Olympic Memory (Don Ward)

By: Don Ward
By: Don Ward

I'm a lifelong fan of the Olympics, nothing will top this for me.

I remember watching the 1972 Munich games on TV.  I was 6 or 7 and it got me hooked for life.  I remember watching the amazing swimmer Mark Spitz win all those gold medals. It was a real thrill to actually meet him when he spoke at the Breakfast of Champions here in Colorado Springs a few years ago.    I even got a picture with the Olympic legend.  He's the one of the left without the tie who still looks like a great athlete!


Now I watch as many events as time allows every time the Olympics come around..seems like time allows less and less of that these days!  Nothing quite beats seeing it in person.  I had a chance to do that in 1996.  I was working in Louisville, Kentucky.  A co-worker had friends in Atlanta and we decided to drive down for a couple of days.  

We saw a few events, volleyball, baseball, even field hockey (it's the Olympics, you take the tickets you can get) We also had tickets to a morning session of athletics, track and field. That ticket was for the morning session on July 27th. (right in the picture below) .  In the early morning hours of the 27th that bomb exploded in the Atlanta Olympic Park.  By that 9:15 session the next morning security was very, very tight.  I even did some phone reports for my TV station about the situation. 

Now notice the ticket on the left. That's for track and field on that same night.



A lot of people were scared the day after the bombing.  That's understandable.  We ran into a man who had tickets for that night session, but who didn't want to take his family into the stadium, just in case.  We bought the tickets at face value, $48.00 each.

That night happened to be the finals of the 100 meters.  We saw Canadian Donovan Bailey run 100 meters faster than anyone had ever run it before!  His 9.84 stood as the world record until 1999. 

It was unexpected that we were able to be in the stadium that night, but it was an incredible thing to see!   It's not the greatest moment in Olympics history, but it probably is the greatest sports moment I'll ever be able to see in person...for $48.00 and a little bit of good fortune in a bad situation.

Hope there are lots of great moments in London.

We'll talk again soon.

Don Ward


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