The final week of the games



Canada’s team leader, Ken Read, called the ruling “obscene.” And Frechette, when asked in French whether she felt that she deserved the gold instead of the silver, laughed gently and replied, “Dans mon coeur (in my heart).” In Montreal, Frechette’s brother, 21-year-old Martin, declared: “She is better than a gold medallist. Here, in Quebec, she’s a queen.”

Other competitors also came away with less than they expected. Critchlow, the 23-year-old world-champion kayaker in the 500-m event, did not even make the finals in his specialty. “In the 500 m,” said the native of Nepean, Ont., an Ottawa suburb, “you go as hard as you can and die. That’s what happened: with 100 m to go, I just had no gas.”

Smith, the 24-year-old decathlete who finished second at last summer’s World Track and Field Championships in Tokyo, withdrew from his gruelling 10-part event after completing the first day’s competition in 21st place–the result of continued problems with a hamstring muscle that he pulled last May. “My whole first day was down, from the 100 m right on,” said the University of Toronto student. After watching the competition on TV in Smith’s home town of Kenora, Ont., his mother, Bernice, said: “I was feeling his pain in my stomach. We knew something had really gone wrong.” In the end, the decathlon crown went not to Smith or favored Dave Johnson of the United States, but to Czechoslovak Robert Zmelik. (more…)