The Olympics in Barcelona were awe-inspiring, but they weren't the only ones.
On Aug. 3 -- 5, more than 200 of the world's police enforcement officers gathered at Bowl America Shirley, Va., for the International Law Enforcement Olympics.
Officers came from across the United States (including Hawaii), Hong Kong, Germany, Australia. And they came from Anne Arundel County.
And the rest of the competitors never will forget that the Anne Arundel County police officers were there. Here's why:
* Doubles competition: gold medal to Anne Arundel Police.
* Singles competition: gold medal to Anne Arundel police officer.
* Team competition: bronze medal to Anne Arundel officers.
* All-Events competition: gold medal to Paul Roberts, Anne Arundel Police.
Finishing third in the team competition, won by a New York state team, the Anne Arundel police officers stamped their mark of excellence on the event.
Led by Bill Daywalt and Roberts, the team of Daywalt, Roberts, Mark Metzler and Eric Steen dropped a total of 3,883 pins in the five-game, four-man team event to capture the bronze.
"We lost the silver medal by 15 pins," Roberts said. "You might know that I picked that event to throw one of the worst games of my career, a 141."
That was on Monday. That was the last bad game that Roberts threw in the Olympics. On Tuesday, he teamed with Daywalt to take the gold in doubles. They totaled 2,020 pins in the five-game event.
Wednesday, Roberts averaged 227 to win the gold in the five-game singles events.
Roberts' singles, doubles and team pins in 15 games totaled 3,221. That's a 214 average and that was good enough for the gold in the All-Event division.
How tough was the competition?
"I know that four or five of the guys belong to the Professional Bowling Association," Roberts said. "There were some fine bowlers at the Olympics."
Who were these unsung bowlers who held their own with the best gathered from around the world?
* Daywalt lives in Severn Park and is active in the D.A.R.E. drug-education program in the county. He's the founder and the force behind the annual police tournament that draws officers from everywhere in the mid-Atlantic area every spring.
He bowls in the Pioneer League at Bowl America Odenton and carries a 207 average. He has a career-high game of 299 and a high series of 787.
* Roberts of Annapolis is a 19-year police veteran. He carries a 210 average with five 300 games to his credit. His high series is a fine 830.
The whole Roberts clan bowls: his wife Jan carries a 160 average, 16-year-old daughter Shannon averages 165 and a married son, Chris, is a 190-average shooter. The entire family has attended Dick Ritgers' bowling camp in New York state.
"Attending Dick Ritgers' bowling camp is the best thing that bowler can to do to improve his game," Paul said. "I've been to four sessions at Ritgers' camp and my average has improved about 20 pins. And I'm only using a 15-pound ball since I had a back operation to remove bone spurs."
* Steen, a Solley resident, is a sergeant for internal affairs at headquarters. He carries a 145 average and has a high game of 287 and a high series of 700-plus. He does his league bowling in the Friday Night Post Office Mixed at Fair Lanes Ritchie.
Steen started bowling about 20 years ago, and all he asks "is a consistent lane condition. I don't care what kind of condition, just JTC so it's consistent from week to week, from lane to lane.
"At the Olympics the lane conditions were a little difficult. There wasn't much snap on the back end because the oil was heavy and carried down the lanes quickly. Paul Roberts was able to make a great adjustment quickly to the conditions. We probably wouldn't have done much without him."
* Metzler of Severn is a detective in the Eastern District. He bowls at Fair Lanes Ritchie in the B&O;/C&O; Thursday league and the Friday Night Little League. He has a 196 average with a high game of 287, a high set of 740.
"The Olympics was the first time that I tried to bowl since May," he said. "I've just recovered from knee surgery and I didn't know what would happen. It turned out pretty good."
Daywalt said, "We received complete support from Chief Robert Russell. Without his support and without the sponsorship of F.O.P. Lodge 70, we would not have been able to compete. Chief Russell and Lodge 70 were behind us 100 percent. Thanks to them we able to show the rest of the world what police officers from Anne Arundel County could accomplish."
Happy birthday to Dick Dixon. Dixon, a Young American Bowling Alliance coach at Bowl America for 30 years, just turned 65 years old.
The retiree from both the army and the navy carries a 175 average in the Wednesday night Pioneer Men's League and the Saturday Mixed League at Bowl America Odenton.
Richard and Pat Daff honored the coach with a birthday bash at their Crownsville home last Saturday.
"Dick does a great job with the youngsters," Rich Daff said. "He'll help anyone with their game. And he's easy to find. He's in Bowl America Odenton just about every day."
National Amateur Bowlers Inc. will be at Crofton Bowling Centre on Aug. 28, 29 and 30 for the Inner Circle Club Tournament with a prize fund of $20,000.
On Sunday, the Best of Bowling radio talk show will be live from Crofton Centre at 5 p.m.
Donald G. Vitek's Bowling column appears every Thursday in The Anne Arundel County Sun. Bowlers are urged to give Don a call with scores and tidbits at 247-0850.