Topless bar helps out, too

July 23, 1992|By Bill Glauber | Bill Glauber,Staff Writer

BARCELONA, Spain -- Strippers in Kansas are making an Olympic sacrifice:

Shedding their clothes and sending their cash to the U.S. modern pentathlon team.

"Anyone who wants to throw money our way, well, we won't look a gift horse in the mouth," said three-time Olympian Rob Stull.

The latest donation to the three-man U.S. team comes courtesy of The Flamingo Club, a topless bar in Lawrence, Kan. Starting with a stake from the owner, and pooling their tips, the 40 exotic dancers raised $3,300 to help fuel the Olympic dreams of Stull, Mike Gostigian and Jim Maley.

More may be on the way.

"Some of us are working a shift for the team," said Tracy Jones, a junior pre-law major who is dancing to pay her way through college. "Of course, we know what modern pentathlon is."

The sport caught the attention of bar owner Wes Kabler, who was trying to emulate an Olympic saga from the other side of the world. Strippers in New Zealand helped finance a career of one of their country's swimmers.

Kabler saw a trading card with Stull's name and picture, and then called him in Austin, Texas.

"All they did was want to help out," Stull said. "I think it's very nice of them. They're not pushing their morals, or anything. We could have come to the Games without the money. But we would have been in a lot more debt coming home."

The U.S. Olympic Committee apparently is not amused by the latest fund-raising venture.

"We told the team that it's in pretty poor taste," said USOC spokesman Mike Moran. "If that's what they want to do to publicize their sport, then fine. But it's pretty sleazy."

Jones disagreed.

"To stereotype us like that isn't fair," she said. "We're helping somebody out. It's not fair to call us sleazy or in bad taste."

Will the strippers take time off to watch the Olympics?

"If the modern pentathlon comes on, then we'll stop dancing," she said. "We're rooting for our guys."

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