I just thought I’d let the news media know that the Cold War ended in the Reagan administration. It’s not necessary to bash every detail of the Olympics. I can’t remember an Olympics when there were not last-minute crises and concerns. It’s a major undertaking, and fraught with pitfalls.
My husband and I had just moved to Los Angeles from Marysville when the 1984 Olympics were held there. That was the year the Russians didn’t show up, in retaliation for the Americans not showing up in Moscow in 1980.
I think it’s way past time to put the politics to rest and let the games be games. There was a lot of anxiety about the LA Olympics: traffic would be a nightmare, we would be overwhelmed, the competition sites were too far apart, and on and on. Well, in the 10 years we lived in LA those two weeks were the most traffic-free we ever had. Everyone made it to the events—even if one was at Pyramid Lake some 60 miles away.
We were fortunate enough to attend the Opening Ceremonies, the first time the Olympic theme was played, and it will forever be a memorable moment in our lives. We were in the stands when Zola Budd and Mary Decker Slaney collided — and we still can’t remember the name of the Swiss woman who won the event. I was lucky enough to meet a bronze medal winner in boxing from Kenya, and was amazed at how heavy the medal was and humbled by how proud he was.
I still have the tickets and the pins, including one given to my sister-in-law by a marathoner from Djoubouti, who won the marathon in Korea in 1988. It is an event that plays huge in many athlete’s lives, and I would like to see a little less cynicism and arrogance on the part of the U.S. news media.
We don’t live in Russia (I’m pretty darn grateful for that), but let’s tone down the critical comments and celebrate our athletes—and everyone’s athletes. That’s the Olympic Ideal. Let’s try to practice it.