THE SEOUL GAMES : Notes : No Charges Against Two U.S. Swimmers

From Staff and Wire Reports

Two U.S. Olympic swimmers left South Korea after a government prosecutor decided not to file charges against them for taking a decorative mask from a hotel bar.

Gold-medal winners Troy Dalbey of San Jose and Doug Gjertsen of Houston departed a few hours after prosecutor Yoo Sung Soo announced that he was dropping the case.

"The case is closed and no charges will be filed," Yoo said.

Yoo said earlier that he had notified the U.S. Embassy in Seoul that the two Americans could leave South Korea on Saturday. Their departure on Friday was believed aimed at evading media attention and was not expected to cause legal problems.

The prosecutor said he decided not to press charges because the pair had apologized to the South Korean people.

Dalbey, Gjertsen and former swimmer Ernest Mangum were questioned by police for stealing a $900 marble lion's head carving from a hotel last Saturday. The two swimmers said in a statement Tuesday that the incident was a prank to celebrate their gold-medal victories in two Olympic swimming relays the previous day. They apologized and said they hoped the incident would not damage relations between the United States and South Korea.

Linford Christie, the British sprinter who failed a preliminary drug test, will be allowed to stay in the Olympics and keep the silver medal won in an earlier race, officials said.

Christie passed a drug test after last weekend's 100-meter race, but another test was taken after the 200-meter race, in which he finished fourth. The International Olympic Committee said it has never faced a situation where an athlete tested positive for one event and not another.

The IOC also announced that it had suspended wrestler Alidad of Afghanistan and Kerrith Brown of Britain, a judo competitor. Both tested positive for diuretics, and Brown was stripped of a bronze medal.

The IOC's medical commission decided against penalizing Christie, the silver medalist in the 100, after he told the panel he had taken nothing but health products including ginseng, the British Olympic Assn. said.

Christie said he took ginseng, an exotic root, on the recommendation of advisers. Officials said he tested positive for a banned substance called pseudoephedrine, which is found in cold and hay fever preparations and is available over the counter.

In 1972, U.S. swimmer Rick DeMont lost a gold medal in the 200-meter freestyle for taking an asthma drug containing ephedrine. Since then, the IOC and most international sports federations have decreased penalties for accidental use of drugs such as ephedrine.

Cheers and applause came from a crowded board room as the Anchorage Organizing Committee voted unanimously Wednesday to continue its previously defeated drive and bid for the 1998 Winter Olympics.

The first step for the AOC will be to apply to the United States Olympic Committee, which will select its nominee in 1989.

Less than 2 weeks ago, the AOC made a strong showing in its bid for the 1994 Games by landing 23 votes, and a second-place position, in the first-round balloting by the IOC. The Games ultimately went to Lillehammer, Norway.

The USOC and The Athletics Congress, America's governing body for track and field, said they were interested in Florence Griffith Joyner's invitation to test her every week to prove she does not use drugs.

Dr. Robert Voy, in charge of the USOC's sports medicine and science program, said it was "a wonderful idea."

"For someone of Florence's status to volunteer for a program such as this would be a major step forward," Voy said. "It is certainly something that we would consider doing."

Troops and police will outnumber Olympic marathon runners 300 to 1 in a security operation to protect Sunday's race from South Korean student radicals.

Students have vowed to disrupt the race--the last event of the Games--unless their detained union leader is released.

An Olympic security official said that 36,000 policemen and a 7,500-strong paramilitary task force would guard the marathon route through the streets of Seoul. The official, who asked not to be named, said about 100 armed commandos would ride in vans in front and behind the 133 runners.

Marksmen will be stationed in high-rise buildings flanking the course.

Bucky Buckwalter, the Portland Trail Blazers' vice president, is in Seoul trying to bring Soviet star Arvydas Sabonis, the team's first-round draft pick in 1986, to the National Basketball Assn.

But Buckwalter doubts Sabonis will be in a Portland uniform when the Blazers open fall camp late next week. He said Sabonis probably will play for his club team this season and might join the Blazers next summer.

Will he be welcome?

In the wake of the United States' loss to the Soviet Union in the semifinals, the Trail Blazers are getting angry phone calls from their own fans, protesting their recent aid to the injured Soviet center.

One caller suggested the club change its name to "Traitor Blazers."

As athletes from 160 countries face off at the Olympic venues, they are also using a computer system to send each other anything from notes on competitors to love letters.

The Wide Information Network System (WINS) provides competition results, athlete profiles and a bulletin board of announcements. But the most popular feature is an electronic mail network through which the 30,000 athletes, officials and journalists in Seoul can stay in touch.

American Rob Stull, who had a disastrous first day in the modern pentathlon, got some cheering up.

"After the ride, I probably had 10 or 12 messages telling me not to give up, telling me to donate the horse to the dog food company," Stull said.

About 200 athletes a day use the computers, said Lee Eun Kyong, assistant manager for marketing and sales for Data Communications Corp. of Korea, which designed the system.

"They send messages to each other, mostly love letters," Lee said.

One of Seoul's nightspots is J.J. Mahoney's, a hotel jazz bar and dance club.

The jazz side of Mahoney's offered a special treat the other night when former Boston Celtics Coach K.C. Jones took the stage with some musically moonlighting GIs.

Though he denied a second career was in the making, Jones--who is trying to persuade Yugoslavia's Stojan Vrankovic that Boston is better than Barcelona, site of the 1992 Olympics--swooned the audience with mellow renditions of "Sunny" and "Misty."

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