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|The site below was placed online in July & August, 1996, and has largely been left in its original form|
| They say the Torch has covered over 15,000 miles since it arrived in
the U.S., and at least half of that was on the streets of Atlanta. They
ran that dang thing all over tarnation, including about a mile from my
home on Thursday, 7/18, so I had to take in the first part of the Olympic
One of the first things you learn about the *Olympic experience* is that it will be late. The torch was running an hour and twenty minutes behind that day, and the next day it was three hours behind schedule. Apparently, they need to get faster torch bearers....these folks are just joggin'. But as I understand it, some of the faster torch bearers had to be replaced after they tested positive for a banned substance.....Pepsi.
The torch run brought out quite a large and diverse crowd, young and old, black and white. People were stacked 20 and 30 deep on the sidewalks, and took over the street at times. It was hot, humid, crowded....and everybody was loving it.
The first sign of the torch procession was a pickup truck pulling an open bed trailer filled with energetic youngsters selling Cokes for a $1 donation to United Way. They were playing rap music, and dancing, and passing out *soda pop*. I thought, well that's nice. Coca-Cola is giving these poor hot souls some refreshment, and passing on the profit to charity, while trying to pump up the crowd. That feeling faded quickly, after about ten of those trucks had gone through, in addition to an equal number of motorcycles with sidecars....shaped like Coke bottles. It's the Oliver Stone approach to advertising. Get the consumer's attention by hitting them repeatedly on the head with a baseball bat. "Sha-zam, Coca-Coler? Is that some kinda new drank?" WHACK!
the actual Olympic flame came into view, it had an entourage only slightly
smaller than Madonna's. At least the Georgia State Patrol got some fancy
new patrol cars out of the deal, so watch out for BMW's with blue lights!
The actual flame passing was quite exciting, but very brief, considering
folks had been waiting almost two hours for a thirty second view. The
torch bearer was Dr. Victor Polizos, a well known Atlanta pediatrician,
having received the flame from former Olympian Kip Keino.
I have been swamped with work lately, even shooting a job the morning
of Opening Ceremonies, and having to FedEx (non-Olympic sponsor) the
film out before I could go have fun. But as I walked back to the car
after the torch run, it hit me like a ton of bricks. After six years
of anticipation....."they're here."
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