The Korean people, sensitive to where their Seoul Olympics will measure in history, have made America-bashing an unofficial Olympic sport.

"Americans' presence here comes under sharp questioning," said the headline Wednesday in the Korea Herald. The newspaper questioned if the United States is friend or foe."Is it the same Uncle Sam who came to our rescue when the Korean War broke out in 1950? Or is it an imperialistic power, as claimed by what both Korean and U.S. governments consider an isolated group of radical students?" read the editorial.

The article, typical of many in the Korean press lately, went on to criticize NBC's coverage of the Olympics, regarded as "extremely prejudiced" against the Koreans; U.S. arrogance (as typified by the "uncontrollable" behavior of the American team in the Opening Ceremonies); and what they perceived as the American media's glossing over of the suspected theft story involving U.S. swimmers Troy Dalbey and Doug Gjertsen.

"Is this the nation which poured billions of dollars into Korea to help it stand on its own feet?" concluded the Herald's editorial. "Or is it the same nation that went into a secret pact with Japan (the Katsura-Taft agreement of 1905), permitting Japan to annex Korea five years later?"

*** 2nd Add BASHING: Meanwhile, Troy Dalbey, the U. S. swimmer who took the statue from the Seoul Hyatt Hotel, remains in Korea. Dalbey, Doug Gjertsen and their coach, Ernest Grynde, spent eight hours talking to police Wednesday, as authorities still mulled over the question of pressing charges.

The manager of the Hyatt preferred to not press charges, when he was satisfied that the theft was nothing more than a prank. But because of the national concern over the Olympic image, Dalbey and Gjertsen's prank turned into an international incident and the government is responding to public pressure.

*** As the final of the U.S.-Russia basketball game demonstrated, the international rule that gives a team the option of either shooting free throws or taking the ball out-of-bounds after a foul in the last minute speeds up the game and effectively eliminates the foul-line parade often seen in American games.

The Russians repeatedly took the ball out-of-bounds, frustrating any attempts by the U.S. to get the ball back after free throws.

And although, in this case, that didn't aid the United States' cause, it made a strong case for the adoption of the rule in the United States.

*** SEOULQUOTE: Brazil basketball player Maury Souza, who wins the Dick Vitale hoof-in-mouth award for this U. S.-USSR pre-game prediction: "If the Russians try to run with them, it's a covenant of death."