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Athens Gold

Oddly enough, it wasn't until part way through these Olympics that I remembered that not only had I been to Athens in 1997, but also that I attended a couple days of the World Championships of Track and Field and saw Canada win the gold medal in the men's 4x100m relay. Seven years ago isn't that long, but it seems like a bit of a dream.

I went to Greece for a week that August, on a tour that included four or five days cruising the islands, and two or three days in Athens. The cruise part was a lot of fun, and the highlights included Ephesus (Turkey), Santorini and Knossos. Athens has its high points too, but we were happy to find something else to do. We didn't know the World Championships was happening until we arrived, but we ended up buying tickets for both the Saturday and Sunday.

On Saturday we took the subway out to the (then roofless) Olympic Stadium. On that ride something happened that never happened before or since: I fainted. I still don't know why. The heat wasn't bothering me, but I did have what seemed to be a cold at the time.

I fell to the floor, but was only out for a second or two. We got off the train at the Olympic Stadium and were going to take a taxi back to the hotel. However, finding a taxi turned out to be hard to do. We ended up taking our seats in the stadium instead. My memory isn't clear -- because of the elapsed time, not my illness -- but I think the American 4x100m team dropped the baton that evening and was eliminated. I'm not sure if we saw Canada qualify that night -- I think probably so -- but I do know that we returned on Sunday and saw Robert Esmie, Glenroy Gilbert, Bruny Surin and Donovan Bailey win gold. It was great and I was thrilled. Somewhere I still have a photo of the four of them celebrating with the Canadian flag.

That was our only gold in Athens that year. So far this year we only have one as well, but I happened to be watching today when Kyle Shewfelt nailed his routine in the men's gymnastics floor event. I enjoyed that, too.



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