America's third-place finish at the Seoul Olympics shows the nation "still produces superstars and super heroes,' while pointing the way toward better things in 1992, the head of the U.S. Olympic Committee said Sunday.
Robert Helmick, USOC president, said the performances by U.S. athletes in the first Olympic meeting of East and West since 1976 was a satisfying start toward reclaiming the top spot America relinquished four years earlier."Our showing was certainly within our range of expectations," Helmick said at a news conference. "We got medals in 16 of the 23 sports, and that shows our programs are working."
Going into Sunday's final day, the United States had 89 medals, including 34 golds. The Soviet Union was first with 54 golds and 127 medals, followed by East Germany with 101 medals and 37 golds.
"It shows that the United States still produces superstars and super heroes," the USOC chief said.
The USOC later announced that the Olympic team had been invited to the White House to meet President Reagan. The visit was set for Oct. 24.
Helmick was accompanied by two of the Games' biggest stars - double gold-medal diver Greg Louganis and sprinter Florence Griffith Joyner, who won three golds and a silver.
Louganis was given the Olympic Spirit Award as the top U.S. athlete in the Games, then announced his retirement to concentrate on acting. He is the winningest men's diver in Olympic history, with four gold medals.
Both athletes applauded the U.S. showing in Seoul.
"For the Americans to come here and do as we as we did, I was very proud," Griffith Joyner said.
"I think we did a fantastic job," said Louganis.
But Helmick said the United States was far from finished and was not satisfied with third place.
"We are striving to do better," he said. "What the performance here is, is a roadmap to 1992."