August 01, 2008
We love the Olympics. We, your Fourth-Place Medal writers, are spending our days writing about obstacle swimming, ancient archers and condoms because we love this stuff. Read on for our favorite Olympic memories, and share yours in the comments.
Chris Chase: Donning a new pair of gold Nike running shoes, Michael Johnson obliterated both the competition and a 17-year old world record in the 200-meter dash at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. After the race, Jamaica's Ato Bolden, who came in third, bowed in homage to Johnson and said of his 19.32, "that's not a time, it sounds like my dad's birthday."
Nick Friedell: If there is one memory that has always stuck out to me, it's got to be Kerri Strug pulling off that vault in Atlanta at the '96 Games. I can still hear Bela Karolyi saying "Keddi you can do it, you can do it." The weight of the world must have been on her shoulders before that final vault, and she still managed to stick it, even though she only had one healthy leg at that point. I was 12 at the time, and I'm convinced that Strug had a lot to do with the fact that the girl I had a crush on during parts of sixth and seventh grade was a gymnast.
Patrick Imig: My favorite Olympics memory is Magic Johnson standing with a gold medal around his neck next to his teammates as the Star Spangled Banner played for the Dream Team, just months after leaving the NBA due to contracting HIV.
Bill Fitzgerald: My favorite Olympic memory is from the first Olympics I really remember. In the 1976 Montreal Games, Japan was trying to continue its dominance in men’s gymnastics, striving for a fifth straight gold medal in the team all around. Shun Fujimoto broke his kneecap during his floor exercise but continued to compete, scoring a 9.5 on the pommel horse and a personal best 9.7 on the rings. He tore a ligament and dislocated the knee on his dismount from the rings, but his score helped Japan win the gold. I was amazed by it then and watching YouTube clips, I am amazed today.
Maggie Hendricks: After watching Cael Sanderson wrestle his way to a perfect record in college, I could not wait to see him go for the gold in Athens. Though not much wrestling was televised in 2004 - I had to set my alarm clock for 2:00 a.m. to see any matches - I did get to see Sanderson top off his perfect career with gold. I still get chills when I think of him jumping into the arms of Bobby Douglass, the man who coached him through college and the Olympics.