PDC: As you know, I was an amateur fencer, boxer and rower, what you might call a health nut. [He fingers a massive cigar.] I only started smoking these when I turned 130. Why not? I mean, what the H-E-double-pole-vaults can it hurt? [Strikes a match to the cigar.] By the way, I call this "lighting the Olympic torch."
SI: When the real torch is lit for the centennial Games, the flame will burn in Atlanta. What do you know about the city?
PDC: Ah, Atlanta! I call it Hotlanta. Much as the ancient Greeks spoke of the lost city of "Hotlantis!" Incidentally, I hear there's a Hard Rock Cafe there now.
SI: In Atlanta?
PDC: There too.
SI: You say you spent your personal fortune to promote the Games. It's a pity you didn't have corporate sponsors then.
PDC: Au contraire, mon fr�re. We had sponsors in 1896. Giorgios Averoff, for instance. He was a Greek architect who donated a million drachmas to renovate the Athens stadium and add trackside marble thrones for the king and queen. [Fidgets.] Speaking of which, I have to visit the marble throne myself, if you would excuse me.
SI: Please, sir, just a few moments. And might I add, you look like a million drachmas. Is it something in the water?
PDC: My wife, Marie, lived to be 101. So perhaps there is something in the Evian. But I think it has more to do with the fact that I lead a full life. I love to play Beethoven on the piano. You know, it was my original intent to award prizes for the arts as well as for sports at the Olympics. I hoped to inspire another Monet, a C�zanne, a Renoir! How could I know we'd get LeRoy Neiman instead?
SI: You mention Monet, C�zanne and Renoir. It's been written that you so love your native land, you tried to enlist in the French army in 1914, when you were 51. True?