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Kenny Moore
April 02, 1973
The painted stripe that guided Olympic marathoners through the streets and parks of Munich led the author to old agonies, new conclusions
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April 02, 1973

The Long Blue Line: A Rerun

The painted stripe that guided Olympic marathoners through the streets and parks of Munich led the author to old agonies, new conclusions

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Mike Manley and I sat by the door. I couldn't look. He described the scene to me: "They're sure smiling a lot.... By God they've got their pictures.... I don't think each station in the line knows what any of the others is doing.... Wait. There's a guy at the end who seems to be inspecting the cards before they're given to the athletes. If anything's wrong.... The room is a lot emptier than 10 minutes ago. The thieves look so obvious out there.... Oh, they're so close. So close.... Bobbie's through. Connie's got it. Connie's got it!"

Within days everyone knew six ways to produce bogus credentials. "The Village drugstore is doing a land-office business in laminating kits," reported Walker Bill Weigle. "Isn't it just like the Germans to bring in a thousand more laminating kits?"

Not once, even during the security crackdown that was to come, were any of the wives' passes questioned.

With nine miles to go we plunged into the greenery of the English Garden. People shouted that Shorter was one minute ahead. Wolde and I looked behind us. Clayton was gone. There was only a pale little man in white, 150 yards back. The day had cooled. The next five miles through the park would be in shade. And Frank had said, "I've never tied up, you know. I've never really died after getting a lead." I believed him now. He could hold his minute. Wolde and I were running for silver.

We dipped and rolled and sometimes stumbled on the dusty, rutted path. The applause of the city streets fell away. On some wooded stretches we were alone with our struggle. I tried to draw on the competitive responses I had restrained earlier, imagining how I would bolt away from Wolde with a mile to go, recalling his 57-second last lap in the Mexico City 10,000, where he had been a close second, and reminding myself of the other side of the coin, his 39 years.

In a clearing the trail widened. A cluster of spectators pushed to see. Trotting straight at us was a long-haired dachshund. I went left. So did he. I cut back. So did he. To the amusement of the crowd, I had to hurdle him. A few yards farther on stood three policemen whose duty it was to keep the path clear. They were taking pictures of us.

Russell Knipp, 30, is calm and his speech soft, controlled, in the manner of many strong men. And he is strong, having set nine world and 32 U.S. weight-lifting records over a lengthy career. His 1,025-pound middleweight total in the three Olympic lifts amounts to more than six times his own weight. Short and broad, but not disproportionately so, with closely trimmed blond hair and an unlined, cherubic face, Knipp is an amiable, responsive gentleman. A few minutes of conversation, however, yield the suspicion that on certain subjects Russ does not maintain a spirit of detached inquiry. I had breakfast with him a few days after the Games began.

"According to the Bible the man is commanded to love the wife and the woman to be submissive," he said. "I believe a woman loses her true quality when she becomes aggressive, when she tries to enter the man's domain. Our values in the United States have changed—liberalism has really crept in—to where women want equal rights, but it is clear, in the law of God, in the Bible, that her rightful place is in the home. That's why I was deeply concerned that Olga Connolly was elected to carry our flag in the opening ceremonies.

"The ancient Olympics were designed for warriors, men of battle. The greatest hero was the greatest warrior, the most powerful man. Today other nations seem to realize this more than we do. The Russians had their world champion wrestler carry their flag here. In Mexico they bad Zhabotinsky, the great weight lifter. We had a girl fencer.

"I work for the Campus Crusade for Christ. Eve traveled to 500 high school and college campuses, giving assembly programs, sharing Christ with students, and Eve found that there is a hard core of college students who want to destroy America as we know it. They want a kind of Utopia, where there is no more bombing, where we lay down our arms and promote the unity of all races.

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