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I've loved the Olympic Games since I was 11 years old, the summer I watched Dave Wottle win the 800m, Mark Spitz win seven out of seven Golds in swimming, and (hated;-) Russian Valery Borzov won the 100m 'cause our guys slept through their qualifying heats. Yes, the Munich Games were also those tarnished by the first mideastern terrorists. However, I think that's a testament to the power of the Olympic Games ... the positive memories live on. Of course, that's also the year that the (hated;-) Russian judge came out of the stands to give their basketball team a third chance to beat us.

So, even though the Olympics & Politics are inseparable, the struggle and effort one sees to win against all odds is what makes its storyline so compelling. It's interesting, I think, that some dominating athletes of their sport have NEVER won an Olympic medal. Oftentimes, this is through no fault of their own (e.g. President Jimmy Carter cost hurdler Renaldo Nehemiah and others their only chance). Mary Decker (then Decker-Slaney) had other chances, and still never won one. And who can forget decathlete Dan O'Brien, who thankfully got another chance here in Atlanta, after "no heighting" in the pole vault trying to qualify for the Barcelona games.

Yes, I guess it's the Summer Olympics that means more to me personally. I'm more familiar with the sports, especially Athletics (Track & Field). In fact, I was inspired to run track (& cross country) in high school ... even captained my senior year ... because of these Games. I was a four event competitor (120 yard high hurdles, 180 yard low hurdles, high jump, & triple jump) and there were even some meets in which I won all four! But I also enjoy watching gymnastics, swimming, boxing (especially 1976 & the Spinks brothers ... I lived in St. Louis at the time), and basketball (especially before the NBA players were allowed to play).

My closest personal ties to the games are that my brother was one of the on-site volleyball announcers here in 1996 (though he did most of his work in Athens), I met Jackie Joyner-Kersee at a corporate leaders event, I saw Michael Johnson break one of the oldest world records in track & field (200m) at the Olympic qualifying event here (he lowered it again during the Atlanta Games), and I've been to Sydney, though it was 13 years before their Games (also Rome, Barcelona, St. Louis, & Los Angeles;-)

My "obsession" with the Olympics almost delayed my graduation from college and did cost me my only D the summer the games were in Los Angeles. I just couldn't get into studying when, everytime I got back to my apartment after classes, there was the TV and, if I turned it on, the Olympic Games were on. Of course, our success in those games (due in part to some boycotting ... politics again) was so complete that I was familiarized with some sports (cycling?) I had never watched previously.

How 'bout y'all? Why do you love the Olympics? What's your, or your favorite, Olympic story?

BTW, a comprehensive database of results can be found at - http://www.olympic.org/uk/athletes/results/search_r_uk.asp
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