stands.
There is the usual food and drink you'd find at any American stadium. You can buy hot dogs, hamburgers, cheeseburgers, popcorn, potato chips, donuts and Coca Cola, no problem.You can also buy shrimp cups, bowls of noodles (in a variety of seven flavors), steamed rice balls, smoked squid, rolled rice, and seaweed rice balls.
The prices vary. The noodles cost about 42 cents, while the smoked squid is $1.40. Popcorn is 70 cents, a hot dog is only 42 cents, a Coke is 70 cents, and a shrimp cup is a mere 28 cents. The most expensive items? A cheeseburger is $1.50, the rolled rice is $1.55 and the seaweed rice balls take the gourmet award, going for $2.80 a serving.
* * * Jose Ortiz is making his "amateur" farewell in the Olympic basketball tournament. The Utah Jazz property, who signed a contract last month, scored 14 points and had eight rebounds Tuesday to lead his Puerto Rican teammates in both categories as they beat Korea on its homecourt, 79-74.
Still, Ortiz is hardly the full show or featured star for the Puerto Rican team. He took only nine shots against the Koreans, and took a similar number when he scored 18 points in an opening-round loss to Canada.
"There are 12 stars on this team," he said Tuesday, shrugging off any dissatisfaction. "Everybody is looking for the ball."
He said Puerto Rico can realistically hope for "at least placing third and winning a medal - I think any team can surprise any other team in this tournament."
Ortiz said he will fly home to Puerto Rico following the Olympics, just long enough to pack and then leave for Utah. He expects to be in Salt Lake Oct. 9.
"To tell the truth, I could use a rest," he said. "I've been playing four and a half years now without stopping. It's pretty tough to play four and a half years and then come into a full NBA season, but that's the way it's worked out."
* * * The 24th Olympiad had its first scalping incident Tuesday. You guessed it, the perpetrator was an American.
James Rush of Madison, Wis., was arrested outside the diving venue when he tried to sell five tickets at what police said was $33.33 in excess of face value.
Apparently, scalping isn't a problem in Korea. Also apparently, it's because of the penalty. The Associated Press reported that Rush was sentenced to five days in jail.
* * * The average American Olympian is 26 years old, was born on June 13, 1962, is 5-101/2 and weighs 162 pounds - this according to a press release from the USOC computer after analyzing data from all 612 members of the U. S. team.
Utah archer Denise Parker, at 14 years and nine months, is officially the youngest American Olympian. Shooter Don Nygord, 52 years and three months, is the oldest. The tallest is basketball player David Robinson, at 7-1. The heaviest is weightlifter Mario Martinez, at 314 pounds. And the lightest and shortest is gymnast Chelle Stack, at 4-8 and 74 pounds.
* * * Add Ortiz: The former Oregon State basketball star said any speculation that he didn't sign with the Jazz a year ago because he wanted to remain eligible to play in the Olympics isn't accurate.
"There was just a big misunderstanding between the Jazz and myself," he said. "I didn't know what they wanted and they didn't know what I wanted. I'm happy to be playing in the Olympics, but that isn't why I didn't play in the NBA."
* * * Jack Donahue, the Canadian national basketball coach for the past 17 years, is retiring after these Olympics. He almost made it a Games to remember Tuesday when his Canadians led the U.S. through much of their preliminary round game before losing 76-70.
Donahue bears a remarkable resemblance, in both personality and looks, to Jazz Coach Frank Layden, a fellow New Yorker.
Following Tuesday's close loss, Donahue said of course he thought his team had a chance against the Americans.
"If you don't think you have a chance," he said, "you shouldn't play the game. It would be better to forfeit. We'd have gotten more attention that way. They'd be talking about it for 10 years, `Hey, did you hear what the Canadians did . . . ' But we knew we had a chance so we went ahead and played the game."
Donahue still thinks the U. S. will have no trouble winning the gold medal. "I would not bet against them in any game other than ours," he said.
* * * SEOULQUOTES: U.S. assistant boxing coach Tom Coulter on the blind draws that are creating some lopsided tournament brackets: "It's like being in a Las Vegas casino. You pull a handle and hope for three bars."
Tennis star Chris Evert, on living in the Olympic village: "I'm used to room service in the morning and hotel suites. I wouldn't want to do this all year round."