Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Olympics Now, Then and the Future

When we lived in Atlanta, I remember the big deal it was when it was announced that the Olympics would be there in 1996. It seemed like it would be such a long time away but it was only 6 short years.

The New York Times reported:

Atlanta Selected Over Athens for 1996 Olympics

Published: September 19, 1990

LEAD: With a powerful display of personal lobbying and financial clout, Atlanta today won the right to hold the 1996 Summer Olympic Games, turning back a strong sentimental appeal by Athens to become the site for the 100th anniversary of the first modern Olympic Games.

It was an exciting time. Caroline was just 2 years old and Katie Lea was 6 years old when the announcement came. We knew by the time the Olympics came it would be a great age for them to remember.

Several of our friends left town and rented their houses out to people for $3-4000 for a week during the Olympics. I'm still wondering why we didn't consider that idea!

As a family we had discussed how we would handle the grid-lock traffic; how we'd get to work, etc. We decided if it got too bad we'd just stay at Christian Towers, the retirement community where I worked.

The day the torch came through Decatur, the community where the Towers was, some of the staff went to downtown Decatur to watch this momentous occasion. We walked the mile or so to be a part of the fun. The excitement was tangible as we waited.

I'll never forget a young man who was on top of the Starbucks building there dressed in a Statue of Liberty costume. (I don't know.) We kept an eye on him because he had the best view of the upcoming torch bearer.

The traffic ended up being lighter than usual during the Olympics. Since we had told the girls we'd likely spend some nights at Christian Towers, we did one our sleeping bags...on the hard floor...did I mention it was a HARD floor?

Ah well. That's what memories are made of.

Now with the Olympics in Beijing I'm reminiscing about that time, when Mark Spitz won 7 golds, when Olga Korbut and Mary Lou Retton charmed the world with their million dollar smiles and when Nadia Comanici won the hearts of the world.

I'm looking ahead to the Olympics in 2012. Serge, our adopted son from Rwanda is hoping to run for his country. In 2012, I'll be pulling for our Serge. :)

Running the race,
(the non-Olympic variety)


The Ballinger Family said...

Hi....I love running into other wives in the ministry. I am a pw of 15 years now. Glad I ran across your blog!

Suzanne said...

The Olympics bring back memories for me too. I was 12 when Nadia Comanici won the hearts of the world in the 76 olympics. I was amazed and I think I wanted to be her. I would make up routines doing cartwheels and I even once showed someone a picture of myself and told them it was my identical twin

not-so-deep Denise said...

I read another blog today and they were be-moaning the fact that the adverage Beijinger can't afford to get into any of the events.

Did you feel that way at the time? Like it was too expensive? Or too difficult to get tickets?

Even though I was just over in Bham I didn't hear any discussion about attending....

Susan said...

We didn't even try to get tickets. We didn't want to fight the crowds. I don't think the ticket prices were that high, but we're just not big crowd kind of people...