By Thursday the size of the tragedy was determined: more than 25 had been killed, hundreds were wounded, jails were full. By the end of the week the toll had gone up to 34 dead and would go higher. Police closed off the housing area. Foreigners were urged to stay away and, in effect, to take their Olympic business elsewhere. And across town, in the luxurious Camino Real Hotel, the IOC went into emergency session.
Next day Mexico City's The News headlined THE SHOW WILL GO ON and printed Brundage's statement. And, for all its tension, the show began, slowly, to go on. In the hotel's presidential suite Brundage paced back and forth like a well-tailored old blue bear and admitted that news accounts of the disorders were alarming. "But," he said, "I was at the ballet last night and we heard nothing of the riots. You wouldn't know it in a city of this size. After all, you think of the precautions taken to protect the President of the United States, and yet he is murdered. We live in that kind of world."
And, on the inside with the athletes, it was a different sort of world. There were the Games to get ready for and no time to spare. In the Village, all was calm. At the venues spotted around town, such as the Auditorio Nacional near Chapultepec Park, where the gymnasts will perform, soldiers strolled in groups of three, each carrying rifle and bayonet and looking fixedly at all strangers until he was sure of their intent. "We sort of noticed when we went to play a warmup game," said U.S. Water Poloist Dean Willeford, "that there were soldiers all around us. But you just learn to live with it."
Hectic days lay ahead. On several of the pop-art statues around town night riders were scrawling Victoria O Muerte, spoiling the beauty of the scene—and as a final grim touch, someone was getting to those white doves. All across town small blobs of red paint were being dotted in the center of the dove images, creating the effect of a bird shot through the heart, blood dripping down.
There was talk of more demonstrations coming up—that bands of students would strike at various Olympic sites. It was clear that when the big show moves into the stadium on opening day there will be almost as large a crowd of soldiers outside the place—guarding it.
On Saturday morning the IOC and 124 national committees put out a statement. It called upon all of Mexico to declare a spiritual truce and unite for the Games. The only thing anyone could do was wait and see. The stage was set, still all prettied up, and Mexico was making a run for it.