Roger L. Simon


That’s an Orwellian title for an Olympic post, but the fact is that was the only year I ever saw the Games live. They were the Summer ones in Los Angeles and the great hero was the legendary (in this case it’s not hyperbole) Carl Lewis. That was the year the Russians boycotted and it wasn’t difficult to get seats, so I was up close to see Lewis win two of his four gold medals, the long jump and 4X100 relay, which is a spectacular event. I will always remember it as one my two great fan moments – the other being seeing Joe Dimaggio hit his last home run when I was a kid. (Watching the Magic Johnson eighties Lakers battle the Celtics in the NBA finals is up there too, not to mention seeing Jimmy Connors play Pancho Gonzales.)

So I’m glad the Russians boycotted that year, because it helped me get those seats. But this year I feel like boycotting them. It’s also a year when, as an Academy member, I’m offered the opportunity to vote for a meretricious movie set against the 1972 Olympics for Best Picture. Not fun and games. But like most folks I will be glued to the tube eyeballing these games from Torino. I think these Olympics may be remembered as the first many of us were watching them at home on HDTV (in my case EDTV, but at ten feet I can’t tell the difference). Up close and personal for sure.