An NBA-tutored Soviet basketball team teaches the United States a lesson, Carl Lewis' disciple beats the master, and one-handed pitcher Jim Abbott gives the world a study in courage and achievement.
Scandal aside, sports are alive and well at the Olympic Games.They are, in fact, thriving, despite the lingering gloom of the Ben Johnson drug affair, as old rivalries rev up and young stars shine.
American boxers are digging in for what they call "Operation Gold," an assault that so far has landed eight fighters in the medal round, more than any other nation.
Florence Griffith Joyner, she of the swift legs and long nails, is poised to go after her second gold in the women's 200-meter dash after smashing the Olympic record Wednesday in her second-round heat in 21.76 seconds. The world's fastest woman already has a gold in the 100.
Lewis' solid gold Games melted when teammate Joe DeLoach beat him by four one-hundredths of a second with a time of 19.75 seconds in the 200. But with a silver and two golds in the long jump and 100, the latter thanks to Johnson's disqualification, Lewis is happy.
"This is a tremendous thing that's happened," he said. "Americans sweep the long jump, two Americans win in the 100 and now two Americans win in the 200. The best thing about it is that the U.S. can do well."
For DeLoach, there was no greater satisfaction than beating his friend, training partner and mentor.
"Carl has been the inspiration for me," DeLoach said. "He's made the difference for me. We trained harder than we ever have for this race."
Steve Lewis, no relation to Carl, also led an American sweep in the 400, upsetting world record-holding teammate Butch Reynolds and barely missing a 20-year-old Olympic mark.
Lewis, 19, the youngest man on the U.S. track team, won in 43.87 seconds, one-hundredth of a second off Lee Evans' record in the high altitude of Mexico City in 1968. Reynolds won the silver and Lewis' UCLA teammate, Danny Everett, took the bronze.
It was far from an all-American day, however, despite six U.S. medals. The Soviets added five medals to continue their lead with 85, including 36 gold. East Germany is second with 29 gold and 73 medals overall, and the United States is third with 19 gold and 57 total medals.
In a renewal of an old and bitter rivalry, the Soviet and American basketball teams took the court against each other for the first time since the disputed gold medal game won in the final seconds by the Soviets at the 1972 Munich Games.
All the players this time were children when that last game was held, but so much was made of it going into the Olympics it seemed there was some kind of grudge to settle for the only American loss in Olympic history.
The only thing settled was that now there are two blotches on the otherwise perfect U.S. Olympic hoops record after an 82-76 semifinal victory by the Soviets.
The Soviets thoroughly outhustled and outmuscled the Americans, beating them fair and square and leaving no room for controversy.
Soviet coach Alexander Gomelski thanked U.S. pro and college basketball teams for helping his players beat the United States.
"This is very good preparation," Gomelski. "United States basketball and NBA basketball helps my country. I am very happy, and thank you United States basketball."
U.S. coach John Thompson, who had criticized the Portland Trail Blazers of the NBA for helping Soviet center Arvydas Sabonis recover from an Achilles' tendon injury, steered away from that issue afterward.
"Several NBA teams and franchises helped us, too," he said. "We lost the ball game. The NBA didn't lose the ball game today."
On the baseball diamond, though, the Americans avenged another defeat that had bruised the national ego in the 1984 Los Angeles Games. Japan beat the United States 6-3 in the 1984 title game, but this time the Americans returned the favor, 5-3.
Americans Riddick Bowe, Roy Jones, Kennedy McKinney, Kenneth Gould, Ray Mercer, Andrew Maynard, Michael Carbajal and Romallis Ellis assured themselves of at least bronze medals by winning their quarterfinal fights. But that's not good enough, say the boxers.
Jones, 156, unleashed a torrent of big rights to bloody Yevgeny Zaitsev in the first U.S.-Soviet Olympic boxing match since 1976, when Michael Spinks stopped Rufat Riskiev in the 165-pound finals.
Zaitsev's nose began bleeding after a right late in the first round, and Jones cut the Soviet's lip in the second en route to an easy 5-0 decision. The fight had to be stopped twice so blood could be wiped from Zaitsev's face.
Bowe, a super heavyweight, added a first-round knockout over Peter Hrivnak of Czechoslovakia four bouts later to cap a day that saw all five U.S. fighters in action win their bouts.
British two-time decathlon champion Daley Thompson is also going after gold. He led after three events - the 100, shot put and long jump - but dropped to third by the end of the first day of the two-day competition.
Sergei Bubka is flying high after winning the first Soviet gold in the pole vault at 19 feet, 41/4 inches and leading a sweep for his nation.
Meanwhile, an Olympic medical officer said that within an hour after Ben Johnson's world record in the 100-meter dash last Saturday, Johnson acknowledged he had taken three different medications before the race - including an injection.
Dr. Lee In-joon was the doping control coordinator who stood guard over Johnson immediately after the race and stayed with him for about 11/2 hours until the heavily muscled sprinter could produce a urine sample.
Lee said he and Johnson talked during the waiting period for at least 30 minutes, and Johnson seemed unusually subdued for someone who had just won a gold medal in the startling time of 9.79 seconds.
Lee said Johnson did not specify the medications he had taken. His sample, as discovered 36 hours later in laboratory analysis, contained the anabolic steroid stanazolol, and Johnson was stripped of his medal and banned from international competition for two years.
"He never told me he had taken any anabolic steroids," said Lee. But Lee said he had "a hunch," both from Johnson's statements and his demeanor, that he would flunk the drug test. "You get a feeling when you've seen athletes," he said. "Some have no idea of what's going on in doping control, and some are very defensive. I would say Mr. Johnson was more defensive."