Posted by: erinserb | August 14, 2012

Olympic moments

It is bittersweet to see the XXXth Summer Olympiad  end, but it is probably a good thing for nearly all who want to get back to their regularly scheduled TV programs and adhering to their healthy bed times.

The Olympics afford those who are not even “into” athletics, a chance to dream about achieving potentials which aren’t usually thought, going for the Gold to be one.  Although the Games have the proverbial controversy, be it dope testing, unfair officiating, jingoistic fervor, etc., it still seems we watch.  Sometimes we watch it live, but more often than not, we watch tape delays because that is the way NBC does it.  Maybe for the Games of Rio 2016, we will watch more live programming because Rio is only 2 hours ahead of Easter Daylight Time, but I digress.

My Olympic moment came unexpectedly and will be forever burned into my memory.  It was 1994 and St. Louis proudly hosted the U.S. Olympic Festival – a yearly offering for a lucky city to participate in a mini-Olympics.  This festival is no longer held, probably due to the cost. 

I was attending Washington University in St. Louis in the final year of my Master’s program.  Wash. U. hosted some events, as they did in the 1904 Olympic Games, which were a second-rate event in the shadow of that year’s World’s Fair.  As I walked outside of the old Prince Hall, I noticed an all but empty Francis Field, where most of the track and field events were held back then, both in 1904 and 1994.  The sky was beautifully amber as the sun was setting.  I noticed a cauldron of fire, and it was the Olympic Flame, lit specifically for the Festival in 1994.

There was nary a soul but me and the Flame against the beautiful backdrop; a Flame that indicated that at one time, the World came to St. Louis for the Fair, and oh yes, the Olympiad too!  As I got closer to the Flame, I could hear the rush of the gas jets providing the fuel.  In that moment, someone who was and is a lover of all things Olympic, had a shiver go down his spine.  I spent a few moments next to the Flame; I didn’t want to leave it, but all things must go on….and London 2012 went on, the inheritor of that and all the flames that have burned since and in the future.

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