Elusive Trope's picture

    The Olympics and Me

    While responding to a comment on another thread, I was reminded of a moment during the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City.  I wasn't quite 4 years old when it happened.  I know I was watching with my parents and my older brother, but I have no memory of it.  Yet I also don't remember not knowing about it.  Somehow it has been seared into my consciousness.  In terms of longevity over the years, there is probably no other incident that has caused more intense debate than this one.

    If there was ever a moment that shows people's true colors it is this one.

    But probably the next Olympics was the most impactful.  I was not quite eight when I saw these images:

    If you want to understand my generation's emotional reaction to Israel, one has to understand the impact of this event.  Aside from the hearing investigating Nixon interrupting my cartoons after school, this is the first time the real world (as opposed to watching historical footage of, say, concentration camp victims being bulldozed into mass graves) imposed itself on my isolated middle class and privileged life.

    For a long time Israel was those athletes.  Those who wanted to harm Isreal....murderous thugs in stocking caps.

    And life goes on. 

    To the 1976 Olympics...

    During our bicentennial...

    We had Bruce.

    Bruce! Bruce! Bruce!

    (to indicate the amount of respect Bruce has with me as a result of his victory when I was not quite 12, I will not mention the reality show...)

    And the world had...


    Nadia Comaneci.


    Even Americans thought so.

    Reagan is credited with the fall of the Berlin Wall.  He owes it all to her in my opinion.

    Then...four years later...the Miracle.

    Even me, the little teenager anarchist doing the blitzkrieg bop celebrated.

    Yet four years later

    From that point it was all downhill to...

    Yet the Olympics has given me the true one, the one that must remember as the greatest of the greats, the god among gods, the athlete for whom all athletes pale in comparison, the hunk of hunks, what I as a young boy understood to be the ultimate example of the pinnacle of manhood


    Thank you Olympics for making me the person (and man) who I am.




    I was thirteen and saw the black power salute live, the interview after they lost their medals, and thought it massively unfair. I also saw Rick DeMont win a gold in the 400m Free only to have it stripped because of something in his asthma meds. The guy who finished second initially said he didn't want the gold, but I think he later accepted it. DeMont was the world record holder for the 1500m, but wasn't allowed to swim any other events. Later the USOC decided they had screwed up his tests, but the IOC refused to consider reinstatement.

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