Olympic coverage continues…and continues… and continues. I love all the human interest stories. It’s like I’m watching the open audition rounds of HERZENGOVINA IDOL.
Question: Since I have an audience that extends beyond the U.S. borders (not in China because my blog is blocked there) but are you other-than-Americas really into these Olympics?
In 1984 the Big O's were held in L.A. as opposed to this year where (despite all the positive spin) they’re being played in the Detroit of China. For six months prior to the event we Angelinos were warned that the traffic was going to be an absolute nightmare. Citywide gridlock was predicted. But the result was a mass exodus of the locals and there was no traffic at all. We should have the Olympics at least every Friday.
For those of us who stuck around, it was a three-week party. The athletes were housed in the UCLA dorms and on the weekends would walk down the hill to the student union and mingle with the crowd. Vendors were selling commemorative pins and tacos and my family would swing by from nearby Westwood. Security measures were in place but mostly around the dorms. At this makeshift street fair the athletes roamed freely with us riff-raff. It was fun to talk to them about their countries and culture and answer their questions about America – like what was the appeal of Sylvester Stallone, and Prince.
I was fortunate enough to attend several events. Sat on the street and watched the marathon go by. I had my “Emil Zátopek rules!” sign but it turns out I had missed him by thirty-four years.
Got tickets for the ladies gymnastics finals at Pauley Pavilion. Thank God I brought my little Sony portable TV. There was no P.A. announcer telling you what was going on. All of these events were taking place simultaneously. Nobody had any idea what was happening except me. The one thing that did become clear, even to the people whose only exposure was watching it themselves, was that Mary Lou Retton was something special and on the verge of greatness. Beating out Romanian minx Ecaterina Szabó for the Gold Medal was truly thrilling -- only eclipsed by getting home with no traffic.
Since the Russians and 14 Eastern Bloc-countries boycotted the games, the U.S. kicked ass and American jingoism was at an all-time high. But what a joke. It was like the New York Yankees playing in the World Series against the Hooters girls.
Anyway, I must end here. The women's 10 meter air rifle event is about to start and I can't miss a minute of that.