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Match Play is a golf/suspense novel. Dust of Autumn is a bloody one set in upstate New York. Prairie View is set in South Dakota, with a final scene atop Rattlesnake Butte. Life in the Arbor is a children's book about Rollie Rabbit and his friends (on about a fourth grade level). The Black Widow involves an elaborate extortion scheme. Doggy-Dog World is my memoir. And ES3 is a description of my method for examining English sentence structure.
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Tuesday, August 16

More Olympic Observations

More Olympic observations. What else is there to write about? Oh, yeah, there’s always Donald Trump, but most of my readers are probably sick of all I’ve already said about him.

I just watched an interview of Lydia Ko, fielding questions about her Olympic impressions, about the Rio course she’ll be playing on Wednesday, about her chances of winning gold. We tend to forget how young she is, only 19. But all through the interview she was charming, well-spoken, unpretentious, and funny. She just shouldn’t be all those things at only 19. I’ll be rooting for Lexi Thompson, but I’ll also root for this charming girl from New Zealand.

I and most of the world watched Usaine Bolt easily win his third 100-meter dash in a row. For the first 50 meters almost everyone was even with him, but then the lightning struck in the final 50. No one can stay with him after fifty. He looks like he’ll probably be a lock in the 200-meter for his third in a row. The obvious questions: Will he return is 2020 to try for four in a row? Well he still be a dominant force four years from now? I hope I’m still around to find out.

I love the Games, especially the summer Games. I watch the winter Games but only as a stopping off place to get to the more interesting Summers. I have many vivid memories from Games past. You might think from what I’m about to say that I’m as old as Methuselah, that I was probably around when Jim Thorpe was the greatest athlete of the century in 1912, or that I was witness to Jesse Owens’ impression on Adolph Hitler in the 1936 Berlin Games. No, I’m not quite that old. But I do remember when track and field events were measured in miles, yards, and feet instead of meters, when runners were trying to break the 4-minute barrier in the mile run, when 9.6 was the record for the 100-yard dash. I remember when high jumpers were still using scissors and Western roll techniques until Dick Fosbury came along in 1968 and showed the world his Fosbury Flop. I remember Bob Beamon’s incredible long-jump of 29 feet 2.5 inches in the Mexico City Games in 1968, and the two Black sprinters (Tommy Smith and John Carlos) who showed the world their “Human Rights” salute as they accepted gold and bronze in the 200-meters, black-gloved hands raised, heads bowed, as the National Anthem was played. I was around to see the transition from bamboo to metal to fiberglass poles in the pole vault. I was there to see the Reverend Bob Richards win in 1952. I remember when Carl Lewis was the Usaine Bolt of sprinting and long-jumping, and what a charming and handsome man he was. I cheered for Al Oerter’s four-in-a-row gold in the discus from 1956 to 1968. I winced with the pain and heartbreak of Jim Ryun’s fall in the prelims of the 1972 1500-meters. I shared the pain when Greg Louganus hit his head on the springboard in 1988. I fell in love with Olga Korbut in 1972 when she wowed the world in gymnastics. I cheered for Nadia Comaneci’s perfect 10’s in the 1976 gymnastics. I fumed at our local CBS station that just couldn’t wait to inform us of the one-legged vault by Tucson native Kerri Strug that assured the gold for the first time ever for American women. Talk about spoiler alerts and our need for one in the 1996 Games in Atlanta. I can still see her in the arms of coach Bela Karolyi.

I remember golden American decathletes, Bob Mathias in 1948 and Bruce Jenner in 1976. And now she’s Caitlyn Jenner. Just think how far we’ve come in the last fifty or sixty years. And now we’ve finally got golf back as an Olympic event. Justin Rose’s win will be filed away in my book of favorite Olympic memories.
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