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ATLANTA 1996 OLYMPICS | Spotlight

Looking For Far-away Land

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

July 24, 1996|BILL DWYRE

The hits keep on coming on the Atlanta Olympics and the people who organized them. There seems to be no sentiment, no feeling for their efforts.

This time, it was a bunch of ungrateful tennis fans who had ventured out on this first day of Olympic tennis, gotten in their cars and driven to Stone Mountain, a venue about 20 miles from Atlanta. Then, upon arriving at the new stadium area, they were herded off to the general parking lot, where they were told to park single-file along both sides of an old airport landing strip. The earliest arrivals were sent to the far end of the strip, driving for nearly two miles past vacant land being held for who knows what use.

First in, farthest away, was the ACOG parking plan, something these ungrateful people grumbled about all the way along the two-mile path back to the stadium from their parking spots.

The grumbling seemed to lessen after about the first 20 minutes of the walk, because, at that point, the top deck of the stadium was starting to appear in the distance.

But then, the grumbling began anew when, upon reaching the stadium, fans were directed to walk another half-mile or so around the back of the stadium.

ACOG tried to make it up on the way back to the cars. There, halfway down the path, was a man with a six-inch hand-held fan that sprayed mist as the people walked by.

Ah, Southern comfort!

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