The big news
Led by former USC star Cheryl Miller, the U.S. women’s basketball team completed its steamrollering Olympic journey, defeating South Korea, 85-55. It was the first gold medal in women’s basketball for the U.S.
Afterward, Coach Pat Summitt was given a ride by her players, including Miller, who dominated the game -- scoring 16 points, grabbing 11 rebounds and adding five assists.
No team came within 28 points of the U.S. in six games, though some suggested that might not have been the case had the Soviet Union not boycotted the Games.
The big surprise
Four days earlier, the U.S. women’s volleyball team knocked off China in pool play. But on this day, China dominated when it mattered most -- in the gold-medal game -- beating the Americans, 16-14, 15-3, 15-9. The U.S. had one of the most experienced teams at the Games -- six of its members had been training together since 1978 -- but it wasn’t enough, and the U.S. had to settle for silver. Still, it was the first team medal for the U.S. in the event.
Debbie Green was on that U.S. volleyball team that took silver and, looking back, says it took some time to get over that result.
“I’m better with it now, but for many, many years, the silver medal . . . I was disappointed,” she said. “I felt like we didn’t accomplish, I felt like we disappointed.”
The Chinese, she said “were looser. They had nothing to lose -- we had beaten them.”
Green recently retired from her post as an assistant coach with Long Beach State’s volleyball team after 23 years.
Now, she said, she is looking to travel and be with her daughter, Dana Vargas, who will be a senior setter for the UC Santa Barbara volleyball team.
From the archives
“The whole tournament is conducted in such an atmosphere of suffocating politeness, it’s even impossible to taunt your opponent in the ring. Talking deducts points. Ali would be unable to function. Imagine not being able to call your opponent a ‘washerwoman’!?” -- Los Angeles Times columnist Jim Murray on the drawbacks to Olympic boxing.
The U.S. show jumping team. Coach Frank Chapot said his team would win a gold medal, and it did -- convincingly. The U.S. finished with a score of 12 while Britain tallied a 36.75 score and West Germany scored 39.25.
“The Americans made us look like fools,” said West German anchor rider Paul Schockemohle, whose team was expected to be a strong competitor for the U.S. “They were so good and unbeatable today. It was absolutely impossible to believe how they beat the competition.”
-- Baxter Holmes