My Olympics memories

As it were. A random sampling, as I sit here being bored by the US against Bulgaria in men’s volleyball. (I’m sure it’s thrilling some people…but not me.)

My earliest Olympics — Munich 72. I have the photographic proof here:

Yes, that's my dad and I

My dad’s mustache was a short-lived phase, but he looked pretty good with that. As for me, I suspect I wasn’t paying too much attention.

My first ‘real’ Olympics — Lake Placid 80. It was the one I was first consciously aware of, that I tried to watch as much of as I could, though that was only so much. Eric Heiden I remember very well. The skiing Mahre brothers, reasonably well. And I might be the only person besides themselves who remember Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner — and how they ended up not competing.

My first full-on Olympics year — 1984. Sarajevo, Los Angeles, ABC covering both, Jim McKay looking pretty comfortable, Bill Johnson, Torvill and Dean, Katarina Witt (she was in that Olympics, wasn’t she?), Carl Lewis, Daley Thompson, Mary Lou Retton, Joan Benoit smoking the field in the women’s marathon, lots of other things. And bad Sergio Mendes songs on the radio. (But that was obviated by the presence of Prince and Van Halen and more besides.)

My first nearly ‘live’ Olympics — Calgary 1988. One time zone away, so the coverage was actually live! Amazing! Witt definitely in that one, Bonnie Blair…what else happened that year? Oh right, Tomba.

My first black and white Olympics — Seoul 1988. I had to crouch over a small B/W TV in my dorm room, having just moved into UCLA for freshmen year. Oh the Ben Johnson roffles.

My first actually ‘live’ Olympics via TV — Barcelona 1992, thanks to being in the UK at the time. BBC coverage, Des Lyman as commentator (was that his name?), and the greatest night of track and field in history. I heard later that all the water polo dudes on the high school team that were friends of my sis all came over and watched the NBC triplecast of said sports’ games. Cause why not?

My first Internet Olympics — Lillehammer 1994. “Check out our site on Prodigy!” alt.tonya-harding.whack-whack-whack — alt.nancy-kerrigan.ouch-ouch-ouch — and Dave Letterman’s mom interviewing the titular subject of the latter was the best Olympics TV moment in years.

My first ‘wait, what?’ Olympics — Atlanta 1996. A bombing, Celine Dion, Kerri Strug and John Tesh. Wait, what?

My last Olympics I watched in any great detail — Salt Lake City 2002. Vague memories.

The current one, which I’m only watching due to being home for a few days — the Christian Slater ads are laughable.

Roll on the track and field coverage, PLEASE!


2 Responses to “My Olympics memories”

  1. Kate Says:

    Atlanta was an Olympics I would like to forget somewhat. Not because of the bombing or the hyper-commercialism of the Games (or even Celine Dion), but because I had my wisdom teeth out (all four of them and with only a local anesthetic) during that games, and spent most of one weekend of competition in an antibiotic and painkiller haze.

    In fact, the surgery took place the day before the actual bombing of Centennial Park. I came down from my bedroom the following morning dazed and drugged (and exhausted from post-surgery aftereffects) and my father told me that the “Olympics had been bombed.”

    My sole reaction? I just shrugged my shoulders and went back upstairs, too out of it to really comprehend the gravity of what had happened.

  2. Ned Raggett Says:

    Yeah, a four wisdom teeth removal will make it all groggy for sure. Maybe for the best in a situation like that — I remember feeling pretty on edge for a bit.

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