THE SEOUL GAMES : Notes : Canadian Sailor Takes Time Out From Finn Race to Make Rescue
The wind was gusting to 30 knots and waves were 10 to 12 feet high off the coast of Pusan, South Korea when Canadian Finn sailor Lawrence Lemieux had to choose between continuing an Olympic race or helping a fellow sailor in distress Saturday. He chose the latter and was rewarded Sunday.
The jury awarded Lemieux second-place points for his gallantry, the position he was in when he spotted an exhausted Singapore 470 sailor, who had fallen off his boat and drifted away.
“Good for Larry and good for the jury,” said Dave Ullman, a U.S. sailing coach.
After the rescue, Lemieux had dropped to 23rd place and finished 21st.
“He was obviously desperate,” Lemieux said of Joseph Chan, the man he rescued. “He had hurt his back and was shouting.”
The currents had already swept Chan about 25 yards away from his boat. Chan, burdened with a water-filled weight jacket for ballast, was too exhausted to heave himself into the boat when Lemieux got to him. After Lemieux helped him in, they waited for a rescue boat before the Canadian could continue his race.
Lemieux was pleased with the decision but said the ruling “was pretty normal.”
“The very first rule is to help people in distress,” he said.
Without the ruling, Lemieux said he would be in 18th position overall, instead of 8th.
Sunday was Chusok, the South Korean equivalent of the American Thanksgiving. It is a day when the Korean people hold memorial services for their ancestors; make offerings of fruit, rice cakes and rice wine; women take part in a folk dance ritual, and men compete in Korean wrestling.
The South Korean delegation participating in the Summer Olympics gathered in the main plaza of the Olympic Village at Seoul for memorial services. Kim Jip, chief of mission of the South Korean delegation, delivered a message that said, in part:
“On this moon festival we bow in respect to our ancestors and thank them for all the benefits we received from them. In their presence, we express our unwavering will to fight to the limit of our possibilities so that we may reach our goal of obtaining six gold medals or even more and in doing so, we will bring great pride and joy to our ancestors and to our entire nation.”
Through Sunday, the South Koreans had amassed 10 medals, two of them gold.
Muddy medal: Davide Tizzano came from Italy to row for a gold medal in the Olympics, and now it’s lost under a layer of mud.
Tizzano, a 20-year-old member of Italy’s winning quadruple sculls boat, was celebrating with his teammates after winning the gold medal. He was tossed from the boat dock into the water, clutching his medal. It slipped away and disappeared into the water of the new Han River Regatta Course, which is 10 feet deep.
Four rowers launched a search, without success.
Tizzano was furious.
“Maybe they’ll give me another one,” he said.
It has happened before. At the 1956 Olympic Games at Melbourne, Australia, Soviet single sculler Vyacheslav Ivanov tossed his gold medal into the air in celebration and it came down in the waters of Lake Wendouree.
The International Olympic Committee gave Ivanov a duplicate. He won two more gold medals in subsequent Olympics.
Who needs a medal, anyway?: Australian rower James Galloway will leave the Olympics without a medal, but he did corral a U.S. rain jacket.
“The one thing I wanted,” he said with a smile, holding up the red and blue nylon shell. “The rest is just incidental.”
As the racing boats were packed away Sunday, out came the duffel bags bursting with national team paraphernalia. The boathouse resembled a bargain basement, with athletes changing in and out of their competitors’ colors.
An American searched out a Yugoslav suit.
“It’s the only country I don’t have,” he said.
“I’d really like to get an East German sweat suit,” said Canadian sculler Kay Worthington, casting a glance at the double-blue outfit, with the initials “DDR” on the front. “But they won’t trade. They only want money.”
A white and red Polish track suit with “Polska” spelled out across the shoulders, and still in the plastic, went for $100. A slightly dirty gray and red Soviet rain jacket with “CCCP” on the back, was $50. T-shirts, take your pick, about $10.
Bob Espeseth of Champaign, Ill., had 450 of his own T-shirts printed, with depictions of each country’s oar colors under the words “Seoul 1988.”
“They’re the most popular item this year,” he said. “I’ve only got one left and if I held it up now, there’d be a free-for-all.”
Hand slap: Coach Mohamed Lamine Azziz Derouaz of the Algerian men’s Olympic handball team has been suspended for today’s game against the Soviet Union for assaulting one of his players during Algeria’s 23-22 loss to Yugoslavia, the International Handball Federation said Sunday.
Algeria (0-3) shared last place in the six-team Group A with the United States. The Soviets lead Group A with a 3-0 record with two games to play in the Olympics preliminary round.
Business is good: Ticket sales for 11 Olympic events have exceeded 90%, the organizers said, adding that the start of the two-day South Korean holiday brought out more spectators Sunday.
Tickets for gymnastics, which ended Sunday, swimming, diving, synchronized swimming, judo and cycling were nearly sold out. Sales also exceeded 90% for table tennis, track and field, shooting, volleyball and archery. Some of South Korea’s best medal hopes are in table tennis and archery.
The slowest sales were 39% for canoeing, 42% for rowing and 35% for baseball, a demonstration sport.
Overall, 75% of the 3.97 million tickets for the 16-day Games have been sold, the committee said.