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Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Olympic Placemarks

The Olympics are an important milestone.   The fact that they happen every four years makes a crucial difference.   There is no..."We"ll get them next year" .... in the Olympics, because if you don't win now, there is no telling where you'll be four years from now.
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Because they are separated by blocks of time, the Olympics tend to burn placemarks in my memory, that erases the years and brings loved ones back to life.
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Some of my placemarks.....

Jim Ryun losing in the 1500 to Kip Keino of Kenya and Bob Beamon leaving the world record by over a foot in the long jump in Mexico City.
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Dave Wottle coming from the back of the pack to win the 800 meters, with my father jumping out of his chair cheering him home.
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Steve Prefontaine losing to the evil Finn Lasse Viren in Munich 5000 meter run.   Frank Shorter of Yale, winning the marathon, after an impostor jumped on the track.
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Joan Benoit of Cape Elizabeth, Maine and Bowdoin College crushing the field in the first women's marathon.
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Tommy Smith and John Carlos with their Black Power salute on the victory stand after a world record 200 M sweep.
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Al Oerter winning the discus, four Olympics in a row.
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Bruce Jenner waving the American Flag after an impressive Decathlon win.
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The Sprinter Flo Jo, Florence Griffith-Joyner with her spectacular finger nails that our friend Elaine Coughlan so admired.  Both died way too young.
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Jim McKay and the Munich massacre of Israeli athletes by Muslim Terrorists.
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Sugar Ray Leonard, Leon Spinks and his brother, Michael, in the Boxing competition.  I remember watching this in the Landing Restaurant Bar in Marblehead with my friend, Joe Collins.
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Lots of Olympic memories.  Some years I was more attentive than others.... especially when my brother and I were so into track and field during high school and college.
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Not sure if anything will be burned in from this Olympiad.  But hopefully, I'll keep the memories that transport me back to friends and family every four years or so.

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