August 5, 1996
GOOD, BAD AND THE UGLY
By LARRY TUCKER
ATLANTA -- Olympic memories are made of this, that and a whole bunch of things. Here are mine:
* Most annoying experience: There were a few down here. Yet, apparently, the worst was sitting home, watching NBC try to make heroes of every American who ever wore running shoes or a bathing suit. Who'd have thunk it ... Canadians, actually glad they can watch CBC?
* Most Moving Moment: Mu-hammad Ali's appearance during the opening ceremonies.
* Most Too-Bad-It-Came-To-This Moment: Juan Antonio Samaranch presenting Muhammad Ali with a gold medal to replace the one he'd won at Rome in 1960. Ali apparently threw the original off a bridge when he returned home to Louisville as a protest against racism.
* Most Politically-Dead IOC vice-president: Canada's Richard Pound. Rumored as a leading candidate to succeed Samaranch, Pound found himself in the midst of an embarrassing mess when his wife was charged with refusing to comply with an officer's orders, obstruction, disorderly conduct and simple battery following a dispute with a female traffic officer over jaywalking, of all things. According to the police report, Julie Pound was "under the influence" and kneed the officer in the groin after cussing her out. "My wife is very upset," Pound said. No doubt the cop's a tad miffed, too.
* Most Popular Sport: Pin trading, what else?
* Worst beard: That red-white-and-blue mess that Icelandic decathlete Jon Arnar Magnusson had growing on his face. He won the bet. He can shave now.
Huge Canadian loss
* Biggest Single Canadian Loss: Deryk Snelling, the swim coach whose Calgary pupils Curtis Myden, Mark Tewskbury, Jon Cleveland, Andrea Nugent and Tom Ponting all proudly wear Olympic medals. Snelling's gone to England to run their national program.
* Next Biggest Canadian Loss: The almost-certain departure of rowing coach Brian Richardson to Australia.
* The `This Program Needs an Overhaul' Award: To Canada's female basketball and volleyball teams, who came here flushed with good intentions and wound up in the toilet. The b'ballers lost six straight before beating Zaire. Meanwhile, the volleying gals didn't win a single set in their first four games before beating Peru.
* Best Dining Experience: Aleck's Barbecue Heaven, a small restaurant that, on first sight, looks like hell. The floor's filthy but the plates are clean. Besides, to sit in the back booth -- where legendary civil rights leaders Martin Luther King Jr., Ralph Abernathy and Andrew Young would sit late into the night discussing way to boost their cause -- was for me the single greatest experience of the trip.
* Most Offensive Olympic Sponsor: Nike, which suffers from shoe-in-mouth disease. "You don't win silver, you lose gold" ... "If someone says `I'm just glad to compete' blame it on my interpreter." Lovely stuff to plaster on a billboard isn't it. Buy adidas, please.
* Best Investment in the Future: Stock in Clearasil. With all the Coke they've peddled around here, the place is turning into one big pimple.
* Worst Dining Experience: Thank God it wasn't mine ... two inmates helping prepare meals for Olympic volunteers put human feces in a lunchbox.
* Most Ridiculous Fuss: The silly controversy over Canada's flag bearers, Marnie McBean and Kathleen Heddle. The COA broke with tradition, naming two flag-bearers. The organizing committee said no, one's the limit at the closing ceremonies. Suddenly there were appeals, phone calls, official letters, protests ... what is this, a sports contest or the United Nations?
* Worst Moment: Need you ask?
No more Ben
* Greatest Moment: There were two. First, Donovan Bailey's world record 100 metres. Secondly, 48 hours later when the test proved negative. Now, can we finally bury Ben Johnson?
* Biggest Lie: "Don't worry, sir, the bus will be here right on time ..."
* Single Biggest Twit in Town: Replacing Jane Fonda is Atlanta's Mayor Bill Campbell, who suggested anyone who complained about the busses should be shot. Meanwhile, athletes who'd devoted their lives to getting here either missed events or arrived late and in a frazzled state of mind due to chaos with the transit.
* Most Painful `Left Behind in Atlanta' Story: The poor -Greek cyclist who crashed on his keester on the sandpaper-like surface of the track at Stone Mountain, sliding 40 feet and losing half his shorts and a sizeable portion of his left cheek.