The Triumph of the Human Spirit

Last night, I watched the closing ceremonies of the 2018 Winter Olympics with tears in my eyes, reminiscing about the three years I served as BellSouth Telecommunications’ manager-Olympic Programs for the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta.

1996 Atlanta Olympic Games

We can poke fun at ourselves about the hair-frizzing humidity, hip-bruising holsters containing the latest technology (pager, walkie talkie and cell phone) and the high-tech staff security (photo cards on lanyards). Then, we have to stop laughing as we remember that a bomb exploded in our Olympic Park, killing one person and injuring more than a hundred others.

I spent countless hours providing the FBI with information on all 2,500 volunteers I supervised. It was a very scary time.

Pyeong Chang, South Korea did a phenomenal job with their Olympic games. They handled the crisis with North Korea and the Russian doping scandal with grace and dignity. They showcased the latest cutting edge technology—5G live streaming, drones, and speed skating smart suits. Most important, they provided the environment for records to be broken, athletes to support one another and fans around the world to enjoy the excitement. Kudos to all involved in planning and execution.

One day, I’ll attend the games again. Watching or volunteering. It doesn’t matter.