Friday, August 08, 2008


The Olympics are starting. Technically they already have, I guess. They're not as big a deal as they used to be, partly due to the abundance of sports on TV now, partly due to the lack of the USA/USSR rivalry, and partly because of the participation of professional athletes. It was definitely better when we only had "amateurs"; at least amateurs competing for the US. Now, if Iran would develop into a worthwhile Olympic rival- then we'd have something going again.

However, it's still a big deal!

So, some Olympic questions for everyone:

What was the first Olympics you remember?
I remember vaguely the skating performance of Peggy Fleming in the 1968 Winter Olympics. However, I'd like to keep this Q&A limited to the summer games. I vaguely remember the '68 Summer Olympics, but the first ones I really remember getting into were the '72 Munich games.

Favorite Olympic Games?
1976 Montreal. Having "lost" on a controversial "do-over" of epic proportions in 1972, the US basketball team avenged that loss by taking the gold medal. It was much more meaningful because it was a group of collegians that accomplished the feat.

The 1976 US boxing team also was stellar, led by the immortal Ray Leonard and Leon Spinks! I believe the US-USSR match up hit its peak intensity at this Olympics. The fact that five US boxers won gold medals made the accomplishment seem edgier in that Cold War era.

Then there was the decathlon and Bruce Jenner's victory. Take that, Russkies! The track and field was fun to watch, too.

Most boring Olympics?
1984 Los Angeles. No USSR. No drama. Sorry Mary Lou.

Best Olympic athlete ever?
Since I'm too young to remember Jesse Owens, I've got to say Carl Lewis. It's too bad he went and spoiled his legacy by doing this.

Best Olympic performance?
Mark Spitz at Munich 1972- seven gold medals at one Olympic games still stands as THE performance standard.

Most dramatic moment?
I always have loved the 100 meter final- and nothing beat the Carl Lewis/Ben Johnson moment in 1988 at Seoul, South Korea.

Sport that used to get huge coverage and now doesn't?
Indoor volleyball. Now, it's all the beach variety.

Best Olympics that never was?
Well, at least from the American point of view, that would be 1980 in Moscow. Blame Jimmy Carter for that one. Just a few months after the Lake Placid Miracle on Ice, we missed out on a games with great dramatic potential. For no reason.

Because of this we had to wait until Rocky IV in 1985 to see an American go into Russia and take it to those Commies!

There are certainly some things I've overlooked. Any other thoughts?


  1. Kerri Strug's victory over injury and opponents is special, I think that was 1996.

    I vaguely remember watching all the excitement over Nadia Komaniche's perfect 10 in 1976. I was too young to really understand what was going on.

    My favorite olympic memory, though belongs to the winter sports when Dan Jansen finally won gold in 1994.

  2. MarieN!

    Gymnastics was never my favorite thing, but those times were pretty good. The Dan Jansen thing was about the coolest, but as you noted happened in the winter.

    I always have liked the summer better than the winter variety.