He will sit in the stands. He will watch the split times. He will offer advice.
At the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain, Murray Stephens will officially be nothing more, or less, than a spectator. But as the coach of 15-year-old swimming superstar Anita Nall of Towson, Stephens will be heard.
Unofficially, of course.
With the Barcelona Games destined to be the most bloated and overcrowded in history, there wasn't any room to place Stephens on the U.S. Olympic coaching staff. But he'll still go to Europe, supervising Nall's pre-Olympic workouts at a training camp in France, and then accompanying her to the Barcelona Games. After all, Nall, the world record-holder in the 200 breaststroke, is a teen-ager who has competed only once internationally.
"You'd be awfully sorry if you didn't go, and things didn't work out," said Stephens, coach of the North Baltimore Aquatic Club. "It's necessary and proper to go. A lot is riding on this, for the United States and for Anita."
If school provides a clue, then Nall is prepared to handle the pressure of Barcelona.
After setting her world record in the Olympic trials, appearing in People magazine, meeting Gov. William Donald Schaefer, doing a photo shoot for The Gap and giving more than a dozen interviews, the sophomore at Towson Catholic High School managed to maintain a 3.7 grade-point average.
* THE PROFESSOR IN BARCELONA: Frank Zarnowski, a business and economics teacher at Mount St. Mary's College, has been added to the NBC-TV Olympic Triplecast cable announcing team. Zarnowski, America's foremost decathlon expert, will detail the 10-event test that crowns the world's greatest athlete, concentrating on the looming battle between run-jump-and-throw stars turned advertising pitch men, Dan O'Brien and Dave Johnson.
* PHILADELPHIA FREEDOM: Carl Lewis will be there. And so will Leroy Burrell and Joan Benoit Samuelson.
But at the Penn Relays, Thursday through Saturday at Franklin Field in Philadelphia, the superstars are just part of the crowd.
Even in an Olympic year.
Where else can you see 372 boys high school teams participate in the 4 x 100 relay? Or 25 college teams participate in the unique shuttle hurdles? Or 40,000 spectators gathered to watch a track meet in the United States?
No wonder this is called a carnival. More than 17,000 athletes will compete in 266 events.
Samuelson, the 1984 Olympic women's marathon champion, will try to achieve her Olympic trials qualifying standard in the 10,000 meters Thursday night. Lewis and Burrell, who grew up within seven miles of the stadium, will join their Santa Monica TC teammates in relays Saturday.
Reigning men's 1,500-meter champion Peter Rono of Kenya and Vicki Huber, a 1988 U.S. Olympian, will also race Saturday.
Lewis has even inquired about setting up a booth outside the stadium to sell track gear.
"Carl and Leroy are giving back to the sport by coming to Penn and not charging any money to appear," said Tim Baker, race director. "Why do these folks run here? This is where they got their start. We still are an amateur sport."
* LOCAL LONG SHOT: Add Rebecca Brown, 19, of Monkton to the start list for the women's kayak at the U.S. Olympic Trials for Whitewater Slalom Racing at the Savage River in Western Maryland, May 16-17. Brown, a 1991 Hereford High School graduate who attends George Washington University, advanced to the trials with a top-three finish earlier this month in a qualifying race in South Bend, Ind.
* TUMBLING RETIREMENT: Scratch Sandy Woolsey from the U.S. Olympic Gymnastics trials to be held in Baltimore June 6-13. Woolsey, a two-time World Championship team member who was eighth in the all-around at the 1989 Worlds, has quit because of a recurring hip injury.
* BIDS, DRUGS, SPIES: Organizers of Berlin's 2000 Summer Olympic bid promise to rely on private financing. . . . Bulgarian gymnasts Maya Christova, 15, Milena Mavrodieva, 20, and Mirela Peneva, 14, received two-year bans for testing positive for diuretics, which can be used for weight reduction. . . . Another sports informer for Stasi, the secret police of the former East Germany, has been uncovered. It's Ulf Kirsten, a member of the German national soccer team. Recruited by Stasi as a 16-year-old, Kirsten has been cleared of wrongdoing by German soccer officials.