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Getting a Jump on the Spirit of the '88 Olympics

January 24, 1986|Garry Abrams

In 1988 the sky over Seoul, Korea, may bloom--with a hundred sky divers.

That's the dream of Tony Brogdon, a San Bernardino businessman and chairman of the USA Sky Diving Society, who returned last week from a whirlwind four-day lobbying trip to the site of the next Olympic Games.

Brogdon is pushing for the record-setting jump as a part of the Games' opening ceremonies, he said, adding that he received a warm welcome from Park Seh/Jik, Korea's minister of sports. The minister told him, " 'I personally feel that your proposal is an excellent idea,' " he reported.

Brogdon said he envisions the jump as "a gift" to the people of Korea and as a symbol of what can be done by volunteers. Corporate sponsors are being sought for the 2 1/2-year-long selection and training process that will be required to pull off the complex and expensive project, Brogdon said, estimating the cost of the mega-jump at $2.5 million.

The idea will be presented to the International Olympic Committee soon, Brogdon said, noting that the Koreans had already been considering some type of parachute display for the opening. Parachutists at an opening ceremony are not without precedent, he added, pointing out that there were jumps at Mexico City in 1968 and Moscow in 1980.

Although details are still being worked out, Brogdon said the jumpers will attempt to build a formation linking all 100 after exiting their aircraft at 10,000 feet or higher. The previous record is 99, he said. Most likely, the parachutists will jump from at least three airplanes and free-fall 50 to 80 seconds before opening their parachutes. Their drop would be beamed by videocameras carried by four parachutists to a giant television screen in the stadium at Seoul and to a worldwide TV audience, Brogdon said.

The jumpers will be chosen from the society's 550 members, and it'll take the rest of the year to make the selections, he said. Following that, the team will spend 18 months making 500 jumps, about six a weekend, to perfect the formation or formations selected for the big show.

Civil Rights on Display

The day after the nation celebrated the first holiday in honor of civil rights leader Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. this week, the students and staff at Crenshaw High School opened a museum devoted to King. The freshly painted and carpeted third-floor room contains a permanent newspaper archive of the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s, as well as photographs of King, who was assassinated in 1968, and one of the original copies of the speech he delivered when he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize in Stockholm in 1964.

Although it had not arrived by ribbon-cutting time on Tuesday, the museum expects to receive a donation, probably a signed photograph, from Rosa Parks, the black woman whose refusal to give up her seat in a Montgomery, Ala., bus in 1955 is credited with sparking the civil rights movement.

"Basically it's a simple display," said English department chair Millicent E. Hill, who oversaw the museum's development. About 50 students were involved in gathering exhibits during the yearlong planning effort, which began on King's birthday last year, she said.

The museum is open, by appointment, to the public. To arrange a time, call Hill at the school: (213) 296-5370.

A Stamp for Benny

Comedian Jack Benny died in 1974 but his friends are trying to keep his memory alive and his face ubiquitous. By ubiquitous they mean on a stamp, and that's why the Jack Benny Commemorative Stamp Committee has been formed. It's headed by comedians Norm Crosby and George Burns and Benny's former personal manager, Irving Fein. While the committee lists as members people with plenty of clout, including former President Gerald R. Ford and Sen. Pete Wilson (R-Calif), it says it needs broad public support to lobby the Postal Service to issue a stamp with Benny's likeness. Those wishing to help should write to the committee at P.O. Box 48799, Los Angeles 90048.

Jeeps on Parade

It'll be rally-round-the-Jeep time in Los Angeles on Saturday.

Die-hard supporters of the CJ, the venerable war horse of the Jeep automotive line, are scheduled to parade--in Jeeps, of course--at 9 a.m. from Walker Brothers Jeep at Olympic Boulevard and Western Avenue to the post office at Farmers Market, where they'll send off a 30-foot-long petition demanding that the Jeep's manufacturer, American Motors Corp., cancel its plans to halt production of the vehicle Jan. 31.

John Walker, owner of the dealership, said he expects more than 100 Jeep owners to participate in the protest caravan, which will be led by motorcycle police. Walker's protest movement was chronicled in these pages Jan. 9. Since then, he said his campaign has snowballed to include dealers and individuals from across the country, including petition signatures from 1,500 workers at the AMC plant in Toledo, Ohio.

Walker is asking last-minute volunteers for his march through midtown to show up with American flags and homemade placards sloganeering against the demise of the Jeep.

If you can't stay away from parades, or want to know more about going that last mile to save the CJ, Walker Brothers is fielding phone calls at (213) 733-0112. You'll know you've got the right number when they answer, " 'Keep the Jeep' Headquarters."

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