The Olympics

Lee Evans gets the gold in 1968

I watched the Olympic opener in London last night.  Not sure why I did it.  I usually don’t do that sort of thing.  I kept switching between it and the “Midsummer Mystery” who-done-it on PBS.  I found it insulting and rather annoying to have to listen to the NBC network people constantly telling me what I was watching.  I was watching it wasn’t I?  Why did they have to tell me what it was.  It would have been much more fun to figure it out for myself.

I thought overall it was okay, some parts were pretty cheesy, some parts kind of ridiculous, but…in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make…   Paul McCartney looked OLD!  Ugh!  He was always the one with the boyish looks!

In 1968 the Olympics were in Mexico City.  We were living there at the time and my school gave us a month off.  Probably to ease congestion on the roads.  It was my family’s cue to get out of town.  We went to the USA and visited family.  All my cousins were in school and people on the street looked at me funny like — why wasn’t I in school?  So I completely missed the Olympics.  I did hear about some American guys who got medals and made a stance for the plight of the African American by raising their fists.  They got in trouble for it.  After all the Olympics is not supposed to be political. But this was 1968 and race was a huge issue in the USA.

About ten years later I was sitting on my porch in Nigeria when I was introduced to Lee Evans.  He was saying goodbye to my mother who he had become friends with.  At the time he had been coaching the Nigerian National team.  He said he was happy to leave Africa and was frustrated with all the road blocks and corruption in Nigeria.  He joked briefly about that day back in 1968 when he had raised his fist and said if he had known then what he knew now, he probably wouldn’t have done it.  But from what I understand he did go back to Africa and to Nigeria.  And even though he might have used his 15 minutes to make a political statement at the Olympics, you have to admit he was a great athlete.

2 comments

  1. I agree with you about the NBC presentation of the Olympics. Commentators sounded intrusive, but I guess they had to play their roles. Also had mixed feelings about the Opening, but people who were there wrote that it was spectacular, unique, entertaining,etc. I think TV couldn’t do it justice.

    I was in Mexico City in 1968 and attended the Opening and Closing ceremonies. What I most remember is the shared feeling of unity (despite the Cold War and the fierce U.S./USSR competition)watching history and greatness unfold. .

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