We came up to the
men closest to Frank: Usami, Wolde, Karel Lismont of Belgium and Bacheler. When
Clayton and I ran past, Wolde joined us. But Clayton lingered too long at the
25-kilometer refreshment station, and Wolde and I were alone.
On the warm
afternoon of Aug. 26 the Games were opened. In white coats and vermilion pants
we trudged to the grassy assembly area at one o'clock, there to mill and grow
stiff until 4:30 when we could begin the march to the stadium half a mile
George Young, a four-time Olympian, examined the five USOC officers who would
lead us. "I just realized," he said, "that the last time I saw any
of those distinguished gentlemen was when we were marching in Mexico."
neither coaches nor managers parade with the athletes. But the USOC appeared to
have given its seats to friends and relatives, so many coaches had to enter our
ranks to see the opening ceremonies. The head track and field manager, George
Wilson, who is the deputy chief of the U.S. Army sports program and who until
then had shown a determination to stick to every nitpicking rule, came too.
"This is my first protest march," he said.
Jon Anderson, a
10,000-meter runner, moved through the crowd patting strange bulges under his
coat and conferring with others similarly misshapen. Every U.S. athlete had
been given an Instamatic by Kodak, which had paid the USOC handsomely for the
privilege, yet a notice had been posted that morning that read: "One's
sense of national pride ought to prevent the carrying of cameras in the opening
parade." And if somehow that were not sufficient, they would be confiscated
at the gate.
my personal pride and my national pride are in conflict," said
foot," said Shorter. "The Germans just want a monopoly on pictures of
the opening. And the USOC wanted Kodak's largesse. And Kodak wanted the Olympic
shield on its ads."
with mock astonishment, "You mean if you follow a gift or a rule to its
source, you don't find appreciation for the athletes or concern for our best
money," said Frank. "Only money."
Once under way to
the stadium, our mood continued to be one of sarcastic festivity. Ticketless
people lined our route and hung from overpasses. Steeplechaser Mike Manley
instructed them in cheering: "Let's have it louder there on the bridge.
You, sir, with the flag, wave it like you meant it. Wottle, do you think it
would be possible for you to assume an upright position?" As we approached
the gate and darkened tunnel, someone shouted, "O.K., everybody, get out