The Crowd: Olympic-themed event draws gold

The Trojan League of Orange County made a splash in Fashion Island at the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa, attracting hundreds of local USC alum for poolside cocktails followed by a dinner program in the ballroom. Co-chairs Melanie Salata Fitch and Carol MacDougall appropriately labeled the evening a "synchronized splash" honoring USC Olympians from Orange County, many of whom were from the worlds of swimming, diving, water polo and beach volleyball.

An upbeat crowd led by Trojan league president Susan Ferrari mingled with notable USC athletic standouts, including the legendary Sammy Lee, the first American of Asian descent to win an Olympic gold medal for the USA in the 1948 London Olympics. Lee achieved his medal in the men's platform diving and followed the success with a repeat performance, winning gold again in the 1952 Helsinki games. Lee and his wife visited with longtime friend Paul Salata, a former USC football standout who went on to play for the NFL before starting a successful career in construction and property development in Southern California.

From the 1976 games in Montreal, USC swimmer John Naber — America's most decorated Olympian at those games, winning four gold medals each in world record time — joined with fellow Montreal gold medal winner Bruce Furniss, the Gilchrist brothers, Allen and Sandy, and a host of accomplished Olympians, including Tumua Anae, Cynthia Brennan, Shea Buckner, Gary Carlsen, Richard Charlesworth, Janet Evans, Jen Kessy, Amy Rodriguez, Kim Ruddins, Kaitlin Sandeno, Rod Strachan and USC swimming head coach Dave Salo.

Funds raised will support student scholarships at USC and will be matched by additional university aid. The Trojan League of Orange County celebrates 52 years of support for the university.

The world of sports is front and center this month as America's fan base is glued to the televised NCAA March Madness basketball showdown. Amid the excitement, there is controversy. On April 18, Jerry Argovitz, partner of Donald Trump, National Football League agent and author of the book "Super Agent," an expose on the power and politics behind the scenes in both the NFL and the NCAA, will speak at the Balboa Bay Resort. Argovitz's subject will advance his plan to reform the world of college sports as well as a platform to end "corruption in the hallowed NCAA," reports the author. To attend the lecture, make a reservation by calling (949) 630-4120.

The National Charity League, Jr.'s of Newport Beach held their elegant spring mother/daughter fashion luncheon this past week at the Island Hotel. Presided over by league president Hannah Lee and event co-chairs Jenny Gehl, Laura Baskurt and Monique Tipton, the March 23 event, billed as "Ooh La La," took on a decidedly Parisian theme. The Island ballroom was transformed into a magical French street setting, complete with glorious flower stands, baguette carts, patisserie and street artists.

Bloomingdale's at Fashion Island, represented by the lovely Kim Van Natter, supervised the fashion presentation featuring the runway talents of professional adult models and sixth-grade National Charity League, Jr. girls. Models included Sara Beasley, Lexi Davin, Ellie Gehl, Emily Johnson, Gianna Lee, Paisley Pittman, Anna Steelberg, Ella Baskurt, Mary Becker, Catherine Enkema, Ivy Helman, Ashley Lang, Tessa Montgomery, Caitlyn Purdy, Sienna Stewart and Lucy Tipton.

Funds raised from the event benefit three charities: High Hopes Head Injury Program, Harry and Grace Steele Children's Center and Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation.

Gloria Zigner's CHOC Follies hits the stage this weekend in Costa Mesa at the Robert B. Moore Theatre at Orange Coast College. This season's extravaganza is billed as "Viva CHOC Vegas! — Guys, Gals and Romance in the Land of Lady Luck." Directed by John Vaughan, music by Doug Austin and choreographed by Lee Martino, the show features local talent under the chairmanship of philanthropic gals Sandy Segerstrom Daniels, Dale Skiles and SueAnn Cross. The follies are scheduled to play through Saturday. For tickets and information, go to or call (714) 509-8690.

THE CROWD runs Fridays. B.W. Cook is editor of the Bay Window, the official publication of the Balboa Bay Club in Newport Beach.

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