THE 5 RING CIRCUS (part 1 )

I do look forward to the day when I shoot enough weddings and such that my blogs will be about the loving bride and the adoring groom with pictures included and I am established enough to teach and share with others and help them along the way, as I have been helped by other photographers.  But until that time, it’s pretty much write about what I am interested in  So this week, my interest, along with so many others, is the Olympics.  I thought I would look back at the previous Olympics and share some of the moments I remember that made me jump up, give a fist pump, chant USA! USA! USA! and get that lump in my throat when I hear The Start Spangled Banner.

1968-Mexico City.  I didn’t watch those games.  For starters, the games didn’t start until October 12th.  I was 17, high school by day, work at night, wondering what I was going to do after high school,  who I was going to the prom with and hoping I wasn’t going to be drafted.  The most outstanding performance mark was Bob Beamon’s 29′ 2.5″ long jump.  Politically this was the Olympics that featured John Carlos and Tommie Smith’s Black Power Salute on the awards stand.

1972-Munich.  Mark Spitz won 7 golds in swimming.  He then made that poster of him wearing his 7 medals and a Speedo. The girlfriend at the time, “why dont’ you look like that?”  Response, “hey, I’m a lineman.”  Olga Korbut wowed the world in gymnastics.  Unfortunately these games had a pall over them because of the massacre of the Israeli track team.

1976 Winter Olympics – Innsbruck. Watched these with the wife on a black and white 12 inch tv.  Dorothy Hamill and her haircut figure skated her way to gold.  We eventually saw her live at the Ice Capades.  One of the top performances I have ever seen is  Austria’s Franz Klammer’s gold medal run in downhill skiing.  He was the last one to ski that day.  The condition of the course was terrible.  Klammer threw himself down the hill to win the event.  It is, to this day, the most reckless downhill run I have ever watched.  It looked like at any moment  he would fly off the course into the abyss.  I rewatched it on Youtube and I still got goosebumps watching his effort.

1976 Summer Games – Montreal.  Shun Fujimuto was a Japanese gymnast.  During the floor exercise he broke his kneecap.  Shun still had two more events to go.  He did the pommel horse and then the rings, dropping 8 feet to the floor to stick a perfect landing, broken knee and all, and secure the gold medal for Japan.  Nadia Comanici shocked the Olympic world by being the first gymnast to score a perfect 10.  She also confused people by pronouncing her name a different way each time a reported asked.  Her floor routine was set to the opening music from “The Young and the Restless”, which then was renamed “Nadia’s Theme” and released as a hit record.  Bruce Jenner won the decathlon for the United States.  At the end of his last race, someone came up and put an American flag in is hand that Jenner carried with him on his victory lap.  Jenner later had his picture put on the Wheaties box and he made a commercial for the cereal.  Later, Saturday Night Live parodied this commercial.  In their version they filmed a fat John Belushi doing the same events that appeared in Jenner’s commercial.  Then Belushi is at his dining table, smoking a cigarette and giving all the credit for his performance to his breakfast of “little chocolate donuts.”  Classic.  And in the Olympics of the entertainment world, Bruce is stepfather to Kim, Kloe, Kortney and Rob Kardashian.

Next:  the ’80s

Musical inspiration tonight: listening to the USA women gymnasts winning the Gold.