Wind, water, and a powerful horse named Big Ben were Canada’s best hopes for more medals as the 1988 Olympics entered the second, and final, week. After a week of disappointment in the pool and Ben Johnson’s dramatic victory, attention focused on equestrian Ian Millar and his chestnut show jumper, Big Ben, on synchronized swimming star Carolyn Waldo and on sailors Frank McLaughlin and John Millen. But as the Games passed the midpoint, it seemed certain that the Eastern Bloc, led by the powerful Soviets, would continue to dominate the medal count. Pole-vault phenomenon Sergei Bubka and middle-distance runner Tatiana Samolenko were among the stars expected to shine for the Soviets in Week 2. But while the medal race belonged to the Soviets, some of the limelight returned to Carl Lewis, who, after losing to Johnson, still had a chance to repeat his 1984 Olympic gold-medal victories in the 200-m dash, long jump and 4 x 100-m relay.
Strong: But there would be other dramas on the stadium field under the glow of the Seoul Olympic flame. On Wednesday, flamboyant American sprinter Florence Griffith-Joyner, known as “Flo-Jo” and noted for her flashy track outfits and long, painted fingernails, would begin her pursuit of a gold in the 200-m race. On the same day, Bubka, the 24-year-old pole-vaulter who has broken his own world record— now 19 feet, lOVá inches—nine times since 1985 would attempt to clear 20 feet. Samolenko runs her event, the 1,500-m race, on Saturday. On the same day, the Canadian men’s 4 x 100-m relay team, featuring Johnson, was expected to be in the finals against a U.S. team that includes his archrival, Lewis. Canada is expected to be a strong medal
contender as well on the following, and final, Olympics day in the Seoul Equestrian Park, 10 km south of Olympic Stadium. There, Big Ben should carry Ian Millar into the finals of the individual show jumping event. It will be the 41-year-old Millar’s fourth Olympics and
his first aboard Ben, at 17.3 hands tall, the biggest horse in the Games. The former stockbroker who now farms near Perth, Ont., predicted that his mount has the power and experience to win. “Ben is well built and he is strong,” said Millar. And at 12 years old, he added, “Ben has seen everything and done everything.” Everything, that is, except win an Olympic medal.
Beaconsfield, Que., native Carolyn Waldo, 23, and Calgary’s Michelle Cameron, 25, are pursuing a gold in the synchronized swimming duet competition. Waldo will also compete in the solo event, in which she won the silver four years ago in Los Angeles. After
winning four world championships since then, Waldo, 23, will face her American nemesis— Tracie Ruiz-Conforto, 25, the 1984 gold medallist—who came out of retirement and beat Waldo in a pre-Olympics trial in Seoul in June. In order to win at the Olympics, Waldo would have to give the show of her life on Thursday evening. “You have to be a real actress out there,” she said. “I have been working on my smile a lot.”
Skill: Only two other events hold out more than a distant chance of giving Canada’s Olympic team something to smile about. At the Pusan sailing course, veteran Flying Dutchman skipper Frank McLaughlin and his crew mate, John Millen, both from Toronto, were within striking distance of a medal at week’s end in the seven-race Olympic regatta. Said McLaughlin: “We’ve got our sights set on gold.” And in the boxing ring, 23-yearold Toronto middleweight Egerton Marcus and Edmonton light flyweight Scott Olson,
20, moved to the third round in their respective divisions after knocking out earlier opponents. And as Week 1 ended, highly touted Canadian superheavyweight champion Lennox Lewis, 25, of Kitchener, Ont., was still waiting for his first scheduled bout. When he does enter the ring, Lewis, like every other athlete whose moment of truth was still to come in the Games’ second week, would need all the luck, skill and strength at his command—the elemental qualities that make champions and break dreams on the rocks of Olympus.
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