Women's Olympic slate expands; Armas to Red Sox; kicking family
The 1984 Los Angeles Olympics will have 75 events for women, up from zero for the first modern Olympiad held in Athens in 1896.
Olympic requirements for women have varied over the years. Women's sports adopted for the 1984 Games were included only if they were played regularly in 25 countries and on three continents.
Of the several new women's events, officials say one of the most popular with viewers will probably be the marathon, thanks chiefly to the vastly increased television coverage road racing has received in recent years. Now when some announcer mentions marathon, nobody has to tell the average spectator that the distance is 26 miles, 385 yards.
With about 250 members of the National Football League Players' Association scheduled to become free agents by Feb. 1, franchise holders in the new United States Football League can't wait to reach for their checkbooks. Although the USFL doesn't have credibility on the field yet, many of its coaches are blue chippers, including John Ralston (Oakland Invaders); Chuck Fairbanks (New Jersey Stallions); George Allen (Chicago Blitz); and Red Miller (Denver Gold).
From director of player personnel and assistant coach Jack McMahon of the Philadelphia 76ers: ''Before we traded with the Houston Rockets for Moses Malone , Julius Erving had to work considerably harder for us on defense. But the way Malone often controls both backboards gives Erving more rest and more freedom to pursue his offense.''
Asked if he'd ever go back to being a head coach again in the NBA, McMahon replied: ''Not on your life. The thing that finally turned me off on coaching was how many players cut you up behind your back. I could take that stuff years ago, but not now.''
McMahon, a fine defensive player when he started alongside Slater Martin in the backcourt for the old St. Louis Hawks, later coached in the NBA with Chicago , Cincinnati, and San Diego. Jack won't admit it, of course, but the ''coaching smarts'' Philadelphia's Billy Cunningham shows today came largely as the result of McMahon's teaching.
General Manager Bill Torrey of the New York Islanders, hockey's defending Stanley Cup champions, says he is not satisfied with the way his team has played so far. Possibly this stems from the fact that the Islanders are now tied with St. Louis as the second oldest team in the National Hockey League in terms of average player age. ''While I don't think we're too old for another title,'' Torrey told reporters, ''I do think you risk the problems that come with too much self-satisfaction if you keep the same group together too long.'' So Islander fans are warned to look for a trade, nothing major perhaps, but enough to make the other natives restless enough to become more aggressive.
AS I SEE IT. . .Having traded with the Oakland A's for right-handed slugger Tony Armas, the Boston Red Sox now have a starting outfield (including Jim Rice and Dwight Evans) with the potential to hit 100 or so home runs. With Armas scheduled to hit behind Rice, pitchers can no longer afford the luxury of working around Jim. With Fenway Park's short left field fence to shoot at (it's only 315 feet down the line, although the wall is 37 feet high), Armas also figures to hit a ton of doubles.
The National League, unlike the American, counts only those fans who actually go through the turnstiles when announcing attendance figures. Meaning what? Meaning that while Los Angeles led both leagues in attendance last year by drawing more than 3,600,000 spectators, the Dodgers actually sold closer to 4 million tickets! LA has cut its season-ticket sales for 1983 off at 27,000, so as not to interfere with group purchases, family sales, and promotion dates. No team in major league baseball promotes or merchandises with the expertise of the Dodgers, who even have a retail store right in their own stadium.
If you're looking for America's top football family, a good place to start might be Chino, Calif., which has become the place kicking capital of the world. The family's name is Zendejas, and six family members represent the clan on college or high school gridirons. Joaquin kicks for the University of LaVerne; Tony for Nevada-Reno; Luis for Arizona State; Max for Arizona, and two more (Martin and Alan) for the same high school. They all were originally soccer players from Mexico City, but who can blame them if their thoughts are turning these days toward all that NFL gold? All-told, the six young men have kicked approximately 150 extra points and 81 field goals this season.
When Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn., rejected a CBS offer of $34, 000 to televise its home game with Tufts during the pro-football strike, heads snapped to attention all over the East. Actually there was only one catch to the CBS offer - that Wesleyan switch its Saturday game to Sunday. But the school decided against it on the basis that it would upset the normal weekend activities of many of its students and friends. End of story? Not quite. When a wealthy Wesleyan alumnus read about this in the papers, he immediately dispatched a $34,000 check to his old school. But there was a catch there, too: the donor asked to remain anonymous!