After a riotous—so to speak—six days of acclimatization, our 12-member Olympic staff in Mexico City finally got down to the business at hand last week. Bob Creamer, the editor in charge, his hair a little grayer than when he arrived, busied himself planning assignments that would send writers, reporters and photographers on their rounds. The first major assignment in which all five of our photographers ( Cooke, Clarkson, Leifer, Iooss and Drake) took part was the opening ceremonies at the Olympic Stadium. Photographers Jerry Cooke and Neil Leifer shot the pictures that appear on this week's cover.
Each day as the group left the house at Crater 615, Pedregal that SI has rented for the Games, Creamer—like a harried father admonishing teen-age children before they set out in the family car for a Saturday night whoop-de-do—reminded them of the rules: 1) keep in touch with the house at reasonable intervals, and 2) cover no more riots. These rules were the natural outcome of an incident that occurred shortly after the staff arrived—the visit of Bob Ottum, Jerry Cooke and Anita Verschoth to the Plaza of the Three Cultures to report a student demonstration. When the Mexican army closed in on the plaza with guns blasting, the three newsdoves fluttered in the middle of it all. They had been strolling around, Cooke taking pictures of the scene. In those quick seconds after the shooting began, he got several photographs of the students fleeing in panic. Then the three dived into their car, pulling a couple of frightened students in with them. They crouched on the floor of the car for more than an hour as the battle swirled around them.
Last week there were only the usual run-of-work problems encountered at any Olympics. The domestic scene at Crater 615 was calm, except for one minor problem, which Jerry Cooke considered major: nobody had yet figured out how long to boil the eggs that Jerry must have each morning for breakfast. Mexico City altitude, in addition to making it difficult for athletes to breathe, also makes for very watery three-minute eggs. Our chefs are still experimenting, and are up to six minutes now. "Meanwhile," says Creamer, still talking like a harried father, "we're letting Cooke drink his eggs."