Friday, January 18, 2002

The Olympic Spirit!

I went to see the Olympic flame as it ran through Downtown L.A. on Tuesday. A little contrived, a little sappy, but honestly, a positive experience. I was at the LA County museum of art, and went over to the La Brea tar pits next door for the 5:45pm arrival of the torch. Coca-Cola did a good sponsorship job, and handed out hundreds of "I saw the flame" pennants, which ensured that any photos of torchbearers would prominently include their logo. The volunteers were all focused and enthusiastic. Bystanders began to chat as they gathered to wait for the runners arrival. I had a real community feeling, something uncommon in my experience with Los Angeles. Children had handmade "Go USA!" banners, and the L.A. Fire Dept extended a ladder over the street. A sense of excitement built as the helicopters over the torch caravan got closer and closer. When the flame finally arrived, I was fortunate to be near the spot where a handoff occurred. The incoming runner was some guy from the Australian edition of Survivor, (but I've never seen it and didn't recognize him) and the outgoing was a local single mom. An interesting note of local politics was that the City Councilman who presided over the handoff made a little extemporaneous speech "She was nominated by her family because she's not only a great mom and a great wife, but-" at which point the runner interrupted him "dude, I'm not married" which inspired a round of applause from the crowd. As this woman was also attractive, there were several catcalls from men in the crowd as well, but mostly good-natured. She hugged her kids, the flame was passed, and she began her leg. The people lined up along Wilshire Boulevard cheered as she came around the corner and headed West.

U-S-A-U-S-A-U-S-A !

Official SLC 2002 Olympics Website


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