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TRIALS OF AN UNLONELY MILER
Bob Ottum
October 21, 1968
As the XIX Olympics began, America's best hope in the 1,500 meters found himself so besieged that he had to leave the Olympic Village and train on quieter public highways to get ready for his stern ordeal
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October 21, 1968

Trials Of An Unlonely Miler

As the XIX Olympics began, America's best hope in the 1,500 meters found himself so besieged that he had to leave the Olympic Village and train on quieter public highways to get ready for his stern ordeal

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"The day of the race I'll probably worry a lot. I'll get up for breakfast. Then I'll go back and sleep for a while. I'll want to go out and do things—like walk around the village and play cards. I'll keep going back in my mind to the little things, positive things. I will select certain races and play them back inside my head. My best races. And I'll think to myself that if I ran this well in those races, I should run well in the Olympic Games."

One morning Ryun and Anne and Anne's family slipped away to Mexico City's National Museum of Anthropology, where nobody seemed to know Ryun from the Aztec statues. They had a lunch of hamburger steaks and strawberry milkshakes and talked about artfully dodging the receiving line at the U.S. Embassy reception the night before. "The Ambassador read us a four-page greeting from President Johnson," Ryun said. "It was something about doing good at the Olympics."

"Do good," he sighed. "It bothers me that the public thinks I am such a great individual. I think I shouldn't be such an overwhelming favorite. People who have been around for a while should at least understand that it hasn't been a very healthy year for me and they shouldn't pick me as the favorite."

Ryun waved goodby to the family and got into a car to go back to the waiting mob at the Olympic Village. Was the pressure building up? Yes, he sighed again. Moodily, he stared out of the window. Finally he took a deep breath and put his head against the car window and closed his eyes. He slept all the way back to the village.

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