The Seoul Olympics ended for America on Sunday with a boxing decision that didn't ring true. Flo Jo still shined 24-karat and the men's volleyball team won, but the Games were a big gold heist for Roy Jones.
The head of the International Amateur Boxing Association said it looked like Jones had beaten his South Korean opponent, but three of five judges saw it otherwise, and that cost the United States a gold-medal tie with East Germany.It was a dim note to a Games that almost ended with a glow for America when Florence Griffith Joyner added another gold and silver on Saturday to her record-setting Games.
In the final day of the Games, the Soviets had 132 medals, 55 gold. East Germany had 102, and 37 gold, while the United States had 94 and 36 gold, including three gold, three silver and two bronze from its boxers.
Anwar Chowdhry of Pakistan, president of AIBA, told NBC he thought the decision was unfair, adding: "Unfortunately, in boxing we have been having bad decisions in every international tournament."
He then revealed that AIBA had picked Jones as the outstanding boxer of the tournament.
Adams said he saw a Korean offer gold to some of the judges for the Jones fight, and he said he reported it to U.S. officials.
"I saw somebody show some gold and somebody opening a wallet," Adams said. "There were pieces of gold wrapped in a rag. I don't know whether they took it or not. I'm not saying they took it."
Adams later denied that what he saw were key chains.
After the decision was announced, Jones put his face in his towel, obviously shocked and upset with the decision, and he left the ring a disappointed silver medalist.
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NBC's CompuBox credited Jones with landing 86 punches to 32 for the Korean. The Hungarian and Soviet judges scored it lopsidedly for Jones. The judges from Uruguay, Morocco and Uganda gave it narrowly to Park.
Andrew Maynard came back with a 5-0 decision over Soviet Nourmagomed Chanavazov at 178 pounds, and it was some consolation, but not for Jones, who said he may now quit boxing.
In volleyball, the United States avenged its basketball loss to the Soviets by beating them in the gold-medal volleyball game, 13-15, 15-10, 15-4, 15-8. Led by the spikes of Steve Timmons and Karch Kiraly, the Americans won their second straight gold medal in the sport.
Argentina beat Brazil 15-10, 15-17, 15-8, 12-15, 15-9 for the bronze.
Griffith Joyner won three gold medals and, when she went for a fourth on Saturday, she just ran out of Flo go. No more gold for the flashy lady in the red tights and painted talons.
But she has graced these Games with astonishing speed, as though she would run away from her shadow, and that was enough to forget for a while the drugs, the disgrace and the extra-curricular fist fights that took their toll in Seoul.
"I can't even find the words," she said. "I'm just so happy."
On Sunday, diver Greg Louganis, who pulled off the first double gold sweep in consecutive Games by a man, accepted the Olympic Spirit Award as the top American athlete in the Games. He then announced his retirement as a diver to become a movie star.
"This is a great way to end my diving career," said the 28-year-old Louganis, the bald spot still showing where he cracked his head on the board during the springboard competition. "I have decided that this was my last competition."
Evelyn Ashford ran down the Soviet bloc, helping Griffith Joyner win her third gold medal in the 400-meter relay, but, with Flo Jo at anchor, the women could do no better than second in the 1,600-meter relay.
The U.S. men, on the other hand, tied the 20-year-old world record in their 1,600 relay for another gold, anchored by 400-meter world record-holder Butch Reynolds.
"I broke a 20-year-old record," Reynolds said, "and I wanted the team to be part of breaking another 20-year-old world record. We came up just on the right time."
Griffith Joyner, the world record-holder, won the 100 meters, then broke the world record twice in winning the 200, too. On Saturday, she ran the third 100-meter leg of the 400 relay.
A bit of a sloppy baton pass cost the Americans some time, and Ashford, the world's second-fastest woman, took off on the anchor leg with both Natalia Pomochtchnikova of the Soviet Union and Marlies Gohr of East Germany ahead of her.
Ashford turned on the speed and, about halfway through the last 100 meters, began to overtake the two. She passed the Soviet, then blazed past Gohr, flashing home in 41.98. East Germany was second in 42.09, the Soviets third in 42.75.
"I'm proud of us! We said a prayer for our relay team, and we got it," Ashford said. "I barely got it. I had to dig in and go."
That's what Flo Jo had to do in her next and final race, the 1,600-meter relay 40 minutes later. She was two or three strides behind Olga Bryzgina of the Soviet Union when she took the baton from Valerie Brisco for the final 400 meters.
"I thought she was going to be a little stronger," Brisco said of Griffith Joyner, "but I knew she was a little bit fatigued, and she's kind of nervous before."
Griffith Joyner crossed the finish line, still two or three strides behind the Soviet, and she added a silver to her three gold.
It was no disgrace. The 400 meters is twice as long as anything she trains for, and she didn't ask for a spot on the team.
"She didn't come to us. We came to her," U.S. sprint coach Fred Thompson said. "She's always kept her commitments. It could have been otherwise, but she did everything we asked."
Still, Flo Jo's 400-meter time of 48.1 seconds was the fastest of the four, and she was only .02 slower than Bryzgina, who brought the Soviets home in world record time of 3:15.18. The U.S. team finished in 3:15.51.