I’ve watched a lot of Olympic Games over the years. Somehow, though, they are starting to run together in my mind. What year was it that Sarah Hughes won the women’s figure skating finals, after being in fourth place after the short program? It was 2002, but I couldn’t have told you this without looking it up.
So here are my now fading recollections, without checking sources except to verify that my memory was in fact correct.
1896 Summer: Athens, Greece – obviously, I don’t remember the specific event – how old do you think I am? – but I do recall that this was the beginning of the modern Games
1904 Summer: St. Louis, MO, United States – the debacle that Shooting Parrots mentioned
1936 Summer: Berlin, Germany – this will always be the Jesse Owens (pictured) Olympics for me, with Hitler’s assertion of a master race being shattered
1948 Summer: London, United Kingdom – I must admit that I learned much about the still bombed out city holding the first summer Games since the end of World War II from NBC’s coverage of the 2012 Games
1960 Winter: Squaw Valley, CA, United States – I don’t specifically remember these games, but I do recall the disastrous plane crash in Belgium the following February that wiped out the entire 1961 U.S. World Figure Skating Team
1960 Summer: Rome, Italy – I remember Cassius Clay losing or throwing away his heavyweight championship gold medal after these Games when returning to a still segregated US
1968 Winter: Grenoble, France – ski racer Jean-Claude Killy
1968 Summer: Mexico City, Mexico – the black power salute of Carlos and Smith; also, Bob Beamon’s record long jump
1972 Summer: Munich, West Germany – of course, the killing of Israeli athletes; to this day, I’m still crushed by Jim McKay’s “they’re all gone.” Plus, Mark Spitz’s seven gold medals in swimming
1976 Summer: Montreal, Canada – Bruce Jenner won the decathalon. Beyond that, a number of African countries boycotted the Games because of the participation of apartheid South Africa and Rhodesia.
1980 Winter: Lake Placid, NY, United States – the US beat the USSR in the men’s hockey semifinals, then Finland in the finals.
1980 Summer: Moscow, Soviet Union – 65 nations boycotted because of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan
1984 Summer: Los Angeles, CA, United States – The Soviet Union and 14 of its Eastern Bloc partners boycotted in response to actions four years earlier
1988 Winter: Calgary, AB, Canada – (pictured) Katerina Witt’s second straight Olympic title in figure skating “matching the same feat performed by Norway’s Sonja Henie”
1992 Summer: Barcelona, Spain – the US basketball “Dream Team” of Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and other NBA stars
1994 Winter: Lillehammer, Norway – that soap opera involving Tonya Harding’s ex-husband Jeff Gillooly hiring a goon to kneecap female figure skater Nancy Kerrigan; Ukraine’s Oksana Baiul beat Kerrigan, with Harding finishing eighth.
1996 Summer: Atlanta, GA, United States – I less remember the Games than the bomb detonated at the Centennial Olympic Park, which killed two and injured over 100 others. Some poor security guard named Richard Jewell came under suspicion. The bomb was actually set by Eric Rudolph, who is currently serving a life sentence for the bombing. One of the local (Albany, NY area) reporters covering the Olympics, Chris Kapostasy (later Jansing, when she moved to NBC/MSNBC in 1998), won a New York Emmy Award in 1997 for her coverage of the bombing.
1998 Winter: Nagano, Japan – Michelle Kwan had been winning World Championships in women’s figure skating, yet lost to [I had to look it up] Tara Lipinski in the Olympic finals
2008 Summer: Beijing, China – this was the Michael Phelps eight gold medals in swimming event. The great concern beforehand was the air quality, which, thanks to good weather, wasn’t as bad as feared.
I’m sure there are other bits that you will remind me of…
Image of Witt was originally posted to Flickr by zipckr at http://flickr.com/photos/7363465@N08/3439530032. It was reviewed on 03:15, 26 August 2011 (UTC) by FlickreviewR, who found it to be licensed under the terms of the cc-by-2.0, which is compatible with the Commons. It is, however, not the same license as given above, and it is unknown whether that license ever was valid.