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ATLANTA 1996 OLYMPICS / The Countdown: 12 Days To The
Games | MIKE DOWNEY

It's a Swing and a Myth, That's a Fact

July 07, 1996|MIKE DOWNEY

This segment of "Olympic Myth and Fact" is brought to you by the Grits-Carlton, official hotel of the Atlanta Olympics. And by: "ER," the official emergency room of the 1996 Olympic Games on NBC must-see TV. Remember, when it's 115 degrees outdoors and you keel over from watching and smelling the equestrian competition, call ER and ask for Doug.

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Olympic Myth: Adolf Hitler left the 1936 Berlin Olympics rather than shake hands with America's Jesse Owens.

Olympic Fact: Hitler, originally from Los Angeles, left early to beat the traffic. He pulled into a Der Wienerschnitzel drive-thru window and listened to Vin Scully do the last 20 meters of the 200 on the radio.

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Olympic Myth: The original Olympic Games were conducted in the nude.

Olympic Fact: The conductor was fully clothed, as was most of the orchestra.

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Olympic Myth: Golf is being considered as an Olympic sport.

Olympic Fact: It was voted down, for fear of golfers shaving their heads and bodies for aerodynamic advantage, as well as fear of synchronized skin games.

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Olympic Myth: President Carter called for a boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics because of an invasion of Afghanistan.

Olympic Fact: Carter values human rights and preferred a free country, where a man can sit in a public stadium and do a tomahawk chop, free to mock Native Americans as much as he pleases.

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Olympic Myth: Greg Louganis accidentally hit his head on a diving board at the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

Olympic Fact: Louganis perfectly executed his two-and-a-half-somersault-tuck-thunk-pike dive.

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Olympic Myth: Mary Lou Retton wound up on a Wheaties box.

Olympic Fact: Mary Lou Retton wound up in a Wheaties box.

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Olympic Myth: At the 1896 Athens Olympics, athletes drank only water.

Olympic Fact: True, but Greek officials threw the glasses into fireplaces.

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Olympic Myth: Hitler was a horrible man.

Olympic Fact: He let that Schott woman walk her dog all over the stadium.

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Olympic Myth: George Foreman waved two small American flags after winning a 1968 Mexico City Olympics gold medal.

Olympic Fact: The flags were toothpick decorations from a chocolate cake that George had just eaten in his corner.

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Olympic Myth: At the original Olympics before the birth of Christ, athletes drank only water.

Olympic Fact: Goat Ade.

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Olympic Myth: Michael Jordan covered the label of his uniform at the award ceremony because the manufacturer was not the one he endorses.

Olympic Fact: At the last minute, Michael noticed that the label read: "Kathie Lee Gifford collection, made in Honduras."

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Olympic Myth: The heptathlon is the event that made Jackie Joyner-Kersee famous.

Olympic Fact: Joyner-Kersee might be famous. The heptathlon sure isn't.

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Olympic Myth: The "torch relay" began at the 1936 Olympics, just outside Berlin.

Olympic Fact: The "torch relay" began when villagers spotted a very large creature, just outside the Frankenstein laboratory.

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Olympic Myth: Paavo Nurmi was a Finnish runner.

Olympic Fact: Paavo Nurmi is an Italian tenor.

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Olympic Myth: "Chariots of Fire" was a film about the Olympics.

Olympic Fact: "Chariots of Fire" is the Atlanta opening ceremony's special tribute to NASCAR.

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Olympic Myth: Canada always competes in the Olympics.

Olympic Fact: Canada always enters the Olympics.

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