Star Tracks

updated 08/20/1984 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/20/1984 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Top dog
Security was tight everywhere at the Los Angeles Games. Athletes, officials and press had to wear specially coded picture IDs at all times. And so did Justice, a 2-year-old, 95-pound German shepherd who daily helped guard the Olympic yachting venue in Long Beach. One of three patrol dogs on loan from the Long Beach police, Justice had his mug snapped by the authorities, along with the rest of the 17,000-member security force. The precaution, presumably, was to protect against canny canines who might try to impersonate the dogged patrolman.

Brussels sprout
One Olympian came to Los Angeles afraid—afraid to sleep alone. It was his first time away from home, and, after all, Belgian Filip Cuelenaere is only 12. So the coxswain of the Belgian two-man rowing crew slept in the team leader's room. His mother even flew in from their home in Ghent to watch Filip steer the boat and count the strokes of his rowers—the Defraigne brothers, Guy, 26, and William, 33—into defeat. The youngest Olympian, at 5'7" and 124 pounds, Filip is far from the smallest. Next time, says Guy, "he will be competing as a rower himself."

Twin towers of power
Fraternal twins and Olympic Village roommates Ed and Lou Banach, 24, turned heads as they readied for last week's finals. "It amazes people that two brothers, much less twins, are on the team," says Ed (right), the elder by five minutes. The only twins on the U.S. team, the Banachs, who grew up in Port Jervis, N.Y., are freestyle competitors. "We act as each other's personal coach," explains Ed. He competes at 198 pounds, big Lou at 220. That's fine with them, because if they were in the same weight class, they pipe up in unison, "One of us wouldn't be here!"

Wail of a guy
Real men can—and do—cry, as 248-pound Jeff Blatnick proved when he crumbled to his knees after winning the gold medal in Greco-Roman wrestling. Blatnick, 27, had dedicated the match to his brother Dave, killed in a motorcycle accident seven years ago. As tears poured down his cheeks he also acknowledged his bout less than two years ago with Hodgkin's disease, for which he underwent surgery and radiation treatment. "I'm a little embarrassed about my reaction," he said afterward. "But I don't regret it." Blatnick, from Niskayuna, N.Y., who works for a piping-construction company, relaxed with his parents and girlfriend at Disneyland two days later. "I'm going to go fishing for a few days in Minnesota to let this all sink in," he said. "Then I'm going back home to have one heck of a party with the people who helped me so much."

Marathon of agony
"The last two kilometers are mostly black. My mind wasn't working too good," said Swiss marathon runner Gabriella Andersen-Schiess, 39. She stumbled into the Coliseum some 20 minutes behind marathon winner Joan Benoit—less running than listing, dragging her left leg behind her, weaving back and forth across the track. Unwilling to touch her (and thereby disqualify her) before she crossed the finish line (in 37th place), medics then rushed to the heat-prostrated and dehydrated runner, whose temperature was over 100°. She collapsed in their arms, was treated and later put under the care of the Swiss team physicians but did not need to be hospitalized. Andersen-Schiess, a ski instructor, lives in Sun Valley, Idaho with her American husband, Dick, a resort manager, who watched anxiously from the stands. "Because of personal attachment, I probably would have tried to take her off the course," he said later, "but that doesn't mean that was right."

Her target is gold
Neroli Fairhall, 39, was the only member of the New Zealand archery team unable to march in the Opening Day Ceremonies. Instead, she rolled her specially constructed armless wheelchair into the cheering Coliseum. Paralyzed from the waist down when her motorcycle plunged 70 feet over a cliff 15 years ago, Fairhall was a top-ranked equestrienne before her accident. She spent seven months in the hospital and later took up archery as part of a physical therapy program. She picked up her first medal at the 1974 Commonwealth Paraplegic Games and went on to win four national open titles. She is the first paraplegic to compete in the Olympic Games. "I'm not here as a paraplegic," said Fairhall as she practiced for her August 8 event. "I'm here as an archer."

Bearing up after a near tragedy
Even though Ed Burke failed to qualify for the medal round in the hammer throw, the memory of the 1984 Olympics will always be sweet for the Los Gatos, Calif. resident. At 44, the oldest member of the American track and field team was chosen by his 597 teammates to carry the flag in the Opening Ceremonies. Burke, who competed in the '64 and '68 Olympics, was encouraged by his family to come back after 12 years of retirement. Comebacks are nothing new for Burke. In 1962 he quit after denting his wife Shirley's skull and injuring her eye with a freak throw during a photo session. Plastic surgery restored her face, and now, beams Ed, "She's more beautiful than ever." Shirley, 41, persuaded Ed to resume the sport four months later and became his coach. Five years later he was ranked No. 1 in the country.

Split "ends" decision
"Boxing is rough and tough," says bantamweight Robert Shannon, 21. "Cutting hair is peaceful and relax g." When Shannon isn't in the ring, he's working as a hairstylist in Edmonds, Wash. Shannon even snipped a few locks for fellow competitors between bouts at the Olympics. Unfortunately the 119-pound boxer's hopes for a medal were cut short when he was stopped in the third round of his second match by South Korea's Sung Kil Moon. The only member of the 1980 Olympic boxing team who didn't turn pro, Shannon stayed an amateur so that he could compete in L.A. He still plans to try his hand as a pro before hanging up his gloves in favor of a comb and scissors.

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