THE 1987 PAN AMERICAN GAMES : Notes : Patrick McEnroe Left Out of Event by Mistake

Times Staff Writer

Controversy is nothing new to the McEnroe family of Oyster Bay, N.Y., but this time it's brother Patrick, not John, who's involved, and it isn't his fault.

Because John Hubbell, coach of the U.S. tennis team, thought only two players could be entered in Pan American Games singles competition, he chose USC's Luke Jensen, who is from Ludington, Mich., and Al Parker of Claxton, Ga.

But, according to the rules, Hubbell could have entered three players in singles, meaning McEnroe, who plays for Stanford, could have been in the draw. Instead, he will play only doubles.

No Surprise Here: While three other judges said that winner Luz Mery Tristan should have been disqualified for pushing three other roller skaters in the women's 5,000-meter race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Wednesday, they were overruled by the head judge, who is from Colombia.

So is Tristan.

Paying a visit to the yachting competition in Michigan City, Ind., Stars & Stripes captain Dennis Conner said a sailor's ability is better tested by the Pan American Games than the America's Cup.

"There's more of a premium on actual sailing ability in the Pan American Games," he said. "This is really a good test to find out who's the best sailor rather than who's got the best organization."

Conner also predicted that the 1990 America's Cup defense will be held in San Diego.

"They really have their hearts set on hosting it," he said.

Now that Tracie Ruiz-Conforto, who won two gold medals in the 1984 Summer Olympics, has made a comeback in synchronized swimmer, what are the chances of her former partner, Candie Costie, also returning?

"I talked to her right after I came back last year," Ruiz-Conforto said. "I thought I almost had her. She had that glimmer in her eyes. But, in the end, she decided she had too many other things going on."

Ruiz-Conforto, 24, won the solo competition here Wednesday night with a score of 195.48, higher than the score she had when she won the 1983 Pan American Games in Caracas, Venezuela.

"I really think I'm better now than I was in 1984," said Ruiz-Conforto, whose retirement after the Olympics lasted for a little more than two years. "I have taken everything I learned and refined it."

In the category of risking life and limb for dear old Trinidad and Tobago, Derek Lee was shifted to goal when regular goaltender Joseph Lee was ejected from his country's field hockey game against Chile.

Some of the shots, with a very hard plastic covered ball, sail at the goalie at 80 m.p.h. And Lee stood in goal with no mask and no pads, just cute field hockey shorts and knee socks.

"It's unusual for that to happen," said Coach Errol Hartley. "But we had the option of putting in a second goalkeeper or taking off a player (after the ejection, the team has to play one man short)."

Give Lee some credit for intelligence. Chile scored two of its four goals against him.

If a computer had been used, as was the case at the 1984 Olympics and the 1986 World Championships at Reno, Wednesday's boxing draw would have taken less than an hour.

Some Latin countries, however, including Cuba, asked that a computer not be used and the draw took about 3 1/2 hours.

"Some of the other countries felt we'd somehow trick them if we used a computer," said a U.S. official.

And so, numbered Ping-Pong balls were plucked from a vigorously shaken brown grocery bag.

Jimmy Kim, the U.S. heavyweight who is from Cerritos, said that he was not surprised to learn that all of the taekwondo events were sold out months ago. "We had a competition in Anaheim not long ago that drew over 7,000," he said.

Kim, one of two world champions on the U.S. team, was asked what he thought of the Karate Kid movies.

"I felt the movies gave a good representation of what students do in martial arts," he said. "A lot of people think it's for learning how to defend yourself, but it's also for improving yourself as a person."

Coach Sang Lee said: "It not only teaches kicking and punching, it teaches discipline and respect."

Taekwondo is an exhibition event here, and Chris Spencer, a competitor from Ohio, thinks that a lot of people will come to see it just to learn about the sport. Then, too, there will be some of the more than 18,000 athletes registered with the national taekwondo organization who want to see this level of competition.

Michael Weintraub, executive director of the U.S. Taekwondo Union, said: "People have seen pro karate and have not been impressed. They might think that we are the amateur level of that sport. But there is no comparison. That would be like comparing Hulk Hogan to an Olympic wrestler."

The U.S. women's basketball team has been hit with yet another knee injury. Add point guard Kamie Ethridge to the list of the fallen. She was hurt during Wednesday night's game against Peru when she landed hard on her right knee.

U.S. Coach Jody Conradt, who coached Ethridge at the University of Texas, said that with her most experienced point guard out, she might have to use off guard Teresa Edwards at the point position.

Ethridge led Texas to a 34-0 record and a National Collegiate Athletic Assn. title as a senior in 1986.

Times sports editor Bill Dwyre and staff writers Tracy Dodds and Earl Gustkey contributed to this story.

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World