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ATLANTA 1996 OLYMPICS | Spotlight

Forgotten And Forlorn

A look at the day that was and at what lies ahead at the Summer Games

July 23, 1996|LISA DILLMAN

You see the cheering families, coaches and friends in the stands at the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center. The beaming athlete is on the deck.

And that's about as close as they get. Personal coaches and families aren't allowed in the interview room to meet with reporters to give interviews. Infinitely worse is that a medal-winning performance is not celebrated up close and personal off-site until much later, if at all.

As of early Monday night, silver medalist Amanda Beard, 14, of Irvine hadn't seen her parents, Dan and Gayle, or her coach, Dave Salo, for more than a few seconds.

So much for the joy of getting to discuss her American record in the 100 breaststroke.

"We're all sitting up there in the stands, kind of feeling like we're on the outside," Salo said.

"It's probably harder on the coach than anyone else."

Said Dan Beard: "That's tough. It would have been nice to go have a dinner and whoop and holler and enjoy it."

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