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Sydney Pen Pals
Rick Reilly
October 02, 2000
You try to interview Ian Thorpe. Sorry, he's in massage. You try to get time with Marion Jones. Sorry, she's in training. You try to get an audience with anybody from anywhere down to and including a Bhutanese archer. Sony, he's in bloodletting.
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October 02, 2000

Sydney Pen Pals

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Many are still buzzed from the opening ceremony. "I will never forget the opening zeremonie [sic]," writes Christina Benecke, a German volleyballer, "and I will always remember to meet Mohammed [sic] Ali!"

"The feeling that for a split second everyone was cheering for you!" writes Jaime Moore, a British trampolinist. "Then you realize where you are and how good you must be to even be there in the first place!"

"Walking into the Olympic Stadium and seeing many of die adiletes I watch on TV," writes no less a star than the Milwaukee Bucks' Ray Allen.

Many talk about a kind of glory few otiiers will know. "When I scored my first Olympic goal," writes Mark Pearn, another British field hockey player, "I started to run towards the crowd, but one of my teammates rugby-tackled me before I had a chance!"

"Carrying my son on my bike in the victory lap," writes bronze-winning cyclist Gary Neiwand of Australia.

My question is meant to bring a positive answer, but some respondents see die glass as half shattered. "I lost my fight," laments Inge Clement, a Belgian judoist. "I'm 23 and not sure if I will continue judo." Writes Loretta Harrop, an Australian triathlete who was supposed to medal but wound up fifth, "Getting a good butt-whipping will not be forgotten easily!!!"

My favorite is from a Bahamian sprinter named Sylvanues Hepburn, who replies, simply, "The girls are nice and cool. Thank you for asking." Sounds like a man who has run into Happy Inky!!!

O.K., so Ian Thorpe doesn't answer and neither does Marion Jones nor any Bhutanese archer, but 84 other athletes do, and to those fine and gifted adiletes I would like to say one thing from the bottom of my heart: Got any ideas for next week's column?

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