The welcoming ceremonies are scheduled to take place today at Husky Stadium, but competition began in earnest yesterday at Goodwill Games venues in Tacoma, Spokane and Federal Way. Here's a brief look at some of yesterday's Games happenings:
Soviet gymnast absent
Noticeably absent from the Soviet men's gymnastics team was world champion Igor Korbachinski.
When deciding which of the four Soviets would represent the team here, coaches reportedly chose veterans Valentin Moguilni, the European champion judged to be on a roll, Valeri Belenki, and up-and-comers Valeri Liukin and Vitaly Scherbo.
Korbachinski will compete for the Soviets following the Games at a challenge meet in California against a U.S. team.
China bests Peru
China's blockers gave Peru fits early and the Chinese won in four games in a match between Olympic medal-winning teams. China, the bronze medalist at the 1988 Olympics, won 15-5, 7-15, 15-13, 15-7.
Later, Brazil defeated Canada and Japan beat Cuba.
China used a quick set whenever it got into trouble. Peru, the silver medalist in '88, was unable to consistently find a crease in the Chinese defense with its big-hitting attackers.
``After we played them, we realized that we could have won,'' said Sonia Ayaucan, Peru's outside hitter. ``The Chinese team is not as good as I thought it would be.''
In the second match, Brazil defeated Canada 15-5, 15-2, 15-3. The Canadians' inexperience in international competition showed, while Brazil showed itself to be ready to compete for a gold medal.
``We're just going to have to get ready for our next match and start over,'' Canada Coach Mike Burchuk said. ``That's easy to say, not so easy to do.''
``Today, a volleyball player has to be mentally prepared,'' said Brazil Coach Inaldo de Lyra Neves Manta Neto. ``They are prepared to be prepared.
``We're working very hard to be in the top three teams.''
Last night, Japan defeated Cuba in four games, 12-15, 15-6, 15-8, 15-7.
The young Cuban team, that country's junior varsity, stunned Japan by winning the first game of the match, but fell apart after that.
``The team just wasn't comfortable,'' Cuba Coach Eider George said. ``Their emotions were out of line; they didn't feel good. After the first set, they starated to feel desperation.''
Japan Coach Kazunori Yoneda did not want to take credit away from his team, however. ``It was not Cuba,'' he said.
Volleyball fans lacking
The number of spectators in the Spokane Coliseum for the first two volleyball matches of the day was rivaled by the number of Goodwill Games volunteers, security personnel and media.
Only 1,833 watched China beat Peru in what could be a preview of a medal-round match, and Brazil trounce Canada, and the international television audience saw more empty seats than spectators.
Ticket sales for last night's match between the United States and the Soviet Union were brisk, but good seats were still available when the evening session began.
Despite the light turnout, Peru and Brazil both had vocal supporters in the stands.
About 100 fans came to Spokane with the Peruvian team.
Spanish swimmers star
Spain brought a two-man swimming contingent of Sergio Lopez and Martin Zubero to the Games.
On the first night of competition at the Aquatics Center, Lopez became the first Spaniard to set a European swimming record (2 minutes, 12.24 seconds, which also was faster than the previous world record) while taking the bronze medal in the 100-meter breaststroke.
Zubero then bettered his personal best by a full second while taking the gold medal in the men's 100-meter backstroke.
Zubero said he was impressed with of swimming competition. ``They got the best in the world. I can't think of anyone they left out. It was like an Olympic final right there,'' he said.
Bowlers strike gold
Bart-Jan van den Boogaart of the Netherlands and Gaby Bigai of Venezuela took home gold medals in Brunswick's International Tournament of Bowling Champions at Majestic Lanes in Lynnwood.
The bowling competition, though affiliated with the Goodwill Games, is not an official Games event.
Van den Boogaart defeated Fico Perez of Puerto Rico, 207-196, to win the men's division. Bigai topped Kimberley Ann Coote of Great Britain, 196-156, to take home the gold in the women's division.
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