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March 16, 1992 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 1992-03-16

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The Michigan Daily --Sports Monday- March 16, 1992 -Page 3

Q&,A Brace <er
The hero of the '76 Games
talks about the Olympics

Jeff Sheran


Bruce Jenner has been in the
public eye ever since that lazy sum-
mer day in Montreal in 1976 when
he was crowned World's Greatest
Athlete with the Olympic gold medal
in the decathlon. His legendary
performance was an uplifting event
for a nation still reeling from
Watergate and a war in Vietnam. In
this day and age of the new moral-
ism, where anything goes, Jenner is
one athlete who lives up to the ven-
eration of millions. A true American
hero, Bruce Jenner recently spoke
with Daily Sports Writer Brett
Forrest about his opinions on sport.
Daily: You were out in
Albertville, were you not?
Jenner: Yes, it was quite nice. I
had a nice time. For the first time, I
actually saw an Olympic Games. I'm
usually working so much that I can't
see anything. So this time I was over
there on behalf of Coca-Cola, wining
and dining their key accounts.
D: So what are you going to be
doing for the Summer Olympics? I
have heard something about the
Triplecast that NBC is producing.
J: I work for NBC and they are
going to have two bro4dcasts of the
games. They're going to have a
commercial broadcast which would
be normal coverage that you have
seen all the time. But for those peo-
ple who want to see more, without
commercials, they are also going to
be offering a pay-per-view version
of the games.
The commercial broadcast has
161 hours. The pay-per-view broad-
cast has 1080 hours of coverage and
no commercials. And you see every
event. They take 16 events and they
cover them in their entirety. In track
and field, you would see every pre-
liminary, every semifinal, every final
live and in its entirety.
There are a lot of track fanatics
out there who want to see every
event. There are swimming people
who have friends competing and
want to see all of the events and how
they take place.
* D: This is a bit of a jump here,
but how do you see the end of the
Cold War affecting the Olympics?
J: It has a major effect on the
Olympics. The opening ceremonies
in the Olympic Games in Barcelona

South Africa in the Games for the
first time in many, many Games.
It is very, very significant.
Chances are that we will get every
member nation to the Olympic
Games. That hasn't happened in a
long time - there are always boy-
cotts. But the world is a better place
right now.
D: Speaking of boycotts, what is
your opinion of President Carter's
decision to boycott the 1980
Summer Games in Moscow to
protest the Soviet Union's presence
in Afghanistan?
J: Well, you can look back on it
now and see that it didn't do any-
thing. It certainly didn't get the
Soviet Union out of Afghanistan. It
made a small political point at that
time. But I think the negative side
was a lot more significant than the
positive side.
There was no positive side to it. I
can't think of one positive thing that
happened out of that. It didn't save
any lives. The Soviets didn't pull
their troops back. And so I can't see
anything positive that came out of
that. There were many things that
were negative. You had athletes
from the United States who trained
for years and years and years of their
lives, made it on Olympic teams, and
then didn't go to the Games. That, to
me, is a tragedy.
Because we didn't go in 1980,
certainly that is the reason the Soviet
Union didn't come to our Games in
1984. They said the security wasn't
good enough - it was the best secu-
rity in the world. They just were
paying us back. So four years down
the line, it still had an effect - the
Soviet Union didn't show up, East
Germany didn't. There were a lot of
great countries that did not show up
to our Olympic Games because we
boycotted in 1980.
I can't really think of anything
positive that came out of that. All I
can see are negative things. So you
look back on it and you say, "Should
he have done it?" I would say no, he
should not have done it.
See, if you want to make a politi-
cal point in an Olympic Games, not
showing up does not do it. The
Olympic Games went on, just like
they did here in Los Angeles. We

movement, all this drug testing that
is going on now is nothing new for
us. We have been doing it really
since about 1972.
D: But isn't it more intense now
than it ever was?
J: Not so much at the higher lev-
els, I would say. There were only a
few people who even knew about
steroids way back then. And that
was just some of the top athletes.
Well, it has worked its way down the
food chain, sort of, to where now,
it's totally out of control.
It's not just at that high level. It's
worked its way down into college,
'I would say that
probably 95 percent of
the athletes who are
competing in the NFL
are on steroids.'
it's worked its way down into high
school, it's worked its way down to
kids who just want to look a little bit
bigger so they can get that date.
Totally, totally out of control, like all
the drug situation is.
D: Do you think usage is on the
decline among today's Olympians?
J: Oh, definitely. You just can't
do that. Another thing that comes
about is that they talk about steroids
in the Olympics. We do something
about it, we try to control it.
Unfortunately, we get a lot of public-
ity because of that - because we
have banned athletes.
Have you ever heard of an athlete
in any professional sport in the
United States getting banned for
steroid use? It's like it doesn't hap-
pen there. It's a major problem in the
NFL. I would say that probably 95
percent of the athletes who are
competing in the NFL are on
D : I don't know about 95
J: (emphatically) Oh yes.
D: Maybe 95 percent have tried
J: No, no, no, no, no. Go down
on the field during a professional
football game and look at these
D: Oh, I have been on the field
for professional football games. I
would say that unquestionably there
is a high percentage of steroid usage
among the players in the NFL. I
would not say it approaches 95
percent, though.
J: I would say probably 95
percent. It is rampant there because
they don't really drug test. It's a
joke. And since they don't really
drug test, they don't get any blame.
Well, we (Olympians) have a
tendency to take all the blame,
because we test.
Look at this German sprinter
right now, (Kristin) Krabbe, look at
her, she didn't even test positive for
steroids and she's banned. She was
tested with a bad vial.
Three girls sent in urine samples
and they were exactly the same. It
was the same person's urine in all
three bottles. So that's why she got
We take this issue seriously in
Olympic sports. Unfortunately, be-
cause of that, we take a lot of the
blame, too. But we are trying to do

something about it in our sport,
where in other sports, they don't do
anything about it. It's a little bit un-
fortunate that we get a lot of the
blame, but hey, at least we're doing
something about it. You'll never get

rid of it, just control it as much as
you can.
D: How has the decathlon
changed since your performance in
the '76 Olympics?
J: It hasn't really changed that
much. It's the same as it was many,
many years ago. The score table is
the same. The athletes are basically
the same. I think the only way the
event has changed is that we have
gotten guys with great speed running
the event. Great sprinters who can-
not run the 1500 meters very well. It
really hasn't changed that drasti-
The only way that it's changed is
that Dan O'Brien is probably making
a couple hundred thousand dollars a
year doing this. Whereas I couldn't
make a dime if my life depended on
it. So that's good. But the event is
still the same old event.
D: There have been no advances
in technique?
J: No, no there have been no
great technique changes. There's
been nothing. Maybe pole-vaulting
poles have gotten a little bit better,
but that's about it.
D: How do you see your position,
with just one endorsement - the
Wheaties cereal, as the person who
busted the door wide open for en-
dorsement opportunities for athletes?
J: As far as that standpoint, in
1976, I was the right guy in the right
place at the right time. I was retiring
that day. I was never going to do this
again, so the next day I didn't have a
job. I was sort of looking around,
trying to find the right thing to do.
They called me up. I didn't have
a job and they were offering me
work. I was thinking, "God, this is
'Decathalon has
changed because Dan
O'Brien can make a
couple hundred
thousand dollars a
year. Whereas I
couldn't make a dime.'
the greatest thing that ever hap-
pened." And that was 16 years ago.
People say, "You capitalized off the
Games." I don't feel like I capital-
ized off the Games. I didn't call
They were calling me, trying to
capitalize off of what I had just
done. I had to pick and choose the
things that I wanted to do, that I felt
comfortable doing. And slowly over
the last 16 years, I have built a busi-
ness. And that business is alive and
well today.
D: You mentioned Dan O'Brien
earlier, and I'm sure you get this
question ten times a day. However,
what is your opinion of the "Dan and
Dave" Reebok spots?
J: I think it's great. First of all,
my little event, the decathlon, gets
no publicity. The event is sort of a
nothing kind of event for four years
and all of a sudden in the Games, it's
the big one, the grandaddy of them
all, this title that goes along with it
- World's Greatest Athlete. In that
case, I think it's great.
People are already getting excited
about the decathlon to be settled in
Barcelona. And that's good for the
event. It encourages people to get
into the event. That gives Dan

O'Brien some money in his pocket
so he can go train harder. It's noth-.
ing but good stuff.
(Editors note: The conclusion of
Q & A with Bruce Jenner will ap-
pear in Sports Monday Mar. 23)

September is just
around the corner
Chris Hutchinson sat back in his chair, rubbing his chin and staring at
some imaginary point on the ceiling. "What did I do for the last two
months?" he asks himself.
Like any weekend, vacation, or day off, Hutchinson marvels at how
quickly the two months off from football have passed. Quicker than any
four-hour practice, no doubt.
Moments later, he finds an answer. "I took my dog for walks around
campus," he responds. It's not very often he gets to take a tennis ball and
his roommate's pitbull, Shebah, for a trip to Elbel Field. Then again, it's
not often he would normally want to in January and February.
But now it is March. Time for the spring thaw. Time for the NCAA
basketball tournament. Time for football.
Spring practice begins today, and the winter vacation for Michigan
football players ends. For 11, maybe 12 afternoons each fall, the team
plays football games. For the better part of the rest of the year, the team
This is Hutchinson's last go-around at spring football. He'll be a fifth-
year senior next year, a returning starter at defensive tackle, and a strong
candidate to be named the defense's captain.
Hutchinson sat out last spring with a back injury, and the end of last
season with a knee injury. He's healthy now, though, and is anxious for
his final season, which officially begins today.
"After a few years of spring practice, you get used to it," he says. "I go
through the list of things I've been doing for the past few weeks and say,
'Can't do that, can't do that....' But it's ok."
In the offseason, when long-term preparation is the daily activity, the
sacrifice of being a football player becomes more apparent. It's not a huge
sacrifice, considering the full scholarship that accompanies it. But it's a
big commitment that's not suited to everyone.
Evidence of this came last week, when linebacker Randy Stark and of-
fensive tackle Brian Wallace decided not to return for their fifth seasons.
But for those who stay, the fifth-year experience is an attractive
"I look around the weight room, and everyone there is younger than
me," Hutchinson says. "So I think to myself that I, and the other fifth-year
players, really have to step up. Especially in this program, where so much
is expected of the seniors."
But while spring practice gives seniors a chance to prepare for the
1992 season mentally - before the new recruits arrive in the summer -
it provides some of the younger players an opportunity to establish them-
selves in front of the coaches.
"Everyone has a different situation," explains Tony McGee, who will
return at tight end as a true senior. "The younger guys want to go out and
play. They don't get a chance to run things during the season, so now they
get a chance to show the coaches what they can do."
McGee will almost certainly start next season, after earning increased
playing time in each of the last three seasons. With a lot to lose, McGee
knows he must work especially hard this spring.
"It may be hard to get up, but if you get down, you lose your job," he
And then there is the larger picture.
"If you're putting 100,00 people in the stands every weekend, you've;
got to produce," McGee says. "You've got to work at your art if people
are going to want to see it."
Spring practice is a time of anticipation for the coming season. But just
as much, it's a time for reflection about the previous season.
Last season was a fruitful one; a fourth consecutive Big Ten title, three
losses from 1990 avenged, a Heisman Trophy winner, etc. But even now,
after the smoke has cleared, one memory sticks out the most.
"Florida State," Hutchinson said, referring to Michigan's 51-31 loss in
Really? "If not that, then the Rose Bowl," he adds, this time recalling
the Wolverines' 34-14 defeat to Washington.
McGee's memories are equally negative.
"The Rose Bowl comes to mind," he replies. "Maybe the Florida State
game." The trend in responses might indicate part of why Michigan is al-
ways, at least by other team's standards, successful. "Just being in this
program, you get critical," McGee explains.
Hutchinson shares this "Michigan" attitude, and takes it one step fur-
ther. "It seems like as long as I've been here, we've never won the big
game." Notre Dame? It had no defense last year, he hints. The Gator
Bowl? Michigan coasted through it, he admits. The Rose Bowl victory
three years ago? He was redshirted, so it doesn't count, he says.
"That's part of why I'm so anxious for next season," he says. "I want
to beat a team like Washington or Florida State."
For Hutchinson, it's more fun than walking his dog, or watching TV,
or whatever he's been doing for the past two months.
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'I can't really think of anything positive that
came out of that (1980 Olympic boycott). All I
see are negative things. So you look back and
say, "Should he (Carter) have done it?" I
would say no.,

will probably be one of the most
significant opening ceremonies in
the history of the modern Olympic
Games, mainly because of what has
happened in such a short amount of
In the last Olympic Games in
Seoul, Korea, in 1988, if you had
said to anybody that in the next
Olympic Games in 1992, there
would be no Soviet Union, they
would have said- you were crazy.
That's like saying in 1988, "There
will be no United States in 1992. It
will all be a bunch of independent
countries instead of states."
To see what has happened
throughout the world in such a short
period of time, and now the Olympic
Committee has jumped in member-
ship, they have over 170 member-
nations now that will be competing.
Now you have countries like Latvia,
Lithuania, Estonia, which were basi-
cally occupied countries, coming in
under their own flag. You will have
a united Germany. You will have

think of the Los Angeles Olympic
Games as a great Olympic Games.
Well, the Russians thought their
Olympic Games were great, too. So1
we didn't show up. Who cares? If he
(Carter) wanted to make a political
point, have all athletes who are1
competing wear a black dot on their
uniforms to protest what is happen-
ing there. So that every picture that
is taken, through history, when they
show the Olympic Games in 1980 in
Moscow, the athletes will have this
black dot.
People will ask what that was for.
And people will say, "Well, the
Americans were there but they were
protesting the war in Afghanistan."
You can make other political
points. Through history they would
always remember that. But here, it's
just all forgotten.
D: Was there widespread steroid
use in your day?
J: Yes, steroids have been around
for 30, 40 years. We were drug
tested back then. For the Olympic

S (appeared in Talking Dirty after Dark and Class Act)
Friday, March 20, 1992
S Michigan Business School , Hale Auditorium



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