Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Remembering July 19, 1996

As the sun set on July 19, 2016, many an Atlanta Olympic veteran likely spent time reminiscing.

On this evening 20 years ago, the Centennial Olympic Games opened with great music, Georgia luminaries, star athletes and even a parade of pickup trucks!

The anniversary may be bittersweet for some, considering the night's greatest surprise in 1996 -- Muhammad Ali, who greeted Janet Evans and the world with torch in hand -- died earlier this year, a month or so shy of again celebrating his favorite Games experience (Ali wrote in his autobiography how he could not sleep after lighting the cauldron).

During the last week or so, Atlanta media pulled out the stops for 20th anniversary coverage. 

Local NPR affiliate WABE-FM created a series reliving the 1996 Cultural Olympiad -- great reporting in collaboration with ArtsATL.com

The station also aired a one-hour special and even wrote up Nike's new for 2016 Atlanta '96-inspired sneakers 

It was fun to read about the Atlanta History Center's plans to update the Centennial Olympic exhibition, which will close in a few weeks and reopen next year -- visitors can enjoy one of the 1996 opening ceremony costumes (a giant fish puppet) now on view in the entrance lobby.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution also created many column inches about Atlanta's Games, including a story about three couples who met and married while working at the Olympics (unmentioned with one couple's memories was my cameo role as neighbor encouraging a job application that led to their introduction).

The city and Centennial Olympic Park also pulled out many stops to host a 20th anniversary "Relive the Dream" celebration hosted by Billy Payne, Andrew Young and a cast of medal-winning athletes.

It was fun to spend Saturday catching up with old friends while meeting new contacts. 

Unfortunately, the "dream" evening on July 16 was not all fun and Games due to two lightning delays. Though they eventually got the party started and the content was fun, a handful of attendees took the organizers to task on Facebook with a few harsh but apt emoticons and comments. 

One of my public relations mentors, his wife, a longtime Olympic historian friend and I spent much of the event playing armchair quarterback to the organizers, ultimately deciding/lamenting the majority of the crowd enjoyed themselves but the event's disarray provided a snapshot of snafus parallel to the issues that played out in grand fashion during those 16 days and nights of 1996. 

The anniversary event scene came complete with crass street vendors, tents and credentials for the feted "haves" gazed upon by the excluded masses of "have nots" and other elements that frustrated many of the worker bees from two decades back. 

When I mentioned our observations to a prominent Olympic historian yesterday, he replied with his take that Atlanta was the "first Olympics at which most of the athletes were professionals and the organizers were all amateurs" -- hysterical! 

But, hey -- where would we be without the Atlanta Games experience? I am thankful Payne went to church and scribbled "Olympics" on his working list of community projects in 1988, and that the experiences afforded in 1996 put me on track to attend my 10th Games at Rio starting next week.

I also appreciate the hard work that went into the anniversary event.

This evening the Olympic news outlet Around The Rings hosted a fun party in honor of the Atlanta milestone, and some of my favorite memories of '96 came to mind:

-- Watching the Opening Ceremony live in the kitchen of a Chinese restaurant with my sister, a fellow Olympic Village team member, before we returned to Georgia Tech for the late shift and athletes coming home for the evening

-- Getting acquainted with ACOG Communications Manager Dick Yarbrough and the organization's archivist during work hours (learned the most enriching and "real" Games stories from both of them)

-- Sharing many social gatherings with fellow 1995 USOC interns-turned-Atlantans during the pre-Games spring of '96

-- Following-up the ACOG experience with a bonus two months of Paralympic employment and an additional wave of fun times paired with hard work.

There are many Games-time friends with whom I've lost touch -- would love to reconnect with so many of these people. 

One person in particular is a Village volunteer who attended the University of Georgia. On the last night of the Atlanta Olympic Village, which was Aug. 6, 1996, the two of us visited 4,000 dorm rooms in search of Olympic pins, and I've missed the shared laughter over all the random stuff we discovered the athletes left behind. 

Here's hoping my long-lost friend Emily Sanders is out there and enjoying her Olympic memories as am I.

Photos via Yahoo, Nike, Atlanta History Center. Park photo copyright Nicholas Wolaver.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Surf's Up for New LA2024 Olympic Bid Pins


On the home stretch to Rio 2016, Olympic pin collectors may anticipate a wave of board-shaped pins designed in homage to the city's surfing culture

Earlier this year, the U.S. Olympic Committee released a series of longboard pins inspired by Rio surfing culture.

In the set, each pin matches an actual surf board created for a sponsor appreciation display planned at USA House.

On the Olympic bid pin front, so far only one or two generic logo designs emerged from Budapest, Los Angeles, Paris and Rome, and there are some pins out there for the defunct Boston 2024 organization.

Until now.

At last night's 20th anniversary celebration for Atlanta's 1996 Games -- held in Centennial Olympic park with a stage for prepared remarks by several Games-related leaders -- LA24 Chairman Casey Wasserman decided the time was right for taking the drop, delivering the first boxed-set of new surfboard-shaped Olympic bid pins.

The lucky recipient? Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games CEO turned Augusta National Chairman Billy Payne. 

Wasserman handed the gift box of four surfboard pins while encouraging Payne and the crowd of thousands to "Follow the Sun" (LA24's bid theme) in support of America's next Olympiad.

On stage Payne thanked Wasserman, stating he appreciated the surfing tutorial as, at least during Payne's first glance, the pins' shape was not as self-explanatory as intended. 

Standing in the photo pit at the conclusion of the event, I asked Payne for a peek at the boxed set, which he held up for a photo. It was fun to inspect the new pin treasures -- Payne would not let the box out of his hand, so he must have considered them "keepers."

I'm no surfing guru, but upon inspecting the designs, each of the four pins appear to be wider than the longboard surfing pins the USOC previously released -- more in the shape of Payne's or my thumbprints. 

To me, the LA24 Olympic bid pins are more like wakeboards, perhaps to provide a wider space for the LA24 angel logo and the Olympic rings. 

I consulted some surfboard infographics and the aptly-titled "Riptionary" of surfing lingo, but found no surfboard shape exactly matched.

But who cares? These pins are gorgeous!

Each of the pins would certainly stand out upon a sport coat lapel or as a broach adorning a blouse. From left to right, the designs are:
  • Soaring palm trees, like visitors might enjoy while driving through Beverly Hills
  • Silhouetted cresting wave reminiscent of Malibu at sunset
  • Barrel wave encircling the "angel" logo at the wrong angle for a body-surfing stance
  • Sunrise over the San Gabriel Mountains and LA skyline

A possible fifth pin -- sans logos or rings -- appears to be a white cloisonné plaque on which "Follow The Sun" is painted in purple enamel. The cardboard presentation box also features colors from the bid palette.

I asked the LA24 media relations team to confirm the quantity and potential availability of the new bid pin sets and so far this was their response.

"Pins are a limited set, no plans for now on wider distribution."

My guess is the pins may be a special VIP gift for visitors to USA House in Rio, where LA24 will have a special display or other "to be unveiled" elements.

With known quantities historically a factor for bid pin collectors, I'll keep an open eye and ear for details. A boxed set of LA24 surfboard pins is now in the top five most-sought designs to add to my personal Olympic bid pin collection.

Until such time, wishing everyone some glorious and smooth tube riding to the Games of the XXXIst Olympiad, and happy pin collecting to all. 

Photos by Nicholas Wolaver

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Rio Olympic Posters Debut

Olympic poster fans finally have some new images to covet.

Four-and-a-half years after London unveiled its official images, today in Brazil, the Rio 2016 organizing committee showcased its 13 fresh poster designs for the Games of the XXXIst Olympiad.

According to a press release, 12 of the works are by artists native to the host nation, with one poster showcasing the design of a Colombian national. 

Most of the images feature vivid colors, while one design resembles a black and white astronomical map of galaxies, with the Olympic rings pointing out "you are here" at the Milky Way star cluster.

Rio landmarks, such as the iconic beachfront sidewalks or the city's topographical profile, appear in multiple designs. 

The most original 2016 image may be the assortment of abstract flesh-toned shapes grouped on a blue-green field and encircled by "laurel leaves." 

Another standout may be the graphic representation of several Games-time fields of play, such as a basketball court, rugby pitch or a corner of an Olympic track -- for this observer, the architectural image translated closest to "2016" iconography (as though inspired by a venue infographic). 

All of the Rio posters are vertical. 

As with the finalists for 2012, I personally loved a couple of images and did not care for others. The images blending the ocean and land rose to the top for me. The child with kite and favela skyline is beautiful with a touch of something akin to works by Banksy

One image featuring a stylized blue and white sunrise seemed at once to be a potential bridge poster for the Tokyo 2020 Games. Two designs featuring Olympic torches are cool, while one took me back to the more psychedelic works from the 1968 Mexico City or 1972 Munich poster collections. 

But the assortment for Rio has something for everyone.  A gallery for all 13 posters may be viewed on the Rio 2016 Facebook post

For collectors heading to Brazil, the originals and prints will be on exhibition at the showstopping Santiago Calatrava masterpiece Museum of Tomorrow in Praca Maua until July 22, then at Deodoro Olympic Park through the Games. 

Prints will be available for sale in two sizes (28cm x 42cm at R$30, or 60cm x 90cm for R$50) in the museum shop and official Rio 2016 Olympic stores, according to the press release.

Images via Rio 2016



Friday, July 8, 2016

High Museum Missteps With Rise of Sneaker Culture

In recent years, I've been to three presentations by Michael Shapiro, the High Museum of Art's executive director from 2000 through July 2015. For the sake of disclosure, the High was a public relations client in 2005 and again from 2012 to 2015.

At all three of Shapiro's speeches, he stated the 1996 Cultural Olympiad exhibition "Rings: Five Passions of World Art" -- which the High presented during Atlanta's Olympics -- marked a major milestone and critical turning point (for the better) for the Southeast's premier museum of art. 

Shapiro's and his peer's remarks echo in news reports and in general Atlanta arts conversations; it seems that most people agree that "Rings" put the High on the map of art museums with which to be reckoned. 

Given this summer's 20th anniversary for both Atlanta's Games and the High's main ascension point, I thought for certain a commemoration might take place in step with next week's party for all things Olympic in Atlanta. 

And when the museum announced "Out of the Box: The Rise of the Sneaker Culture" as this summer's main exhibition, an Olympic or "Rings" commemoration seemed even closer to "shoe-in" status.

Sadly, upon finally visiting the exhibition yesterday, the certainty unlaced.

And the museum's lack of promotion for the exhibition's many five-ringed connections seems like a big-time missed opportunity (insert grating, high-pitched squeaks of rubber smudging basketball courts here).

Before shoehorning the good parts of "The Rise of Sneaker Culture" below, it's worth mentioning the lack of Olympic promotion rests not entirely at the High's feet. 

The exhibition is on tour, arriving from its source curators of the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto by way of the first U.S. presentation at The Brooklyn Museum in New York last fall, and a winter stop at Ohio's Toledo Museum of Art. 

Much of the exhibition's content -- such as a 256-page catalog or the wall text (in this exhibition, at the toe or heel of each shoe's display space in horizontal glass cases) -- was written by non-Atlantans with less knowledge of Georgia's capital or the High's Olympic legacies.

Though the catalog is beautiful and chock-full of interesting facts, figures, specially-written contributions and gorgeous photos, the Olympic notes are riddled with copy errors. 

Specifically, on page 79 the section author, Bata Shoe Museum Senior Curator Elizabeth Semmelhack, incorrectly referenced "Gold medalist Heinz Fütterer ran in Pumas at the 1954 Olympics" (Fütterer golds were earned at the world championships in 1954, a non-Olympic year, and he won a team relay bronze at Melbourne's 1956 Olympiad).

More surprising: Beside of color photo of Mexico City Olympians Tommie Smith and John Carlos barefoot on the medal stand beside their suede Pumas, the author incorrectly reports that "At the medal ceremony, both athletes too off their black Suedes"

Somewhere, Elvis is joining me in musically admonishing Semmelhack because the photo has "blue, blue, blue suede shoes, baby!"

In the High, there's no mention of Smith nor Carlos and their iconic Olympic moment. Rather, the Suede Puma sample appears beside an signed orange version with the autograph of Atlanta-born NBA star Walt "Clyde" Frazier. Unmentioned in the catalog and exhibition: In 2008, Smith reportedly gave one of his 1968 Pumas to Usain Bolt as a birthday gift. 

The catalog copy errors hop over to page 218 with a reference to "Mohammad Ali" (it's Muhammad, thank u) as the inspiration for a rare Adidas sneaker design. 

Skip back to page 54 for a reference to Jesse Owens as "the winningest Olympian" up to 1936 (Finland's Paavo Nurmi won nine gold medals from 1920 to 1928).

Jump to the same page photo cutline to find it erroneously states Owens was "the first athlete to receive four gold medals in the Olympic Games" (Nurmi earned five golds at Paris in 1924). Does the researcher for this section still have a job?


Fortunately, here's what the exhibition gets right:

-- Display of a 1936 shoe like those presented to Owens in Berlin by Adolf "Adi" Dassler, founder of Adidas and brother of Puma founder Rudolph Dassler; I noticed more visitors stopped to study this shoe in detail, and one person even remembered the shoe scene depicted in the recent Owens biopic "Race"

-- Showcase of the aforementioned 1968 Puma blue Suede style akin to what Team USA gave Smith and Carlos in Mexico City. This shoe really does look cool

-- Numerous Nike and Air Jordan brand shoes donned by Michael Jordan just after his 1984 Olympic debut and later when he played for the Dream Team in 1992

-- Michael Johnson's gold Nike track spikes tailored to his specifications (one is a half-size larger than the other), worn at Atlanta Olympic Stadium 20 years ago

-- Autographed Fila Grant Hill II shoe worn in play at the 1996 Olympics at the Georgia Dome

-- Numerous other designs celebrating and mentioning Olympic basketball players Patrick Ewing (1984, 1992), Shaquille O'Neal (1996), Danny Manning (1988) and LeBron James (2004, 2008, 2012). But when you're looking at James' comical and colorful Stewie Griffin LeBron IV sneakers by Nike, don't expect to find mention of the player's 2016 MVP status for the Cleveland Cavaliers. 

-- Gold Puma X Undefeated Clyde Gametime Gold sneakers honoring 2012 Olympic basketball at London.

-- In the non-Olympic realm, I enjoyed the Roy Lichtenstein-inspired design, original Onitsuka Tiger Tai Chi lace-ups like those worn by Bruce Lee and Uma Thurman, Damien Hirst's contributions for a pair of Converse X, and a pair of rubber "overshoes" from Brazil circa the 1830s.

-- There's not an exhibition-specific app, but the museum presents some interesting video content about select shoes via the site SneakerHigh.org. The Owens footage is interesting, as is the No. 1 video regarding the anniversary of Reebok Pump Fury celebrated a few years ago. 

I do think that with so many shoes tied directly to the 1996 Atlanta Games, the High could or should have laced up some promotions, an infographic for sports fans, or an invitation for Johnson to revisit his donated gold shoes. 

The Brazilian shoes from 1830 even provide a potential shoe box feature tied to the Rio 2016 Olympics -- imagine, safety from rubbers!

With several Atlanta-based gold medalists such as current Wheaties box athletics champion Edwin Moses, NBA player and Olympian Dwight Howard, or high jumper Chaunté Lowe nearby, why not engage them for their footnotes on Olympic shoes?

Most of the sneakers are presented in one large gallery, with a smaller side gallery showcasing the more historic (translation: older) designs spanning the mid-1800s to the 1960s. Each shoe rests in place, so it's not possible to peer at every angle unless a design happens to be placed at a glass case end cap. 

Suggestion for future shoe exhibitions: Place the objets d'art atop motorized Lazy Susans for a fresh spin of the moccasin.

The bottom line: For readers considering museum options, "Out of the Box: The Rise of Sneaker Culture" is worth visiting for its wealth of shoe artistry. Ruminating on its potential for Atlanta Olympic ties for more than a year, I could not help but be disappointed on that front, but the sneakers on view do fill in many interesting footnotes on history.

With that said, I haven't been this perplexed/disappointed by a High exhibition since they mounted a 2011 assemblage titled "The Art of Golf" whose curator obliviously left out the two most influential modern golf and sports artists, Leroy Neiman and Bart Forbes, perhaps another example (prior to Bata's catalog researcher and copy editor errors) when curators jumped for "sports meets arts" but only tossed a brick or air ball.

"The Rise of Sneaker Culture" remains on view at the High though Aug. 11 before it stumbles into the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Ky. Maybe while in "The Greatest" Ali's hometown they'll get the spelling right for Muhammad. 

Images via High.org and Bata Shoe Museum; Olympic photo credit TBD.



Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Come Celebrate Atlanta's Olympic 20th Anniversary


On the eve of Rio's Olympic adventure, Atlanta will celebrate the 20th anniversary of its 1996 Games at an evening party in Centennial Olympic Park.

The downtown gathering is free and open to the public on July 16 starting at 6 p.m.

According to a press release from the Georgia World Congress Center Authority (GWCCA), the entity charged with managing the park, the "Relive The Dream" event will be "star-studded" and feature food trucks, live entertainment and fireworks.

"The festivities will celebrate the glories of the Games, reuniting the athletic heroes, the organizing team and fans at the greatest lasting [1996 Olympic] legacy -- 21-acre Centennial Olympic Park," according to the release.

The event is also an "Olympic volunteer reunion," and according to Atlanta-based members of the pin collecting group Olympin, there will be tables available for trading and sharing favorite pin or Games-time stories. A spokeswoman for GWCCA said their "might" be a "Relive The Dream" pin created for the event.

Anticipated star athletes for the party include 10-time Olympic medalist and Sports Illustrated "Olympian of the Century" track and field legend Carl Lewis, Olympic swimming gold medalists Janet Evans and Amy Van Dyken, Olympic basketball gold medalist Teresa Edwards, and a reunion of the gold-medal winning "Magnificent Seven" U.S. women's gymnastics team including Kerri Strug, Shannon Miller, Amy Chow, Dominique Dawes, Jaycie Phelps, Amanda Borden and Dominique Moceanu. 

Earlier on July 16, Evans -- a vice chair and director of athlete relations for the Los Angeles 2024 bid committee -- will host a private "Town Hall" meeting at which many more Atlanta-based Olympians are expected. In a conversation following the Muhammad Ali Memorial Service in Louisville last month, Evans told me the town hall format was a hit with participants in Miami and Chicago during spring 2016. Since the Ali event in June, a third town hall took place during the USA Swimming Olympic Trials in Omaha last week.

Dignitaries scheduled to appear at Centennial Olympic Park include Georgia Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and Ambassador Andrew Young, who with Billy Payne led the Atlanta Olympic bid and Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games (ACOG). 

Payne first announced the July 16 party at last September's private "Dreamers & Believers" gathering of Atlanta Olympic bid team members. 

Scheduled entertainment includes country music artist Colby Dee, the folk and Americana duo Banks & Shane, and the gospel-influenced SEEiT Choir.

Since the 1996 Games, Centennial Olympic Park attracted $2.2 billion of new downtown development, including nine hotels, residential towers and attractions including the Georgia Aquarium, World of Coca-Cola and Center for Civil and Human Rights.

The park recently launched a new "adopt-a-brick" program inspired by the 1996 brick campaign that created the footprints and park space enjoyed by tens of millions of visitors during the last 20 years.

See you July 16!

Logo and park image via GWCCA; Payne photo by Nicholas Wolaver

The Neon Demon: Puerile, Aberrant, Cringeworthy ... Yet Irresistably Sensational

The new film "The Neon Demon" has absolutely no Olympic connection unless you count its setting, contemporary Los Angeles.

It's doubtful the fictional beauties -- or anyone in the fashion industry portrayed on this flashy silver screen horror story -- would align themselves with the LA2024 Olympic bid, which is probably a good thing for the hopeful future Games committee.

The next sentence includes two potential spoilers.

Walking out of "The Neon Demon" and shaking my head, I asked myself repeatedly whether the world really reached a point at which shock value may only be achieved through scenes including cannibalism and necrophilia?

I wondered, "Did the audience really need to see that?" and considered asking others murmuring similar distaste as we exited the theatre. (Answer: no.)

There were the warning signs that should have kept me away.

Reviews helped me learn a few new words that sent me hunting for a dictionary. "Puerile" stuck out in The New York Times' review, while "aberrant" was the apt term in an Atlanta Journal-Constitution mini-review from staff and wire reports.

But the same outlet with the harshest critical POV also published a video "anatomy of a scene" narrated by director Nicolas Winding Refn, and this trailer more than others reeled me in ... hook, line and sinker.

Though I eventually felt icky for spending $12 on the ticket, some of the film's provocative content did deliver entertaining bang for the buck.

Key scenes took me back to previous sleepers tied to Stephen King, including "Carrie" and "The Shining," and the bloodbath that takes shape in "The Neon Demon" is likely to earn cult status down the road (enticing me to lay down this review while the film remains fresh in my mind).

What stinks most about "The Neon Demon" is the story, which sort of plods along (especially the second half) like one of its models tripping on a catwalk.

Tension does crescendo, but curve balls mid-film are distracting -- when the young and stunning wannabe model (Elle Fanning) cuts her hand on a shard of broken mirror, for instance, an established and competing model licks the blood rather than try to stop its flow. Eww!

I did not understand nor care for the psychedelic dream sequences through which Fanning's character, Jesse, appears in her own kaleidoscopic settings. Pink Floyd references intended? Who cares.

Another distraction is Keanu Reeves. Though he is convincing as a Pasadena dive motel slum lord, spotting him only took me back to "Point Break" good guy scenes of the past. And even when he might have been raping a teenager off-screen, I only smirked for thinking of his monosyllable grunts of Ted on his 1989 excellent adventure.

What works, however, is the music, and it hit me 48 hours after watching that "The Neon Demon" functions well as a highly stylized extended music video rather than a feature film. It's surreal in the ballpark with Lady Gaga's promotion for "Bad Romance" or her meat dress days.

Perhaps if they took out most of the dialogue from "The Neon Demon," they could run the meticulous footage on MTV to promote Cliff Martinez's great score.

Savvy movie soundtrack buffs may recall the musician's earlier and outstanding work for thought-provoking films including "sex, lies, and videotape" or "Traffic," "Drive," "Arbitrage," or "Spring Breakers." I found myself queuing up the Shazam app several times during the film, and I predict Sia's original song contribution "Waving Goodbye" -- my favorite takeaway -- will emerge as an Oscar nominee.

As a longtime Jena Malone fan, it was pleasantly surprising to see her early in the film, but later disappointing, er, disturbing to see her take on the aforementioned necrophilia scenes. Yikes!

Like Nancy Kerrigan wailing, post-knee assault, all I could think was, "Whyyyyyyy, Jena, WHYYYYYY?!"

Malone's final scene, topless and knee-deep in a shallow grave, is reminiscent of Marcel Duchamp's "Etant donnes" (at right) in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, so I'm now curious the extent to which the director and/or set decorator took inspiration from the multimedia work that took 20 years to create (1946 to 1966).

So "The Neon Demon" left me in a strange place because I don't really want to suggest that folks spend money or time on it.

With that said, in the long-run, if this film is going to become a much-debated piece of surreal art, then it may be worth a look-see for the sake of conversation.

Like Andy Warhol's car crash paintings, perhaps one can't help but look.

Images via Amazon Studios/Broad Green Pictures

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Silver Medalist Pat Summitt

Full disclosure: I'm not a big basketball fan.

My first Olympic basketball experience is coming soon, with a ticket to the gold medal women's basketball final in Rio during the second week of the Games.

With that said, tuning in to recent news reports, one could not miss the weekend updates about the legendary basketball coach Pat Summitt and family statements about her declining health. 

This morning I woke up to the overnight headlines that Summitt died from complications related to Alzheimer's. 

Condolences are due for this accomplished athlete and coach, who I learned only today was an Olympic silver medalist on the first U.S. women's basketball team in Montreal 1976. 

Summitt later coached Team USA's gold medal follow up at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics (though she did not personally earn a gold medal, as some reports erroneously stated).

Sadly, my family learned first-hand about Alzheimer's and later-stage "complications" as my mother, Betty, died of the memory- and function-stealing disease in early 2014. 

Mom was diagnosed in early 2008, a couple of months after her 65th birthday, so she was not an "early onset" patient as Summitt was (the coach was diagnosed in 2011, before she turned 64, the demarcation line for "early onset" designation). 

But I suspect -- and don't wish this for anyone -- that Summitt's family worked through many of the same challenges we witnessed and that millions of American families experienced, or continue to endure, in the final months for an Alzheimer's patient. 

Hollywood portrayals of diagnosed characters in "Youth" and "The Descendants" give brief but accurate glimpses of the disease and the impact on family members. 

Inspired by some of the online remembrances, it's likely I'll track down a copy of Summitt's autobiography "Sum It Up" for more details on her Olympic and other accomplishments, in her words.

It would also be cool to track down the Los Angeles Times' reports about Summitt published during the 1984 Olympic women's basketball tournament to see how they reported on the team's progress and victory.

I hope that Summitt's diagnosis, treatment and foundation will continue to inspire research toward a cure for Alzheimer's or fund respite for the families managing their loved ones with this condition. 

Images: Coaching photo via this page; Montreal Olympic photo via NPR; Los Angeles Olympic photo by Pete Leabo/Associated Press; book cover photo via this page. Image below via Clarkson Creative. 


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