Get Your Gold Medals Here

Little matter that Salt Lake City, just a bit embarrassed by the flap, recently postponed the unveiling of the 2002 Games' "official mascot." What could it be? How about a little guy in a seedy gangster suit with his hand out?

So then. The only remaining thing you'll need to stage your own Olympics is cash. Lots and lots of cash with which to refinish Senor Samaranch's bathtub in gold leaf, to wine and dine and satisfy the carnal desires of the delegations from Libya or Latvia or Lichtenstein, to grease the palms and oil the wheels of those who can be bought. And don't bother believing in the "few bad apples" theory of the International Olympic Committee's personal fiscal behavior: As the days pass, it looks like you'll have to dole out plenty of filthy lucre to everybody.

And there you have it: The Olympic Games construction kit. The flame burns bright, and as long as you know how to play the game, it can light up your town, too. Looking back, aren't you glad that Denver (for different reasons) sent the whole sanctimonious, stinking business packing back in the early Seventies?

Fittingly, John Elway was named Most Valuable Player in Sunday's Soup Bowl and remains number one in the hearts of Denver's maced and tear-gassed multitudes.

But here's to you, Mr. Robinson. Without your extraordinary efforts on and off the field in Miami, we can't help thinking, Elway and the Broncos might not be where they are today.

Eugene Robinson is an Atlanta Falcons safety with fourteen seasons of NFL experience behind him. He ranks second (behind teammate Jessie Tuggle) among all active players in career tackles. Like Elway, he is also the most recent recipient of a major pro-football honor--the Bart Starr Award for "high moral character," presented each year by a Christian group called Athletes in Action.

By all accounts, Robinson is an upstanding citizen who is well-liked by teammates and opponents. Even those who don't go in for sermons about religious faith and its effects on football.

So when Mr. Robinson got popped Saturday night in South Beach for allegedly offering $40 to an undercover officer for oral sex, some people were disappointed. Like the members of his family, who were back at the hotel. And his teammates. And his head coach.

But the hits just kept on coming for Eugene. Late in the second quarter of Sunday's game, with Denver leading 10-3 and Atlanta deflated after passing up a short field-goal attempt in favor of a failed fourth-down carry by Jamal Anderson, Elway hit a streaking Rod Smith with an eighty-yard touchdown pass that proved to be the game's turning point.

The burned cover man? None other than Robinson, number 41.
Had he lost a step down at the police station? Or in post-arrest conversation with his wife, Gia? We'll never know. But thanks anyway, you dirty bird, you. And stay by the phone. What'll ya bet the President invites you to the Oval Office?

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