August 11, 1992 |
From Gaudi to gaudy. That was some torch pass the Olympics made late Sunday night, from castle-topped, sangria-addled Barcelona to chrome mud-flapped Atlanta, which has only four years to measure up to the sensory overload of the past two weeks. By my calculations, all Atlanta needs to do is: --Erect a dozen or so 17th-century cathedrals. --Build a Montjuic. --Buy a culture. --Rent Sagrada Familia. --Hire a king. (Ted Turner has been disqualified.) --Airlift La Rambla. --Age 1,000 years.
August 10, 1992 |
Sunday morning, for the first time during the Olympics, the rain in Spain stayed mainly over Barcelona. And when it had ended, when the booming thunderclaps had stopped and the torrents of water had slowed to a trickle, it was strangely quiet. Barcelona, the city that never sleeps, was doing just that. Surely, the quiet was the result of a hangover of emotion. Saturday night, Barcelona simply drank in too much success.
August 1, 1992 |
Americans are setting off-the-field records here, too. No medals, though, and most of the records are not worth bragging about: * Fastest to have $2,000 pinched from his belly bag on a moving subway: Lewis B. Johnson of Los Angeles, on his first ride. * Quickest to lose his luggage and documents from a rented car: Hank Tenney of Lebanon, N.H., within an hour after driving in from France. * Most replacements for stolen or lost passports in a single day: U.S. Consulate, 24.
July 26, 1992 |
America's men and women in blue may be interested to note that in the two days of increased enforcement, Barcelona police issued 600 "parking fines," according to Juan Torres, the mayor's man in charge of traffic. Of them, 12 were for parking in the bus and taxi lane and 300 for "improperly parking" motorbikes and scooters. "That number was much higher than last year at this time," Torres said.
July 26, 1992 |
At 8 p.m. local time, a hush came over the city. It was almost as if a giant Leonard Bernstein had stood, tapped his baton on the podium and raised his arms to signal the magic moment. And then, suddenly, from balcony and corner bar, from high above and down below, came the sounds of symphonies, of musical joy that signaled the beginning of the end of the long wait for the Olympics to take place here.
July 26, 1992 |
What do Sherlock Holmes, Blackcelona, One Way, Touchdown, Yuppies, La Gasolinera, No, Rothko, Unbar, West Coast, Zsa Zsa, Clandestino, Beat, Nick Havanna, Falstaff, Hop, Fin/Al, New Sausalito, Popeye, Speed, Status, Sucesso, Crisis, Karma, The End, Lips, Trip-Tic, Dry Martini, Sidecar, The Daily Telegraph, Let's Go, Hollywood, Paris, Maryland, Zurich, Soweto and Ping Pong have in common? They're all names of bars in Barcelona.
July 25, 1992 |
Less than 10 years after it was constructed, Montjuic Stadium stood ready to greet 5,000 athletes to the People's Olympics, an alternative for socialist countries to the 1936 Summer Olympics that would be held later that year in fascist Germany. But on the morning of the opening ceremony, for which 20,000 tickets had been sold, a water polo player from the Spanish national team, Carlos Pardo, arrived at the stadium to find the gates locked.
July 24, 1992 |
I am sweating as I write this. I was sweating before I wrote this. And I will be sweating after I write this and transmit this back to the home office and pack my computer bag and head for the metro and break for dinner and walk back to my flat and climb into bed, where the sheets hit the fan only if you're willing to spend 3,800 pesetas ($38 in American currency) for a plug-in model. It is hot. Sweltering hot. Withering hot. Keep-the-fat-people-away-from-the-leather-chairs hot.
July 14, 1992 |
When Juan Antonio Samaranch, the president of the International Olympic Committee, used his considerable influence to deliver the 1992 Summer Games to Barcelona, it was the most magnificent gift he had to offer Catalonia, the Spanish region of his upper-class birth, his carefree youth and his ascent to national and international prominence. Yet, his affection has been unrequited. Not that the city and regional governments are unappreciative of his largess.
July 14, 1992
It's no news that the Olympic Games, revived in a burst of 19th-Century idealism, have spent much of the 20th Century dogged by politics and national self-interest. But it may come as a surprise that none other than U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt and the city of St. Louis are credited with injecting politics into the modern games for the first time, in 1904. Since then, some Olympiads have been most notable for their athletic achievements; others for their political manipulation.