SEOUL — At least it helped somebody: The brawl after the Thursday's bout and a come-from-behind victory by the U.S. men's volleyball team over Argentina helped NBC gain its highest Olympic ratings so far, but the Games are attracting fewer United States viewers than expected.
Wednesday night's telecast (Thursday in Seoul) in the United States drew an 18.1 rating, topping the previous high of 17.7 for Sunday night's show. In comparison, ABC's prime-time average was 23.2 for the 1984 Olympics.
A ratings point equals 886,000 households.
First mice, now babies: Bulgarian Coach Pantcho Gyourov seemingly thinks he has discovered a breakthrough for women swimmers to regenerate enthusiasm about their sport--having babies.
He had this to say about Tania Dangalakova, winner of the women's 100-meter breaststroke:
"Tania has been the best breaststroke swimmer in the world for many years. Today, she was able to prove it with her victory. Her baby, which she had last year, was a turning point in her career. It really got her excited about life in general, but also about swimming once again. It was an interesting experiment. Perhaps it will become a new idea for coaches whose swimmers are becoming stale and losing interest."
It was suspected, but now it's confirmed that Turkey paid Bulgaria $1 million to let world champion weightlifter Naim Suleymanoglu take part in the Seoul Olympic Games, Turkish Prime Minister Turgut Ozal said Friday.
"After a lot of bargaining, the Bulgarians asked for one million dollars in return for all the expenses they made for Naim," Ozal said in a televised political broadcast.
Ozal said the payment for Suleymanoglu, who defected to Turkey in 1986, was made according to rules. Bulgaria had to grant permission for Suleymanoglu to take part in the Olympics, which would not have been possible under the normal three-year ban on defectors.
Suleymanoglu won three gold medals and set six world records on Tuesday in the featherweight class. He is due to arrive home to a hero's welcome today.
Contributing to this story were Times staff writers Tracy Dodds and Earl Gustkey, and Times sports editor Bill Dwyre.