DAY 1 : THE SEOUL GAMES : Track Nominee Upset He Isn’t Flag Bearer
Evelyn Ashford may have carried the flag for the United States Saturday in the opening ceremony of the Seoul Olympics, but it is discus thrower Mac Wilkins who may be carrying a grudge about the whole episode.
Wilkins is upset that Ashford, not he, was the flag bearer, according to Ed Burke of Los Gatos, the former hammer thrower who carried the flag in 1984.
Burke, a close friend of Wilkins, told The Times that Wilkins called him early Friday morning and told him this story:
Wilkins was the track team’s unanimous nominee to carry the flag. The team’s captain failed to show at a meeting last Thursday with captains from other sports.
Sprinter Harvey Glance, however, attended the meeting on his own. When track was called on to announce its nominee for flag bearer, no one spoke up. Glance said he didn’t know who the nominee was but that Ashford and hurdler Edwin Moses would be good choices.
Those names were treated as nominations from the floor.
Wilkins, 37, is a four-time Olympian and former world record-holder in the discus. When Wilkins found out about the voting he was furious. Burke said that Wilkins confronted Ashford and asked her to step down. She refused.
A U.S. Olympic Committee spokesman in Seoul confirmed that Burke’s account of the situation was accurate.
“I’m proud of Evelyn,” Burke said. "(But) the fact is that Mac was cheated out of his place in history.”
Wilkins told Burke he had complained to Evie Dennis, the U.S. chef de mission. Dennis reportedly told Wilkins that something would be done.