SEOUL - The South Korean press didn't pull any punches after the much-publicized incident at the Olympic Boxing Hall that saw a Korean boxer, who had just lost his bout, refuse to leave the ring and a punch-throwing melee erupt between Korean officials and boxing officials.
The headline the next day in the Chosun Ilbo, one of Seoul's leading morning newspapers, said, "Korea's Boxing Team Riots In The Ring." The subhead said, "Where lacking sportsmanship, no difference from gangsters."In the Seoul Shinmun, another leading morning daily, the newspaper's editorial said, "The sports officials and the athlete who betrayed sportsmanship should take responsibility." And in the Dong-A Ilbo, Seoul's evening daily, the editorial said, "The incident put a black mark on the self-respect of Koreans, the Olympics host. It was an indiscreet violent act. If they didn't like the judging, they should have taken it to the proper petition course. Resorting to shouting, shoving, fist-fighting and kicking is not forgivable."
The above translations were provided in press releases handed out at the Main Press Center by the Seoul Olympic Committee, anxious to let the world press understand that the host country wasn't sanctioning the violence that occurred.
* * * BOYCOTT DEPT.: Cuban president Fidel Castro, who kept his country out of the Seoul Olympics in support of North Korea, came up with a consolation prize for his athletes this weekend. He assembled them together in Havana and gave all 173 of them gold medals.
In awarding the "Cuban Order of Gold" medals Castro lauded the athletes for "immense patriotism and internationalism." As if they had any other choice.
* * * ADD BOYCOTT: Cuba's isn't by any means the first boycott of the Olympics. There was America's in 1980, the Soviet Bloc's in 1984, and who can forget when Idi Amin, then the iron-fisted dictator of Uganda, ordered his country out of the 1976 Olympics because of human rights violations in South Africa.
* * * PROPAGANDA DEPT.: As further proof that you can't believe everything you read, no sooner had the United States Olympic Committee released a statement saying that "swimmers Troy Dalbey and Doug Gjertsen have been confined to the Olympic Village pending disciplinary action" following their brush with police than Dalbey emerged from a cab in front of the press village.
Dalbey had just returned from the It'Aweon shopping district, where the trouble had first begun. He had gone to pick up a jacket he ordered.
"No one's told me I can't go anywhere," said Dalbey. "All they did was give me a Korean bodyguard for when I went out, in case there were any problems."
* * * SMALL WORLD DEPT.: The Washington Terrace suburb of Ogden has contributed no less than two Olympians to the Seoul Games.
Both distance runner Ed Eyestone, who will compete in the marathon for the United States, and Karl Tilleman, a guard for the Canadian national basketball team that has qualified for the medal round, grew up in Washington Terrace.
The two were best friends until the fourth grade, when Tilleman's father, a college professor at Weber State, moved his family to Canada.
Tilleman, who attends law school at BYU, and Eyestone have met several times during the Games.
* * * GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS DEPT.: The odd-even system in effect during the Olympics that limits cars with even-numbered license plates to even-numbered days and odd-numbered plates to odd-numbered days has taken an estimated 300,000 cars off the downtown streets daily.
"Seoul is a wonderful city again," said an editorial in the Korea Times, an English newspaper. "It's possible to move again on the roads."
That's the good news. The bad news is that the Olympic Games end in one more week.
* * * SEOULQUOTE: Bulgarian swimmer Tania Dangalakovas, who married her coach two years ago and then retired to have a daughter, after coming back to win the gold medal in the 100-meter breaststroke: "Most swimmers give up after having a baby. I wanted to prove to everyone that it is possible to go on."