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ATLANTA 1996 OLYMPICS | Spotlight

Chicken Salad Operation

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

July 31, 1996|MIKE PENNER

An announced crowd of 40,000 caught Olympic concessionaires at the mountain bike race site off guard and under-supplied. Hot dogs ran out between the end of the morning men's race and the start of the afternoon's women's event. One spectator, Joan Workman of Hamden, Conn., said she waited "almost two hours to buy a hot dog."

"They ran out of pins, T-shirts, food, you name it," Workman said. "At first, they tried to sell us chicken salad, but people were leery of that, so we waited for hot dogs. It took more than an hour for vendors to bring more up here."

Cost per mountain bike ticket was $16. Parking was $10 a car. So, for $74, a family of four could spread out on the grass along the course, spend four hours under the sun and actually see less than 10 minutes of actual competition. Male racers lap the course four times, women three. A reporter timed how long a rider stays within view during each pass. Average: 15 to 18 seconds. In the women's race, that meant about 52 seconds worth of gold medalist Paolo Pezzo.

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