Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Where I've Been and 2016

For Facebook and Twitter aficionados, check out this contest. The Facebook folks who created "Where I've Been" have a Twitter contest in play related to the 2016 Olympic bid.

Text from their Facebook page states:

Enter for a chance to win round-trip coach-class airfare for travel to Chicago, Madrid, Rio, or Tokyo in the Where I've Been Olympic Twitter Giveaway. All you gotta do is:

1. Follow Where I've Been (@whereivebeen) on Twitter.

2. A message will be posted by @whereivebeen at 9am CT on Thursday, October 1st. Tune in and RE-TWEET THAT MESSAGE!

Winner will be selected at random & announced on the @whereivebeen Twitter page on Friday, October 2nd.

It's that simple. The first link is www.twitter.com/whereivebeen and the second is www.twitter.com/nickwolaver. Tweet away!

UPS Delivers For London 2012

On the heels of the McDonald's Olympic sponsorship news (see previous post), today also marked the delivery of news that Atlanta-based UPS is the latest London 2012 Olympic sponsor.

(disclosure: UPS/UPS International is a client of Edelman, the P.R. firm where I work.)

More specifically, UPS is now London 2012's "5th Tier Two Supporter and 22nd domestic commercial sponsor overall."

A sampling of headlines from both sides of The Pond include the hometown Atlanta Journal-Constitution as well as Reuters London and Associated Press reports.

The UPS U.K. site also provides a bit of detail. Jolly good show!

Logo via UPS United Kingdom

Action McNews!


I always get a chuckle when Tom Tomorrow includes the ACTION McNEWS! exclamatory "newscasts" in the great This Modern World cartoons.

Today a press release arrived from the media relations team for McDonald's, which announced a new McDonald's Champion Kids program through which some lucky youngsters and their parents may win a trip to the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games. I'll bite!

According to the P.R. correspondence, "To enter the contest, kids provide videos, photos and essays about what the Olympics values (Excellence, Friendship and Respect) mean to them."

Olympic medalist and "Dancing With The Stars" champ Shawn Johnson will be the official judge of the entrants, so anyone age 11 to 14 who wants Ms. Johnson to see them, here's your chance to enter now!

Photo via the McDonald's Champion Kids site

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Pele Power

Just read a Jan M. Olsen report for the Associated Press regarding the Olympic feats, and 2016 Olympic bid contributions, of Pele. Interesting read.

Contemplating some of the Rio bid's tactics, as reported in the news today, I keep coming back to a few quotes from Olympic bid-related conversations in Beijing.

During the Around The Rings breakfast event in Beijing, at which all four 2016 Olympic bid city CEOs were quizzed, Patrick Ryan, leader of Chicago 2016, made a remark that stuck with me.
He said (paraphrasing here) that one of the biggest lessons they took from previous Olympic bids was the notion that remaining humble [in the eyes of the IOC] is a key factor for the potential success of the bid by any candidate city.

Some of the Rio 2016 comments today -- at least as they were portrayed by media -- started to smack of "sans humble." When people ask me "why do you think Chicago may win?" this is now part of the response: Chicago remains humble in the process.

No matter the 2016 city chosen on Friday, the Games of the XXXIst Olympiad will be spectacular. Let the Olympic nail biting continue!

One Happy Island

I've been knocking around ideas for the blog.

Inspired by Stephen Colbert's outstanding "Better Know A District" series, here's the first edition of "Better Know An N.O.C."

Premiere "B.K.A.N.O.C." National Olympic Committee: Aruba

The Comite Olimpico Arubano is based in the capital city Oranjestad, which is one of the island's only cities. Still in the running to claim its first Olympic medal, this "One Happy Island" first competed in the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games.

According to the NBC Sports Beijing Olympic sites, Aruba's baseball players qualified to play on The Netherlands' Olympic baseball teams (unfortunately, Netherlands Baseball only reached 7th place in the Beijing Olympic baseball tournament according to this site).

Aruba is a beautiful tropical paradise, with about the most consistently gorgeous weather (I loved the constant breezes, big surf on the deserted eastern shore, and snorkeling). The casinos in the tourist district are a great place to learn (to lose some money at) roulette!

Photo via a fellow Flickr user

Planting A Seed For GOP Drivel Banter

OK, a quick departure from Olympics (well, actually, this post does discuss Michelle Obama, part of the Chicago 2016 Olympic bid delegation, so there is a five-ringed connection of sorts).

I just read the Reuters report about the First Lady's upcoming segment on the season premiere of "Sesame Street."

To promote nutrition and healthy diet, Mrs. Obama will teach young viewers about planting fruits and vegetables. This seems pretty cool to me.

Given the Red State responses (in media report comments) to President Obama's decision to head to Copenhagen for the Olympic bid, or the recent headlines regarding Obama speaking directly to school children across the U.S., I'm bracing for the Senate Minority response.

Screaming, ludicrous headlines coming to a conservative network or website soon include ...

"Michelle Obama To Plant Seeds of Deceit and Left Agenda on Leftist PBS Program!"

"Ketchup-Gate! First Lady Plants Tomatoes With Big Bird To Help Teresa Heinz Re-Enter Political Arena"

"Obamas Want Cookie Monster to Devour Childrens' Brains!"

"Snuffleupagus (think Rep. logo/symbol) Leaves GOP To Roam Obama Garden"

Any to add?

Photo via Wikipedia screen grab from "Sesame Street"

Possible Theme Songs for Olympic Bids

A colleague recently nominated me as "most likely to break into song."

With that new title in mind, here are some suggested theme songs the media might use regarding each city vying for the 2016 Olympic Games.

Note: The tunes are set to match recent headlines for each bid city, Tokyo, Rio de Janiero, Madrid and Chicago.

Tokyo 2016 -- "So Emotional" by Whitney Houston -- With thanks to this AFP Report.

Rio 2016 -- "Lets Face The Music And Dance" by Irving Berlin -- Via the Associated Press.

Madrid 2016 -- "Takin' It To The Street" by The Doobie Brothers -- As noted by the Chinese outlet People's Daily and some mesmerizing Reuters photos.

Chicago 2016 -- "My Kind Of Town" composed by Jimmy Van Heusen with lyrics by Sammy Cahn -- via the Chicago Tribune.

No matter the bid city, all may be thinking of their final presentations Friday in the context of this tune created for the 1988 Olympic Games of Seoul.

Music Festival logo via this link.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Room With A View

In Chicago this Friday, looks like Daley Plaza is not the only option for viewing the Chicago 2016 Olympic bid decision live. Check out these indoor venues noted by Concierge Preferred Chicago on their blog.

Mayor Richard Daley has a busy week in progress. Here's a link to some of his comments last year regardign the bid.

Your Future's So Bright, You Gotta Go To Denmark

Congratulations to the two winning entrants in the International Olympic Committee's online video contest via YouTube. Participants answered the question "What do you think is the future of the Olympic Games?" with two top video creators winning a free trip to Copenhagen for the Olympic Congress this weekend. This IOC press release provides links to the winners' videos.

Odds for 2016 Olympic Vote

During the next few days, it's safe to anticipate a deluge of Olympic bid coverage and buzz. I predict that some media outlets will even quote Olympic industry experts and polls and GamesBids.com, InsideTheGames (cast a vote on the right side of home page online) and/or Around The Rings, which each have good info on the quest for 2016 and other future Olympic bids.

A friendly fellow P.R. pro alerted me that Mickey Richardson, CEO of Bookmaker.com ("one of the largest sports books in the world") apparently "... tasked his team of experienced odds makers with analyzing the chances for each city to take this event and have listed Tokyo as their favorite to host the games, with Madrid as a close second."

I think it would behoove their odds makers to take a look at GamesBids.com, InsideTheGames and Around The Rings, as Tokyo and Madrid are consistently ranked the least likely to win the 2016 hosting duties in their polls.

But I'll keep an eye on this -- it's a safe bet that President Obama's decision to head to Copenhagen is a game changer. Any other odds makers out there want to comment with their two cents as to who will claim the 2016 prize?

I asked of Bookmaker.com, "What odds did this Bookmaker have on Sochi 2014, London 2012, Vancouver 2010 (GamesBids.com posted a report about an Australian oddsmaker on this one) or other recent winning cities? What is [Bookmaker.com's] track record for picking the right cities?" -- will post their response as received (they acknowledged this might be a new category for the Bookmaker.com team).

Chicago 2016 Bid Gets Presidential

My days usually begin with NPR Morning Edition on the clock-radio, and today's first report on the ear-ly was news that The White House announced that President Obama will join the Chicago 2016 Olympic bid delegation in Copenhagen. This is tremendous -- another first for this White House (no U.S. president has attended an IOC bid city election of the past, as I understand it).

According to The White House press release, several of Obama's cabinet members, who are also from Chicago, will join the delegation. I have got to ask: Why is Secretary of State Hillary Clinton -- also a Chicago native and, um, SECRETARY OF STATE (our nation's representative to the international community!) missing from the delegation? She is a huge Olympic fan, having attended the Games in Lillehammer and Atlanta as First Lady.

Well, it's not too late to add Mrs. Clinton to Obama's and Chicago 2016's All-Stars pitching the U.S. as host city. It is going to be a big week!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

T-Minus Five ...

It's now just five days and counting until the big vote in Copenhagen. In about 120 hours, the International Olympic Committee will bestow the 2016 Olympic Games upon Chicago, Madrid, Rio de Janiero or Tokyo.

Several Olympic-minded friends, as well as colleagues and even a blog reader or two have offered their take on the race. Some are absolutely convinced a particular victor will be named. Others are less certain about the winner, but seem to feel 100 percent clear about which metropolis they DON'T want to visit in 2016.

Here's my brief, late-night take on the candidates (I will list the city followed by its bid advantage and bid Achilles' Heel, from my view):

Tokyo -- Familiar Olympic destination as the only finalist to previously host the Games (I am paraphrasing a friend who mentioned today he felt this was more a disadvantage); the fact that Beijing just hosted the Games in Asia may be a disadvantage.

Madrid -- Repeat bidder that came a long way since previous bid; unfortunately, London 2012's proximity puts this European capital behind other finalists.

Rio de Janiero -- Now the favorite, and also would take the Games to South America for the first time, AND this city is absolutely gorgeous; but in spite of hosting global events lately, the favelas and the issues faced by millions in the city are a weakness.

Chicago -- First time bidder, outstanding financial support, great TV time zones for advertising and beautiful lakefront setting; What's not to love about this candidate city?

Of course, my Olympic fan-dom will continue no matter the 2016 site. Good luck to all the hard-working bid committees on the home stretch! I'm heading to Chicago on Thursday to pitch a tent and get a great seat for the vote in Daley Plaza. If anyone reading this will be there, please stop by the Picasso statue -- I'll be in a black suit and Olympic bid tie. Hope to see you there!

Go-Chicago-Go!

Photo via Rogue3W on Flickr

Sunday, September 20, 2009

News of Olympic Parks, Press and Putin

The Chicago Tribune's Washington Bureau (a.k.a. The Swamp) and other outlets report that a presidential advance team will embark to Copenhagen to "keep options open" for President Obama to speak to the International Olympic Committee. This is a tremendous boost for the Chicago 2016 Olympic bid team, for sure.

Only 11 days remain until the big vote.

In other news, in New York, Olympic gold medalist and "Dancing With The Stars" champ Shawn Johnson took to the air on Fox News yesterday, talking about her support of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Her media training skills keep improving with each interview.

Back in Chicago, this past week's Olympic headlines were capped with the opening of the new Jesse Owens Olympic Park presented by Allstate. Long-term good news for the city. Read all about it.

And speaking of Olympic parks, here's some news about the London 2012 Olympic park getting some visitors.

Even the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic team had Olympic park news this week, with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin visiting some big cats with IOC member Jean-Claude Killy. Meow!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Mind Your Mentoring

In recent weeks, the topic of mentoring has been on the brain. At my desk at Edelman, work with our client PINK focused on the launch of this national outlet's "Minute Mentor" segments, which recipients of The Little PINK Book or anyone may access online.

Several mentors helped me on the journey from a high school student to an Atlanta public relations media supervisor. Two of these special people to me have an Olympic connection.

The following paragraphs include first names only because, unfortunately, some big gaps of time lapsed since the most recent contact with these mentors (committing here to get back in touch!).

The first professional mentor who accidentally earned that title is Leslie.

During the year building up to U.S. Olympic Festival '89 -- the Oklahoma City sports event where "it all started" (my hard core enthusiasm for the Olympics, that is) -- Leslie was the public relations director for the Festival organizing committee.

On my first day as a summer volunteer (at age 15, in 1988), Leslie assigned me some phone bank research and, I think, a media list project. Mundane, yes, but Leslie took the time to explain the importance of getting the facts and figures right, for the public (fellow volunteers and potential ticket buyers) and for reporters. She put the project into the context of shaping opinion about the Festival, and that made everything (including spell check by hand from a phone book) more important and interesting.

Several office projects later, Leslie got me working at one of the Festival's P.R. events. Seeing how it all came together -- the details, the food, the fancy business clothes, the media interest -- introduced me to P.R. She encouraged me, taught me, answered all the silly questions. My ego was boosted by some "Nick P.R." the committee embarked on for a volunteer contribution at the end of the summer. I was drunk on publicity and how it worked!

When school finally ended in the spring of 1989, I could hardly wait to get back to volunteering, and Leslie was there teaching how the media could be engaged on several fronts:
  • Media stunts (100 volunteers parked Oklahoma-made GM cars in the shape of the OK89 logo for a photo opportunity)

  • Media events (the statewide Olympic Torch Relay)

  • Dedication ceremonies (the unveiling of a downtown Oklahoma City Olympic-themed statue)
These topics and pitching Festival "story angles" and "media relations" all entered my lexicon thanks to Leslie, who was the main organizing committee P.R. contact who worked with the U.S. Olympic Committee during the actual Festival (seeing the U.S.O.C.'s media operations for the Festival was eye-opening, to be sure -- especially in the pre-Fax, pre-Internet days!).

Leslie went on to work for a global energy company before starting a family, and she was an outstanding touchstone as my college degree du jour evolved from psychology to international relations and finally mass communications at Minnesota State University-Mankato (in those days, MSU stood only for Mankato State U. -- Sarah Palin would love it there, as the mascot was very Mavericky!). Though not often enough, I think of all the time Leslie took to care and listen. Hooray for my professional mentor, Leslie!
A shout out to another mentor of the U.S. Olympic Festival '89 experience: Mr. Clay Bennett! He certainly helped Oklahoma to fulfill the Festival's motto "Winning a Place in the World." (I will write more about Bennett in a separate, future post).

Another mentor in my life entered the scene in 1993, but neither of us knew she was destined for mentor status until the summer of 1994 at the U.S. Olympic Festival of St. Louis. Margaret was an executive on loan to the Festival organizing committee (I later learned she served many years as one of Monsanto's top female executives at a time when there were few to zero women above the glass ceiling).

Margaret was tough, but not one to take no for an answer. In our 15 x 20 office shared at the Washington University in St. Louis Olin Business School (built adjacent to the 1904 St. Louis Olympic venues), Margaret masterminded the best U.S. Olympic Festival Athlete Village in the history of the USOF.
When unexpected challenges came along, she found a solution, or taught our team how. She was outstanding at managing tons of data, hundreds of people (and their vast personality differences) and making things work. And she kept everything upbeat and low key, never letting anyone see her sweat (though there were plenty of times we were all up late sweating to get the Village ready).

After the Festival, Margaret was the touchstone of my later college and early career milestones, from landing two internships (the first with the U.S.O.C. intern program, the second at the Fleishman-Hillard home office), to a first-time full-time job with the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games. She also taught the importance of community involvement as her own career evolved into leading a nonprofit organization in St. Louis.

My thanks go out to Leslie and Margaret, and many other mentors who helped along the way.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Hail To The Chief!












Bravo, President Obama! The former Man About Chicago today hosted a Chicago 2016 Olympic Bid sendoff on The White House lawn. Glad to see this Executive Branch support weeks before the big vote at the IOC Olympic Congress in Copenhagen, Denmark, on Oct. 2. Would be cool to be there!

Chicago Mayor Richard Daley (interview with him from Beijing available here) gave an inspiring speech regarding Chicago Olympians who competed in the 1936 Games of Berlin.

News reports from today's event in Washington include scenes similar to the Chicago 2016 live athletic demonstrations at the IOC Evaluation Commission visit in April. Michelle Obama is set to be the U.S. delegation lead in the Danish city. Go, Chicago, GO!

The IOC currently offers a video contest through which they will give two individuals an all expenses jaunt to Copenhagen! To enter, anyone may submit their own video via YouTube. It was fun to view many of the fellow competitors' videos (good luck, everyone!) -- the important thing is not to win but to compete!

Here's a link to the official contest rules; deadline to post is Sept. 22.

Photo via Yahoo! News and the Associated Press/AP Photo

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Happy Landings for 2010

Interesting to find this USA Today travel report noting that the airports in Reno, Nev., Boise, Idaho and Spokane, Wash., are now "portal airports" for travelers taking private aircraft to British Columbia during the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.

Reno-Tahoe is known as an Olympic Bid candidate city for 2014 (defunct when Vancouver claimed 2010) and the 2018 Olympic bid process (postponed for 2022, per the U.S.O.C., when the Chicago 2016 Olympic bid got traction. Would be interesting to bring the Games to a market with the casino entertainment option.

And, of course, security provided by "Reno 9-1-1."

Monday, September 14, 2009

If Hollywood Were Run Like the Olympics ...

In a 1991 article of People Magazine, the reporter Jeannie Park wrote in her lede the following regarding Patrick Swayze:

"IF HOLLYWOOD WERE RUN LIKE THE OLYMPICS, Patrick Swayze would never lose. Who else can rope a calf, swan-dive into a pool, parachute from a plane, cry on cue—and turn a mean pirouette? And there's one other category that Swayze would win hands down: Trying Hardest to Dodge Typecasting as a Romantic Leading Man."

I always figured Swayze would be a down-to-earth celebrity in person. Whether he played the heartthrob or a douchebag (i.e. his character played to perfection in "Donnie Darko"), Swayze was entertaining. The penny scene in "Ghost" was a little much, but still good.
His opening monologue (including a classy dance with his wife) on "Saturday Night Live" is still tops, and who will ever forget this skit that helped Chris Farley establish himself on the network?
Will be humming that Swayze tune, no doubt, for a few days. So long, Johnny Castle.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Rude Behavior Trifecta

What's up with all the rude American behavior this past week?

First, no lie! There was the U.S. Senator from South Carolina who spoke up in an inappropriate manner during President Obama's speech before Congress.

Just a few nights later, Olympic gold medalist Serena Williams tore into a line judge during what became Williams' final play of the 2009 U.S. Open (wondering what the consequence would be had she, or any Olympic tennis athlete, did the same in Olympic tournament play). OK, fine.

Tonight's adventures in rudeness were brought to us by Kanye West, who apparently commandeered the microphone from Moon Man trophy winner Taylor Swift (who appeared in this blog for her Olympic connections last year). I enjoy the music of both West and Swift, but Kanye speaking up during an MTV acceptance speech was totally uncalled for, in my opinion.

Kanye, please answer me: How Could You Be So Heartless? Please stick to singing, not speeches! At least he apologized -- sort of -- on his blog. I can just picture West now in his hotel room in front of a laptop typing away ... [yeah, right].

I for one remain hopeful that politeness will prevail, led by example, like this one:

On Friday afternoon, the White House, Chicago 2016 Olympic bid committee and the U.S. Olympic Committee announced that First Lady Michelle Obama will be part of the U.S. delegation at the IOC Sessions in Copenhagen next month -- it seems the polite thing to do, to help the First Lady (and the president's) hometown, Chicago, bring home the 2016 Olympic hosting duties.

Oprah Winfrey is getting polite, too -- according to the Chicago Tribune's Michael Phillips, Winfrey may also travel to the Denmark-based vote by the International Olympic Committee. Winfrey compared Chicago to "Gone With The Wind" and Tara earlier this year, as noted on this video.

Nice to read also that Beyonce invited Swift back on stage to re-do her acceptance speech later in the evening. Classy.

Mind your manners!

Bird's Eye View of London 2012 Olympic Venues











During the recent Edelman sabbatical trip, my flight connection in London (on Aug. 10) took us over several of the 2012 Olympic venues, including the city's emerging Olympic Park and Olympic Stadium, as well as Wembley and a couple of other stadia I am still trying to identify (it was my first time over London).

The London 2012 Olympic website offers some interesting updates on the construction, and this site has an interactive map highlighting many of the other 2012 London Olympic venues on deck.
God Save The Queen!

Photos copyright 2009 by Nicholas Wolaver.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Onion: Haiti Enters Olympic Bid

Got a chuckle from the Sept. 4 report in The Onion regarding Haiti's Olympic bid for the Games of the LXXXIth Olympiad (that's 2216).

The illustration, and photo with the story, tells the tale of Port-Au-Prince's Olympic Dreams. Believe!

I love the quote attributed to International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge, speaking to media "pushing away a goat ..." on site.

It could be great to see the realization of a Silvio Cator Olympic Stadium, named for Haiti's Olympic medal winner -- he took home the silver in long jump at the 1928 Summer Olympics at Amsterdam, according to the IOC site and other sources (interesting to note Haiti's other Olympic medal, a bronze, noted here).

On the real news front, GamesBids.com today updated the 2016 Olympic BidIndex, which shifts the lead among the four candidate cities.

Graphic via The Onion.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

IOC Commission Report

The International Olympic Committee 2016 Evaluation Commission Report is now public regarding the Olympic bids of Chicago, Madrid, Rio de Janiero and Tokyo for the 2016 Olympic Games.

About 90 pages await review, and some media reports are already popping up stating the fine print. Will post more later, but here's a link in case you want to peek yourself. Oct. 2 is only a month away ... big day on the Olympic calendar for the IOC vote.

It is my understanding the Chicago 2016 Olympic bid team will host a press conference later today. More updates to follow this evening.

Olympics In The News

Lots of Olympic headlines this week:

Today's Wall Street Journal features a good read of what the 2016 Olympic bid cities, including the Chicago 2016 Olympic bid committee, will tackle on the home stretch of the International Olympic Committee bid process.

The U.S. Olympic Committee yesterday announced a new multi-Olympiad sponsor, Proctor & Gamble, as reported by USA Today. Here's the link to the U.S.O.C. press release.

National Public Radio also got into the act recently with an update on the Olympic bid process.

More to come later regarding the I.O.C. announcements expected today.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Dawn Takes Grease Out Of Your Way

The recent headlines about Olympic swimming champion Dawn Fraser attacking an intruder at her home gave me a chuckle (Sky News and the HeraldSun website have a good report and video). She is one tough Aussie!

Her actions, and specifically her self-defence method, spark memories of Sting, The Police and their line about "A humiliating kick in the crotch."

Also reminds me of a Fraser story from Australia just nine years ago.

During the weeks before the Sydney 2000 Olympic Opening Ceremony, I was on assignment as a Sydney Games volunteer in their fabulous Olympic Village.

By day, my assignment was to stand in the "official Olympic Village library" (yes, they had one set up ... the thought being that athletes might want to unwind by curling up with a good book) and check badges/get athlete signatures to ensure each Olympian received only one "Olympic Village gift bag" per customer.

Funny how the official log page with Monica Seles' signature (she was a bronze medalist in Tennis at Sydney) disappeared after she signed for her bag.

When off duty from gift bag distribution, there was a bit of time to explore the Village, which was so expansive (new condos and duplexes turned into residential properties after the Games), they had a bus and cart system to help folks get around. If I wasn't in one of the Village rec rooms, or the athlete spa, usually I made time to trade pins or visit with athletes wherever possible.

One one day, after my shift ended, there I was, trading pins with a couple of young Australian female fencers on the Village bus system (we were at the far end of the Village in the Residential Zone, with several minutes of bus ride ahead of us), when to our mutual surprise and delight, Ms. Fraser boarded the bus!

The two Aussie fencers and the local bus driver were beside themselves. I have to admit being awestruck as well. Dawn Fraser seemed larger than life, even as an "elder stateswoman" of sport. She was very friendly, approachable, gregarious and appreciative of our impromptu gasps and "welcome" to the Village bus ride.

Fraser explained to us she was in the Village for some sort of official duties, but when those duties were complete, she went off exploring the Village on her own to see what it was really like.

On the bus, she made time to speak 1x1 with each of the two fencers, counseling them to cherish and savour their Olympic experiences. Fraser even suggested to them, "don't get in trouble like I did" (referencing her Village and other escapades at the Tokyo Olympiad in 1964).

At that time in my life, I was not eager to pursue autographs from athletes (my camera on that trip sucked, too, so no photos) -- instead, we invited Fraser into the completion of our fencing pin trade (Fraser gave me a nice Sydney pin from her pocket; I'd like to think I gave her a pin in return, but honestly cannot recall if I did as I was dumbfounded by the luck of meeting Australia's most honored Olympian!). And then we arrived at the final Village bus stop back in the International Zone, said goodnight and parted ways.

Seeing Fraser's face in the news this week brought it all back. Her birthday is on Friday, September 4 (she turns 72). Shame on that would-be burglar for trying to steal from Dawn Fraser, and bravo for her bravura response to his actions.

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