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When/Where Did You Lose Your Olympic Cherry


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So...when did you first get into the five ringed circus, either as a viewer from afar on TV or maybe as a participant, spectator, volunteer, worker...whatever, in your local games?

Happy to testify that I fell under the spell of the games in 1972 thanks to the Munich SOGs. Coverage down under was limited (black and white TV etc) but as these were the Shane Gould games for Aussies they still stick in the memory.

As for actually being at the games, I was up to my neck in Sydney 2000, from 1992 as an original vollie candidate right through to the final march past two or so weeks after the athletes left. To not paraphrase Charles Dickens, it was the best of times full bloody stop :D

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Always glad to exchange Olympic memories!

I can't remember watching any footage, but I do remember Mexico City in terms of discussion at school (Year 1), and lots of posters with its logos and iconography about. And of course the internationalist celebration aspect about them. It caught my eye and attention even then.

Munich was my first discovery of them as a viewing spectacle. As Seb said, Shane Gould was the fresh-faced goddess for Aussie schoolchildren in 1972. I can remember the black-and-white TV getting wheeled in to class to watch her swim (probably the replay). And then, of course, the massacre (altough we didn't get that mentioned much at school). And I started collecting stuff then too - little sticker kits with international athlete "stamps" and all the sport pictograms from petrol stations and commemorative coins issued by Germany. And the Olympiastadion was quite ubiquitous as a new architectural icon for Munich in meine Mutti's Germany. I was hooked, line and sinker.

Atlanta was my first Olympics in the flesh. And did it in style, on a sponsor's junket. Fantastic time, great atmosphere. And got into the Village and the IBC and the media centre. At the time I just thought all the tacky commercial stalls everywhere in the city was just a normal part of a games. The people and the atmosphere couldn't be lovelier. Had a great time and I'll still defend it that it wasn't the schemozzle popular prejudice has it. I flew out in the evening and by the time I touched down in LA the news was coming through of the Centennial Park bomb on the arrivals hall TV. You could tell all of us off the plane from Atlanta were shocked and angry - many of us had been speaking about the games amongst us on the plane and how great the spirit was.

Sydney, well, it was my home-town games. Say no more.

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I don't remember really much from 1972 (I was just 6 years old) - in 1976 I was 10 years and I have fond memories of the victories by Rosi Mittermeier in Innsbruck and some memories of Nadia Comaneci in Montreal - then glimpses of memories of the commentary in Lake Placid 1980, where the German commentator asked the whole time during the the 15 km cross country run: "Where is Behle?" ;) (Jochen Behle, was a German athlete in 1980 and during the run he wasn't one single time in sight the time of the run - he is the cross country coach today) - then I wanted to watch Moscow 1980, but West Germany boycotted the Games - therewith my "Olympic cherry" was lost in Sarajevo 1984 - I really followed these Games on TV...

Vucko, the little wolf mascot, was incredible when he howled: "Sarajevooooooo"

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LA '84 for me. First games I watched, and I was only 5 years old. Strangely I don't really remember seeing anything from Sarajevo that same year, maybe Scott Hamilton and Katarina Witt skating. I'm sure my parents had the TV tuned into those games as well.

I didn't get my first live taste of the games until this year in Vancouver. B)

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Well, it's all in THE BOOK (HINT! HINT! for those of you who still haven't bought the book and have been MISSING OUT on what is probably the greatest treatise on this phenomenon we all know and love as the modern Olympic Games...maybe it's time to repair that omission.)

My path para...heck, find the book...have your local library buy the book if you can't...and read all about it there!! ;)

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The simultaneous Cape Town Olympic Bid and Atlanta 1996 Games. And there were all those pretty renders in the newspaper.

My first memories though are Barcelona but I was just 6 then.

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My earliest Olympic memory was the cauldron lighting in '92. I was only 7 years old, and don't remember much more. I have more vivid memories from the Games in '96.

Regarding my interest in the bidding process, that began when Chicago first launched their bid in the domestic phase four years ago, but I remember paying a bit of attention when London was awarded the games in 2005.

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First memory of an olympic moment... The Opening Ceremony of the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Games ! & First item collected... a Kodak Olympic key ring (I still have it !)

First games followed with interest... Swimming & Athletics at the 1988 Seoul summer Games ! Was playing in my garden at the T&F events.... First mascot in my collection !

First games attended : the 1992 Winter Olympic Games in Albertville, France ! Went to speed skating, curling & ski jumping ! Was collecting stamps & pins at that time (I stopped both since then !)

First games watched in total : the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta ! (My first olympic polo shirt collected !)

First Opening Ceremony shared with passionate friends : the 1998 Winter Olympics' one in Nagano (at something like 3 am in France)

First road trip to go on former olympic cities : Fall 1999 in Norway... Oslo & Lillehammer !!!! (And the beginning of my collection of olympic publications !)

First Games attended abroad : the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney (unfortunately, only one week in Australia !). The beginning of my olympic tickets collection (stopped since then !)

First Games attended from the Opening to Closing Ceremony : the 2004 Summer Games in Athens ! (Beginning of my lanyard & accreditiation's collections)

First Games as a staff : the 2006 Winter Games in Torino

First Youth Olympic Games : at the end of the week in Singapore !!!

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First opening ceremony I watched would have been Montreal. I can't remember much, but I do remember the march of nations and some folk dancing. I was pretty fascinated by the sports - even though these were the infamous zero-gold games for Oz. A bunch of us kids, when we were meant to be doing tennis for school sports, ended up playing "Olympic Games" - one of the guys fell and broke his ankle. We got into trouble at school assembly for that.

First Opening Ceremony shared with passionate friends : the 1998 Winter Olympics' one in Nagano (at something like 3 am in France)

That'd be '84 for me. I was on my first trip to Europe, meeting my relatives in Sweden. We were having a big all night party, and me and about a dozen of cousins and second cousins and whatever drank and partied around the TV watching the LA ceremonies (all in Swedish). Typical, I suppose, we were all trying-to-be-cool, would-be world weary young rebels decrying the "American and Hollywood schmaltziness" of them. Secretly, of course, I was entranced.

I didn't see any of the sports that year though - I was having too much fun on my first Euro adventure. I knew Australia had got some golds, even was puzzled that one was apparently weightlifting(?) but not many details. Remember watching the Budd-Decker race, though.

That was the year I also first visited the Olympic Museum in Lausanne - or the old museum then, it was really only an old musty office building with a bit of a display down the bottom. And I met my first ever other fellow passionate Olympic fan - a Singaporean guy I met at the station and we both realised we were trying to find the IOC office.

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First real exposure to the Olympic Winter Games...Lake Placid 1980.

Not sure who held the local TV rights but I'm pretty sure it was Channel 9 or 7 (SR, any memories there?) who took more or less a direct feed from the US ABC network's coverage with Jim McKay hosting. The Miracle on Ice was of course of interest but the things that really stick in my mind are Eric Heiden's 5 gold medals and the ABC broadcaster's consternation over Ty Babilonia and Randy Gardner's injuries that stopped their ice skating medal chances. I can't even recall if there was much if any coverage of the Aussies at Lake Placid, and if anything a lot of the hype for LP 1980 was tempered by the ongoing controversy at the time over whether or not Australia would go to Moscow.

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I very vaguely remember a report on German TV about Seoul as Olympic city, and it must have been broadcast in 1988 during the Games themselves. I was almost six years old at that time. That is my earliest memory of the Olympic Games.

But 1992 was the first year I reaally consciously took note of the Olympic Games. I remember the evening of the Albertville opening ceremony -- my grandma was visiting us, we had dinner and we had our television set switched on in the background while the ceremony was broadcast.

I remember that I was quite sad that we were on vacation in Italy during the Barcelona Games. But we had a tiny portable TV set on which I could watch some quite washed-out black-and-white pictures of the athletic competitions (already back then my favourite Olympic sport). And I was crazy about a (by today's standards) very primitive computer game which was on my father's notebook in which one could play some of the disciplines of the Olympics (pole vault, for example).

Of Lillehammer 1994 I mostly remember Katharina Witt's last Olympic performance, Markus Wasmeier's double gold and, most importantly, Tonya Harding's performance, which was closely guarded by half the world after the attack against Nancy Kerrigan. I remember how spiteful I was when Harding's boot lace broke and she cried like the devil himself.

Of Atlanta 1996 I mostly remember Frank Busemann's sensational silver medal in the decathlon and the bomb attack.

Of Nagano 1998 I remember both the opening and the closing ceremony, but no sports event in particular.

Sydney 2000 was definitely the Games' edition which kicked off my Olympic enthusiasm. They were the first Games of which I watched on TV as many events as possible -- and also the first Games for which I used the internet extensively. I still fondly remember the official Sydney 2000 website, which I remember as quite elegant and very informative even by today's standards. From 1992 till 1998, I only was a more or less interested viewer, like so many other people in the world.

So it was a rather gradual development over 12 years -- from the first TV report about the Olympics to the first enthusiastically perceived Games.

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First real exposure to the Olympic Winter Games...Lake Placid 1980.

Not sure who held the local TV rights but I'm pretty sure it was Channel 9 or 7 (SR, any memories there?) who took more or less a direct feed from the US ABC network's coverage with Jim McKay hosting. The Miracle on Ice was of course of interest but the things that really stick in my mind are Eric Heiden's 5 gold medals and the ABC broadcaster's consternation over Ty Babilonia and Randy Gardner's injuries that stopped their ice skating medal chances. I can't even recall if there was much if any coverage of the Aussies at Lake Placid, and if anything a lot of the hype for LP 1980 was tempered by the ongoing controversy at the time over whether or not Australia would go to Moscow.

Sorry, didn't pay much attention to the winters at that stage, nor to the broadcasters (if, as you said, indeed it even was here). I was just starting Uni at the time anyway - if anything I was an arts/comms student would-be radical decrying anything our bogey-man PM Malcolm Fraser did anyway.

First winter games I paid attention to were Sarajevo. Torvill and Dean were THE story, of course. Plus I'd learned to ski the year before, so was actually getting into watching the winter sports, especially alpine, at that stage.

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I first became acquainted with the Olympics during a lesson in social studies class when I was 11 years old, this being just weeks prior to the start of the Lake Placid Games. It piqued my interest and I remember watching the US-Sweden hockey game the night before the opening ceremony. Then I watched the opening ceremony and my main interests of sports and geography just coalesced into a long-standing love affair that exists to this day. The parade of nations (sorry Baron, I know how much you despise it) just captivated me and more than once I had to explain to my parents where a certain nation was located (they were absolutely clueless about Andorra). Twelve fantastic days of sport followed (I only got four TV channels at the time and sports during the weeknights was a rare treat). If there was any doubt I knew I was hooked for good when I went to bed following the closing ceremony and I just cried because they were over and life just wouldn't be nearly as interesting the following day.

My only in-person experience came in Atlanta and it was an eye-opener. You realize how enormous the Olympics are when you watch on TV, but until you attend one in person you don't realize just how enormous the event really is. The scope of it all just left me awestruck. I loved those Games, despite the tragic interruption, and I still fume when people criticize them. There were undeniable glitches (even I had a memorable bus ride), but the criticism is an insult to wonderful people (volunteers and residents both) whose warmth and kindness made my stay there all the more enjoyable.

Thirty years and 16 Olympic Games (sorry I can't count Moscow) and countless memories. And it all started with a simple school lesson.

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I remember very few things from Sydney's opening ceremony, and I didn't really follow the Games. I started watching the Olympics in 2004. I couldn't watch the whole opening ceremony of Athens 2004 and I only remember some segments, but I watched as many events as I could and the closing ceremony. I tried to do the same with the Paralympics, but it was much harder since TV channels were not really interested on them, and they still aren't. I have also watched Torino 2006, Beijing 2008 and Vancouver 2010, all of them from my comfortable sofa :P and I'm afraid that's the way I'll be watching London 2012 and Sochi 2014...

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Innsbruck/Montreal 1976, I was just a little kid but the five rings caught my attention and the rest is history. Bitterly disappointed that we boycotted Moscow 1980, L.A. 1984 were the games that pushed my interest to full fledged fanaticism as a teenager.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The oldest olympic memory I have is from when I was about elevent, a whole 10 years ago. I got to my swimming class about 7 AM in Brazil one day (Sep. 15th, to be precise. I bet you you can all see at where I'm getting =P) and saw this large group of people gathered around the TV next to the waiting areas by the pool. I walked to them and asked what was going on and they told me it was the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games. And I was like "What, it's 7 AM!" and then I was told it was in Australia and got all "Ah, now I get it" (though, to be honest, the possibility of somewhere being 14 hours ahead of me would elude me for some time XD).

So there I was, 10 days after my 11th birthday watching Cathy Freeman lighting the cauldron and waiting for it do so something more than standing awkwardly there. I never actually managed to watch it rise all the way to the top since I was late and I still had my lifelong dream of being a champion swimmer (SPOILER ALERT: I didn't XD), but that was the moment that spelt "OLYMPICS ARE AWESOME!" all the way across my mind. By the times Athens came up, I was paying closer attention to the official broadcast and that annoying reporter Globo send to Greece just because she happened to be Greek XD

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I remember Torvill and Dean at Sarajevo '84 - I suppose they both gave me my earliest Olympic memories.

Los Angeles '84's Opening Ceremony and the 'flying man' is my earliest Ceremonies memory. The controversy surrounding Zola Budd and the Decathlon gold medal are also vivid memories.

My first Olympic themed merchandise was a sweatshirt from the Seoul '88 Games. These were also the first Games I followed closely everyday.

Barcelona '92 confirmed me as an Olympic fanatic - I barely left the television set ..... it's been the same ever since!

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The very first memory I have was from LA 84. I only remember the flaming Olympic Rings that preceded the Olympic Coverage. I was 8 at the time. The next memory I have is from 88, Elizabeth Manly winning Silver and the Ben Johnson doping scandal.

I wasnt until 1992 that I really got into being an Olympics Geek. It was watching the Albertville ceremony that really got me excited about the games. From then on I was following the bidding process, I memorized the past host cities, read as much as I could about every aspect of the games.

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I got this from watching TV in 1998 from there i have became mad of this games. If there is any game running i dont eat anything i will see that with that much interesting. I like watching games on TV once i have visited stadium to have a good look of games but there we cant see clearly because sits will be arranged away from the players. So we cant have good look.

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The first Olympics that I watched from beginning to end were the Summer Olympics in Barcelona, 1992. I've watched and followed every Olympic Games (Winter and Summer) since then.

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My Olympic journey? It's been... wow, a long one.

I have a very vague memory of what may have been the bobsled for Sarejvo, but I'm not certain. I was living in suburban Los Angeles during the 1984 Games, so that was when I was introduced to the concept. Of course, being 7 years old at the time, I didn't quite get it.

1988 was the first Olympic year for me. In between school classes and personal stuff, I remember the Calgary and the Seoul Games well and was lucky enough to get the CC from Calgary and the wrap up of the Seoul games on tape. For years, I watched them, just to relive and enjoy. Then, once the TV guide for 1992 and Albertville rolled around, I decided to challenge myself - try and tape every moment of the Games to always have.

I've been trying ever since, from Albertville to Vancouver. But I think the Games that really sealed my love of this whole crazy circus was Barcelona. It seemed like EVERYONE was there and no one was angry at anyone else, for a change. In that spirit, the competition seemed more pure, just talent vs. talent, who could swim fastest, run farther, jump higher. And you didn't HAVE to cheer for the USA, you could root for a marathoner from Mongolia or a diver from Romania if you wanted.

Come to think of it, London, the next Games, will mark 20 years I've been doing this. Sure, by week two, I'm ready for it to be over, but the memories last forever.

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