There’s No Silver Lining in This Second-Place Finish for France

France’s 400-meter relay team might have expected a warm welcome upon its return to Paris with a silver medal, but non .

The French sports daily L’Equipe, in a front-page headline, dubbed the team “Poor Losers” and ran a photograph of the foursome on the winner’s podium, their arms crossed, looking casually about while members of the gold medal-winning United States team stood at attention with hands on their hearts.

“They should have been happy, the French, with their silver medal,” L’Equipe said. “But no! They didn’t applaud the winners, didn’t shake their hands.

“With the American national anthem resounding, they looked around every which way, with Marie-Rose (unwittingly?) resting his foot on the highest step of the winner’s platform.”


L’Equipe referred to Bruno Marie-Rose, who ran the French anchor leg and whom the paper quoted as having mockingly claimed that Carl Lewis would only see his back as Marie-Rose burned up the track ahead of him.

The Americans--Andre Cason, Leroy Burrell, Dennis Mitchell and Lewis--ran a world-record time of 37.50 seconds on Sunday, the final day of the track and field World Championships.

Trivia time: Who holds the record for most points scored in an NFL game?

Jumping generations: Mike Powell had the sports experience of a lifetime last week when he broke Bob Beamon’s 23-year-old long jump record at the World Championships at Tokyo. He had another when he met the man whose record he broke.


"(Monday), I met Bob Beamon for the first time since I set the record,” Powell, 27, said. “I didn’t think he respected me, but it turned out that all he knew about me was what was reported. He didn’t really know me at all.

“He met me, hugged me and started crying. It was a great moment for me, an emotional one that I’ll always remember. The feeling I got was that he was passing the torch on to me. We’ll always have a special friendship.”

Quarterback fade: At the rate NFL quarterbacks are dropping--four during the first week--every starter in the NFL will be out by the seventh week of the season.

Thus the question is raised: Can today’s quarterbacks, blind-sided by players bigger and stronger than ever, stay unhurt for 16 weeks?


“I don’t think it’s impossible,” Coach Joe Gibbs of the Washington Redskins told the Baltimore Sun. “A lot of them will stay healthy.”

But will Washington’s Mark Rypien?

The Redskins, under Gibbs, lost Joe Theismann with a career-ending broken leg in 1985, Jay Schroeder with a shoulder injury in the 1987 opener, Doug Williams with a back problem in 1987, an appendectomy in 1988 and back surgery in 1989, and Rypien with a shoulder injury in 1988 and a knee injury last year.

“It’s been a concern of ours in the past,” Gibbs said. “So, hey, we’ve just got to see what happens.”


Who’s left?: With the NFL season only a week old, consider those already out of action:

Joe Montana, MVP the last two seasons; Randall Cunningham, one of the game’s most exciting quarterbacks; Barry Sanders, one of the league’s most exciting running backs, who suffered bruised ribs, and Bruce Smith, last season’s defensive player of the year, who had knee surgery.

Irony: Who would have guessed that, within a six-month span, UCLA would lose to Penn State in the NCAA basketball tournament and USC would lose a football game to Memphis State?

For what it’s worth: USC’s record in its last 10 season-opening football games is 5-4-1.


Trivia answer: Ernie Nevers of the Chicago Cardinals, 40 points on six touchdowns and four extra points against the Chicago Bears in 1929.

On this date: On September 4, 1920, Man O’ War won the 1 5/8-mile Lawrence Realization Stakes at Belmont Park by 100 lengths, the largest winning margin in modern racing history. His time for the race, 2:40 4/5, shattered the world record by 6 4/5 seconds and was his fifth record-setting performance that year.

Quotebook: Steve Smith, manager of the Class-A Peninsula Pilots, as the Carolina League team celebrated after ending a 22-game losing streak, the longest in league history, by defeating the Kinston Indians in the last game of the season: “Look at this, it’s like they won the World Series. It’s been three weeks of this . . . and we can finally feel good about ourselves.”