Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Wrestling With 'Foxcatcher' Film Review

 
Two weeks ago, I made time to see "Foxcatcher" on the big screen in Chicago. And for days since, the film left me grappling for words to review it. Boiling it down in a few questions:

Is the film well made? Yes.

Does the acting and storytelling live up to the hype of film festival and other critical reviews? Mostly.

Will "Foxcatcher" be an Oscar contender? Maybe.

And do I recommend this film to others? Well, sort of.

After months of waiting and careful travel planning to see "Foxcatcher" -- on theatre screens in only a few cities until later this month -- I pinned hopes very high, elevating the true crime drama to "must see" status for several weeks.

Though I do think audiences will flock and rave about "Foxcatcher," and it is worthy of high praise, it did not live up to the must experience level of expectations this writer set for it. It is a great match of writing, acting and mood-setting cinematography, yes. But I walked away wanting something more.

It's definitely not a "feel good" film; in fact, one critic described "Foxcatcher" as the perhaps "the feel-bad movie of the year" -- a distinction also appropriate for "Gone Girl," which I enjoyed twice in spite of its dark and twisted themes.

By comparison, "Foxcatcher" is not a film that left me thinking or saying "I want to see that again" and though it's likely I'll watch it a second time, it's not likely I'd pay a second or third time (for this writer, a gauge of any film's "must see" status is the desire to repeat screenings with friends or family).

What's to like about Foxcatcher?

The Acting:

Steve Carell portrays John du Pont with vigor, becoming the deranged killer in a manner reminiscent of Jack Nicholson in "The Shining," with Carell's eyes taking on a lunatic gaze with great effect.

According to press materials for the film, Carell and his cast mates had an unusually long range of time, and volumes of material including video, to research their characters.

The three main actors' investment of time in thorough research pays off big time in "Foxcatcher."

Channing Tatum equally took on the many layers of Mark Schultz and the many "chips on his
shoulder" I found to be part of the Olympic gold medalist's autobiography on which "Foxcatcher" is generally based. As in the book, on screen here's a guy with a lot going for him but a background that made him his own worst enemy. It is interesting to me that Tatum described Mark Schultz in a manner on par with  my book review of "Foxcatcher" and its author.

"I don’t think anybody could punish Mark more than he could himself and I think he hardens himself against the world by punishing himself," said Tatum, in the film press release, and apt statement.

Throughout the story, Mark Ruffalo slowly and expertly gains the audience's love and admiration --
as did the real-life Dave Schultz -- which makes the on-screen murder scene all the more appalling. Many in the theatre cried out in shock or dismay with Carell's delivery of du Pont's final words to his victim, "You got a problem with me?"

Viewers get a deep dose of the brotherly love between David and Mark, and the unique paternal role the older brother played in their shared experiences. This is Ruffalo's best work I've seen, and it is worth the price of admission to learn more about the person the elder Schultz was (there's a lot to be learned from Mark as well).

The Action:

The team from "Foxcatcher" did their homework on Olympic freestyle wrestling and it shows. Before a summer 1995 internship at USA Wrestling, I knew next to nothing about the sport (and still have lots to learn).

But even with limited recollection of the official sport and its scoring, the wrestling in "Foxcatcher" seems real because it is real. From a U.S. Olympic Committee blog post -- a personal review by my former USA Wrestling boss -- I learned the lengths to which the filmmakers engaged the sport's national governing body for expert input and authenticity. It is fun to spot cameos by Olympic wrestlers including Bruce Baumgartner, Mark Schultz (the real one) and others on screen, and I suspect in their time working out or training Ruffalo and Tatum they also gave insight to the Schultz routine and their POV on du Pont.

"Foxcatcher" also includes brief glimpses at Modern Pentathlon, Olympic-style shooting and the
world of championship show horses. A favorite non-wrestling scene includes Carell's portrayal of du Pont reacting to his mother's death by casting out her prized equine collection, again with a creepy and somber intensity that nails it.

Back on the wrestling mats, I enjoyed the authentic scenes showcasing the Los Angeles 1984 Olympic experience and Seoul 1988 Olympic trials and competitions right down to the bunting and uniforms. Though executed on screen with timing tweaks different from Schultz's book, the events are intense and well-played.

What's not to like about the movie, and answering the question, "Do you have a problem with me [the film]?" Yes, for this Olympic blogger there were some problems with "Foxcatcher."

  • I wasn't keen on how the filmmakers addressed cocaine use by du Pont and Mark Schultz, whose book mentions this topic with some explanation. The filmmakers took a lot of liberties and changed the context of the drug use, not for the better.
  • This inaccurate depiction of a junkie Mark, blended with an autobiography-text-turned-into
    screenplay scene describing a haircut Shultz gave du Pont, set up some shots that ever-so-subtly make a case that the coach and athlete duo had a more intimate or even a gay kinship. This seemed to stray way too far from the facts described in Schultz's true text.
  • Though necessary to condense the story, I wasn't crazy about the abbreviated timeline of events. Mark Schultz exited Team Foxcatcher just after 1988, and Dave died in early 1996, but the film does a mash-up of these distant events that was artistically decent but bothersome for me (if going for accuracy on the wrestling mat, why not replicate the accuracy in timing?).
  • In spite of input from award-winning musicians including Mychael Danna ("Life of Pi"), the "Foxcatcher" soundtrack selections made no impression for this viewer; seemed like a missed opportunity to engage composers with strong Olympic and/or sad soundtrack creds (think John Williams and "Munich" or "Schindler's List" themes and his other five-ringed compositions).
The official film press kit for notes the director, Bennett Miller, says of "Foxcatcher" and his other true crime works "Capone" and "Moneyball," (the latter of which I admired), "It's fact to fiction as a vehicle back to the truth." O.K., fine. But what about "the truth is stranger than fiction" as food for thought?

Should folks see "Foxcatcher?" Yes. It is a solid film.

Just don't go into the theatre pinning hopes too high for the experience.

Images via Sony Pictures Classics


 


 


Saturday, December 6, 2014

Rio Olympic Mascot Gets Zoological


 
Voting is underway to name the recently unveiled Rio 2016 Olympic mascot, a yellow creature representing all of Brazil's richly diverse fauna.

In addition to morphing capabilities to help it go faster, higher and stronger than any one jungle beast, the first South American Games mascot can extend its appendages much like a 1970s vintage Stretch Armstrong or his other-worldly and creepier sidekick Stretch X-Ray.

By my count, this little guy is the 30th Olympic mascot with zoological ties, though he also has mythical features similar to a few of his five-ringed mascot peers of past Games.

I write "his" only because promotional materials and video voiceovers seem to indicate the character is male.

It's not yet safe to "assume" which style Brazilian swimwear -- a Speedo-style men's suit or a thong bikini bottom -- would fit across the mascot's backside, complete with long green tail.

As of this post, the to-be-named character gained just over 2,500 Facebook friends (the original and best friend being the Rio 2016 Paralympic mascot), and the official launch video from late November enjoyed 58,500 views so far.

What pair of names will you choose for the Olympic and Paralympic symbols, respectively named either ...
  • OBA and EBA,
  • TIBA TUQUE and ESQINDIM, or
  • VINICIUS and TOM?
The name "Vinicius" is the first name of several famed Brazilian footballers, according to sources.

I could not find more details on any of the other nominated names, though "Jerry" might also work with "Tom" when the more sarcastic of Olympic reporters get hip to this next generation of mascots.

There's not much domestic U.S. media coverage of the unveil, which may mean this Olympic symbol may gain more acceptance than ill-conceived past mascots (no one yet topped "Jimmy Carter's Sperm" from the Atlanta Games, though London was close).

I have yet to find details on which design firm(s), Brazilian or otherwise, played the biggest role in creating the mascots, though the resemblance to Javier Mariscal's outstanding "COBI" for 1992 and the playful Canadian trio of Vancouver creatures makes me suspect a team of Games mascot veterans provided guidance.

I personally like the cartoon version of the yellow guy, but not the 3-D plush costume version.

What do you like (or hate) most about the Rio 2016 mascot?

Happy voting!

Images via Rio2016.com; mascot pictures below via Associated Press/AP/Felipe Dana.

December 17, 2014 Update: The votes are in and Rio 2016 announced the confirmed name Vinicius, with the Olympic mascot named for the poet, playwright and composer of the bossa nova.

Two's Company At The Dalí Museum

For those who love Salvador Dalí and Pablo Picasso as much as this blogger, the time is now to book a flight or plan a road trip to St. Petersburg, Fla.

The Dalí Museum in The Sunshine City recently opened a new blockbuster exhibition "Picasso/Dalí, Dalí/Picasso" which was well worth a special day trip across Florida while in Orlando for work.

I likely would have driven from Atlanta for this one -- spectacular!

Featuring an assemblage of more than 90 items from 20 international museums and private collections, the Picasso:Dalí exhibition showcases how the two artists -- professional acquaintances and mutual admirers for 30+ years -- found inspiration or potential influence in each other's work.

The exhibition gallery entrance welcomes visitors with a pair of black and white photograph portraits of the artists, setting the tone for several side-by-side canvas (or other object) placements, as pleasant for the eyes as a expertly paired wine and charcuterie plate for the palate.

Since photography is not allowed in the galleries, many of the images (some paired, most not) in this post are corralled from the Internet or the 250-page full-color exhibition catalog (a good read).

For instance, both artists created depictions of female nudes bathing at the sea, motherly women in profile, self-portraits (and many images of their patrons), still-lifes, Spanish Civil War symbolism and influential women such as their wives and, in Dalí's case, his sister, whose double image gazes like a playing card.

I found the paired-for-comparison works as home runs around every corner of the third floor presentation. Also enjoyed reading Salvador's "Dalí News" newspaper with screaming headlines and reference to his own portrait of Picasso.

Several other publication samples -- original magazine features, exhibition programs and books -- are showcased throughout the exhibition. There are numerous drawings by both masters, once again mirroring themes.

A few items in the exhibition resonated as "stand alone" items for either artist. Picasso's "Minotauromachy" (a 1934 etching from the Museum of Modern Art) and the extra large canvas "Las Meninas" (from Museo Picasso) are favorites.

I later learned this enormous canvas is one of 58 created by the artist as influenced by the original by Diego Velázquez.

This colorful version, with a dog like figure in its foreground, also reminds me of a fourth Spanish artist, Javier Mariscal, and his creation "COBI" as mascot for the 1992 Barcelona Olympics (to what extent was Mariscal influenced by these works, I now wonder).
The Dalí "Portrait of Pablo" stunned me as did his "Profanation of the Host."

But the biggest Salvador surprise was the pre-surrealism "Venus and Cupids" (1925) with its conch-holding bather.

His enormous "Neo-Cubist Academy" may leave some chirping, "Hey, Sailor!"

In addition to "Picasso/Dalí, Dalí/Picasso" the museum offers a dazzling array of permanent collection works, splendid architectural features (a sky-lit spiral staircase of three levels), outdoor sculpture (including a "melting" bench with droopy clock) and flora reminiscent of Catalonia.

In the collection gallery I spent a lot of time studying each item on view before snapping a collage of close-up photos (some posted below). This was the first time to find so many Dalí watercolors in one place.

Though my eyes soaked in most of the currently-mounted paintings on a previous visit to St. Pete, and again when the museum loaned many items to Atlanta's High Museum of Art for "Dalí: The Late Work" (reviewed in two prior posts), I loved getting reacquainted with several favorites while learning about a few new-to-me paintings.

The massive "Galacidalacidesoxiribunucleicacid" with its surreal take on the discovery of DNA is a stunner. In spite of the museum and artist interpretation, it appeared to me more of an artistic
commentary on nuclear energy with "God" taking the form of a mushroom cloud extended before the gaze of Madonna (portrayed by Dalí's wife, Gala).

Love the Minute Men-like molecules with a rifle bead on one another. Reminded me of an all-time great with a family back story, also on view.

Please accept this strong recommendation to trek to The Dalí Museum in time for the current special exhibition on view through Feb. 16, 2015. Enjoy!

Images via The Dalí Museum, the "Picasso/Dalí, Dalí Picasso" catalog and numerous image sites including WikiArtthis site, this site , this one, that one and one more here. Selfie and outdoor images of The Dalí Museum by Nicholas Wolaver. All images are copyrighted and presented for reference only.

 

 
 




 





 
 

Friday, December 5, 2014

On Miracles And Memories

During Thanksgiving I quickly read the new Al Michaels autobiography "You Can't Make This Up: Miracles, Memories and the Perfect Marriage of Sports and Television" penned with L. John Wertheim (noted Sports Illustrated and Olympic tennis reporter).

For the Olympic or sports enthusiast, it's a fun read!

Though I was familiar with the back story for Michaels' famous 1980 Olympic ice hockey play-by-play and miraculous game-closing commentary that punctuated the event (I vaguely recall age six memories of the first time it aired on ABC in tape delay), when the review copy arrived from William Morrow, it was a no-brainer to skip to Chapter 9 and read the first-hand account of the author's experience during and since that fateful day for Team USA.

Even for those without a visit to Lake Placid, N.Y., under their belt, Michaels' descriptions of the Winter Olympic scene paint a vivid picture of how intimate the venue was when the pucks were in action (the rink is inside a small field house unlike any modern ice arena, much like a "Hoosiers" small town field of play).

In addition to his Miracle On Ice memories, Michaels shared many other five-ringed influences and experiences on the pages of "You Can't Make This Up," notably:
  • As a youthful fan of most sports, Michaels recalls "immersing myself in the stories" in a 300-page 1950s era Olympic history book his grandparents gave him at age nine or 10.
  • The same book came in handy when Michaels accepted his first Olympic broadcasting assignment for NBC's coverage of the 1972 Sapporo Winter Olympics in Japan, where he got his first hockey broadcast assignment for the gold medal U.S.S.R. vs. Czechoslovakia game.
  • Michaels' first trip to Los Angeles Coliseum was in 1958 (for an L.A. Rams game) when his family relocated from Brooklyn. He later provided ABC's track and field commentary in this Olympic stadium in 1984.
  • When asked to name the greatest athlete of all time, Michaels chooses Jim Thorpe. "Here was a man with so much talent and skill that he played professional football and baseball, and won Olympic medals. How differently would we think about Jim Thorpe today if his whole career had been played out on television?"
  • Notes on work with dozens of professionals who also became Olympic or other sports broadcasting legends, including Roone Arledge, Howard Cosell, Jim McKay and Bob Costas.
  • Cosell's disdain for ABC colleagues and decisions made during the 1972 Munich Olympic hostage crisis (after being passed over for the hard news assignment involving Israeli athletes). Michaels also tells is like is was when Cosell became "the world's biggest pain in the ass" just before the Los Angeles Olympics, where Cosell feigned reluctance to provide boxing commentary.
  • Perspectives on Arledge, including a chapter on the evolution of storytelling as involved with Olympic coverage. This section also features some surprising details about behind-the-scenes snafus during live Olympic reports in Los Angeles, some with O.J. Simpson and Wilma Rudolph. Great POV related to Joan Benoit, Michael Gross, Maricica Puica, Carl Lewis and many other 1984 Olympic champions.
  • Brief notes on covering other Winter Olympic victories including Scott Hamilton, Katarina Witt, Jane Torvill and Christopher Dean in Sarajevo. At a special event in Calgary, Michaels explained some tricks of the trade to Warren Buffett.
  • Thoughts on appreciation juxtaposed with disappointment when he learned -- during a drive past Atlanta's under-construction Olympic stadium -- the 1996 Olympic and 1995 World Series broadcast assignments he would not experience.
  • Great recent Games notes on Michaels' work in Vancouver, London and Sochi for NBC Olympics reporting, where a 30+ year question about Lake Placid finally got answered.
Whether detailing items with Olympic ties, or describing his tenures working in Arizona, Hawaii, Cincinnati, San Francisco or elsewhere, Michaels effectively leverages humor throughout the book. I laughed hardest at his advice for a colleague reprimanded and nervous about an on-air apology for swearing during a live broadcast.

Lessons on the value of hard work and lasting professional relationships, instilled by his family and mentors, are another key takeaway from this quick read.

I recommend "You Can't Make This Up" and look forward to seeing more of Michaels on future Games broadcasts, now informed by more of his personal storytelling.

Images via William Morrow and Sports Illustrated/CNN

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Crazy Like A Foxcatcher

With all the recent buzz for the L.A. and NYC big screen debuts of "Foxcatcher," it's challenging to hurry up and wait for the highly acclaimed film to reach my hometown theatres.

The reviews in The New York Times, USA Today and other sources do entice. And new videos showcasing Steve Carell, Mark Ruffalo and Channing Tatum look like this Olympic film will be talked about through Oscar season and beyond.

But this post is more about the recently released book on which the silver screen "Foxcatcher" is based.

Written by Mark Schultz with David Thomas, under the full title "Foxcatcher: The True Story of My Brother's Murder, John du Pont's Madness, and the Quest for Olympic Gold," this autobiography reached bookstores in tandem with the film's initial limited theatrical release. The review copy provided by the publisher, Dutton, was a compelling read though it left me with a few tricky takeaways that made it a "good" book but not "great."

The biggest theme I found, though not sure it was intended by the author, is that Mark Schultz has lived a life with dozens of chips on his shoulder. Whether describing the hardscrabble California childhood of Mark and his older brother, Dave, or taking readers through phases of Mark's wrestling competitions and career, the commonality from scene to scene is, "here's a guy with a lot of potential who is also his own worst enemy."

In both professional and personal, educational and athletic scenarios, over and over the younger Schultz seemed to make decisions that undermined his potential. While reading a few passages, I wondered aloud, "how did this guy become Olympic champion with so many self-imposed hurdles?" (The answer is on the pages in the writer's detailed descriptions of his hard work, steadfast motivation to win, and encouragement from coaches and fellow athletes, most notably Dave.)

A reveal the author experimented with cocaine, with the man pinned as his career nemesis, raised my eyebrows. Not sure many other Olympic champions dared used this drug ... ever.

Another theme is family politics. Though it is clear Mark loved his brother and consistently looked up to Dave, this admiration was too often tethered to a brotherly jealousy. In many scenes, Mark's words portray an envy of Dave's ability to project a "good son/better athlete/can-do-no-wrong" persona -- a man who died knowing 10,000 'best friends' -- leaving Mark to paint himself as the family's black sheep.

Heavy doses of both the "chip on shoulder" and "family politics" themes also play out on the pages dedicated to describing John du Pont. Here's a guy who, from page one, was clearly bat shit crazy or walking atop the Crazy Town fence for a long time. But to what extent was his lunatic mental state fueled by his own dueling demons of "chip on shoulder" and the politics of his family name? The book presents examples for both.

Don't forget the cocaine. And there's one revelation in the book "Foxcatcher" mentioning du Pont's admission he also took daily doses of testosterone, the result of an unfortunate horse riding incident. Who knows what chemical cocktail coursed through du Pont on January 26, 1996.

"Foxcatcher" opens on that day and the moment of Dave's murder (via du Pont's .44 magnum revolver), followed by two parts, "Making A Champion" and "Destroying A Champion." The author describes his own path to Olympic glory but also elements of his brother's success story juxtaposed with du Pont's silver-spooned sports journey. I found the first half of the book interesting, with an appropriate level of detail, but also somewhat repetitive. Person X wronged me (Mark), I brooded, I wrestled, I won, Dave won, attention from me diverted, chip on shoulder, reflection and explanation, then person Y wronged me ... repeat sequence.

Scenes describing the brothers' victories at Los Angeles in 1984 offer a too-brief peek into the Games experience for both Champions. The "Golden Moment" chapter opens with a couple of pages of historic context that, for me, was not written in Mark's voice, but much of the chapter later describes the author's first person accounts of navigating the Olympic credentialing process, Olympic Village setting, his team's move to Motel 6 (to be closer to the wrestling venue, Anaheim Convention Center) many matches and his victory for Olympic gold.

His mom's playful but ill-timed invitation to Disneyland -- an athlete family perk -- is priceless. A victory parade car ride with Mary Lou Retton is another fun moment in detail.

As an Oklahoman, I appreciated Mark's take on his experiences living and wrestling in the state, and his departure from Oklahoma City brought this reader a smile (similar to Schultz's exit on I-40 westbound, more than once I've pulled off the highway to soak in the OKC skyline and reflect on time lived there).

Latter chapters of Part One set the scene of Mark's mid-1980s introduction to du Pont's "Foxcatcher" estate near Philadelphia, with many red flags revealed as Schultz settles in to a dream job later deemed a bait-and-switch. Schultz does not mince words with his disdain for then-leadership of USA Wrestling or several Pennsylvania institutions (local law enforcement, universities and museums), portrayed as eager Romulus and Remus-like figures suckling du Pont's multi-million-dollar she-wolf teats (my words, not those of Schultz/Thomas).

Part Two delivers more of a page-turning reader experience. Schultz describes the arc of his Foxcatcher tenure that crescendos and crashes with a thud at the Seoul 1988 Olympics. Sadly absent from Schultz's Olympic return was his "do or die" pre-1984 spirit, replaced with an eagerness to flip the bird to most of the folks who helped him get to Korea (with du Pont providing most of the shoulder chips).

The book also delivers through a researched timeline of events before and after du Pont shot Dave, the court proceedings that followed and some curious reveals on Mark's post-Olympic career on and mostly off the wrestling mat. Mark shares a touching and eerily apt story from Dave's childhood, as told by their father during his son's funeral, which is a poignant takeaway from the pages of "Foxcatcher."

It will be interesting to see how this book, marketed as "True Crime" versus a sports story, got transformed for the silver screen. It's a good read while awaiting the theatrical version, and no-doubt will serve as a reference point for discussion as the film gains more views.

Image of John du Pont via this site; Foxcatcher cover image via Dutton; 1984 photo via this site; Rome sculpture image via Wikipedia.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Two Bloody New Olympic Films

 
Two major motion pictures with Olympic connections will enjoy silver screen debuts in just a few weeks. Both films portray Olympians in competition before their life journeys took them each down dark roads.

Sadly, one of these journeys ended with a tragic early demise.

With "Foxcatcher" starring Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo and Vanessa Redgrave, viewers will learn more about Olympic wrestlers Mark and Dave Schultz (Tatum and Ruffalo, respectively), the 1984 gold medalists who were training as contenders for an Atlanta Olympic berth when Dave was shot dead by his coach and patron John E. du Pont (Carell).

"Foxcatcher" earned outstanding early reviews through screenings at major film festivals, and I'm currently reading an advance copy of the same-titled book (Mark's autobiography penned with David Thomas for Dutton Books) on which the movie is based.

A one-word "Foxcatcher" trailer description: Creepy.



The film's title comes from the Pennsylvania du Pont family estate at which the Schultz brothers and other wrestlers lived and trained.

Also based on a nonfiction book, the upcoming film "Unbroken" -- based on the best selling "Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption" by "Seabiscuit" chronicler Laura Hillenbrand -- portrays the life of Louis Zamperini, a 1936 Berlin Olympian for Team USA.

Five years after running on the Olympic track in Germany, in 1941 Zamperini enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Forces. During WWII, he endured an epic list of horrific events, first surviving a military plane crash at sea only to remain adrift for weeks in the shark-infested Pacific before his capture by Japanese soldiers who held him in POW camps for years.

Fortunately, Zamperini survived to tell his story of survival and inspiration (as with the book "Foxcatcher" I am currently reading Hillenbrand's book for a future review on this Olympic blog).

In spite of the NBC/Universal touches that over dramatize an already compelling story (right out of the NBC Olympic broadcast playbook), the new "Unbroken" trailer does entice.


It will be interesting to see how the Coen brothers' (of "Fargo" and "The Big Lebowski" fame) screenplay contributions sync-up with Angeline Jolie's directing.

"Foxcatcher" opens November 14 and "Unbroken" debuts on Christmas Day.

Film poster for "Unbroken" via this link. Film poster for "Foxcatcher" via this link.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Place Your Bids

Today's mail included the usual assortment of bills, junk and coupons, but an oversized postcard from RR Auction in Boston caught my eye.

Turns out almost 75 old and rare Olympic items are up for bids in a sale that opens Sept. 11, continuing through the following week.

Highlights include a bronze medal from the second Winter Olympic Games, a silver medal from London's 1908 Games, several Stockholm 1912 and Berlin 1936 items (including pins, glass items and other souvenirs) and a Lake Placid 1980 Olympic hockey medal (bronze) won by a Swedish star player.

As with several Olympic auctions over the years, many of the items are, for this collector, priced with an opening bid near or above the retail value. I do think the auction is priced fairly; however, I think it would be challenging for a dealer to buy something here and expect to make much profit.

For instance, a 1932 Los Angeles Olympics bracelet is listed with a $150 opening bid (I bought a similar item, inclusive of its original with-color Olympic rings, on Ebay for a similar price a few years ago). An autographed 1956 Melbourne Olympic ticket signed by Al Oerter seems to have an appropriate opening bid.

I'm not an Olympic medal collector, so I was pleasantly surprised to learn the 1980 Lake Placid medals bear a hallmark from their manufacturer, Tiffany & Co.

We'll see where the bidding leads.

Photos via RR Auction
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