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Arm Wrestling to Surfing : 6,000 to Gather for Police Olympics

Times Staff Writer

When an estimated 6,000 police officers from California converge on Newport Beach next week for the 1986 Police Olympics, sponsors of the event will include one that is near and dear to the hearts of many officers.

“It’s Winchell’s (doughnut shops).” joked Sgt. Robert Harrison, a volunteer olympics organizer. “They’re tentatively sponsoring a celebrity tug-of-war.” Harrison said the relationship between doughnuts and police “is a marriage made in heaven.”

The olympics include 44 sporting events for men and women in competitions ranging from arm wrestling to surfing. With police associations of Newport Beach and UC Irvine as hosts, the contest will be staged June 24-29.

Harrison said Newport Beach outbid police associations in Fullerton, San Bernardino and Stockton to hold the 20th annual event.

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“The olympics are really good for police because it involves sports competition and also it helps the public realize that, away from our jobs, we’re humans also,” Harrison said.

Competition is keen, he added, with many competitors of college class or better. Traditionally, stronger teams are fielded from the larger jurisdictions, including the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

But this year several Orange County officers are strong favorites to win or place high in their events. They include Ronald Whitlock, Orange police, table tennis; Jerry McGraw, Sheriff’s Department, triathlon, and Rick Thomson, Newport Beach, weightlifting.

Some of the more popular spectator events will be held June 27 and 28, including:

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- Arm wrestling, 2 p.m. June 27, Sheraton Newport Hotel.

- Basketball finals, 2 p.m. June 28, UCI’s Crawford Hall.

- Boxing, 7:30 p.m. June 28, UCI’s lower intramural field.

Events are free to the public.

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