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Olympic Moment ©

Will Jones’s Olympic Moment

olympicWhat was your Olympic moment?  I don’t mean the day you went for the gold, although you may have had one of those, but the day you watched an Olympic event, either in person or on TV, and it changed your life?

Mine happened as a pre-teen watching the Rome Olympics on TV in 1960.  Imperial Bodyguard Abebe Bikila, a last minute addition to the Ethiopian Olympic team, won the marathon in record time…in his bare feet.  It was the first Olympic Gold Medal ever won by a Sub-Saharan athlete.  I watched the race on my parents’ newly purchased Zenith color console.

The 1960 marathon started and ended at the Arch of Constantine, next to the Colosseum.  In a spectacular and mesmerizing display of romance and artistry, the last few miles of the race were run in the dark with only occasional spotlights to illuminate the course.  Bikila, tall and graceful in red shorts and green singlet, the Ethiopian colors, out sprinted his lone challenger to the finish line and through the Arch, the lights of the Colosseum behind him.  Bikila became my hero and I vowed to someday run a marathon and win a medal of my own.

Bikila won the marathon again at the Tokyo Olympics in 1964.  In 1969 he was paralyzed in an accident while driving the Volkswagen Bug given to him by Haile Selassie for his Olympic conquests.  The accident occurred when he swerved to avoid student protesters on the streets of Addis Ababa. He died of complications in 1973. He was only 41.

On December 18, 1983, I ran my first marathon, finishing in three hours and twenty-six minutes.  I dedicated my training and race to my pregnant wife, my soon-to-be-born son, and my inspiration, the great Olympian, Abebe Bikila.  A few months later I was fortunate to be in the Los Angeles Colosseum when Joan Benoit won the first women’s Olympic Marathon.  The temperature was in the 90’s but I remember getting the chills as she entered the stadium and circled the track to the finish line, tens of thousands of fans on their feet cheering as she passed.

What was your Olympic moment?  BOBB and I would love to know.

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MUSIC Monday: Evolving Taste in Songs

A Story by Toni Duldulao

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I grew up during the 50s when Elvis was the King of Rock & Roll.  I knew all of the words to all of his songs and still do.  Good memory?  No, in those days it wasn’t hard because the lyrics were extremely repetitive.  After all, what is so difficult in remembering: “You ain’t nothin’ but a hound dog, cryin’ all the time.” repeated at least four times in a twelve line song?  Thankfully, as I grew older my taste in music evolved too.Post Elvis, Broadway musicals were being made into feature films.  I became a devoted fan of songs from West Side Story, The Sound of Music, My Fair Lady, and The Fiddler on the Roof.  Funny but I don’t remember the lyrics to my favorite songs.  It seems that that the older I become the less reliable is my memory.

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There was a saying among my age group:  “If you remember the ‘60s you weren’t there.”  My problem is I do remember the ‘60s because I wasn’t there.  I was in the convent.  My songs in those days were religious ones in Latin.  I don’t remember those either.  Maybe it was divine providence that my taste in music gravitated toward the classics because it is usually just instrumental and without lyrics.

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When I looked through the list of singers and groups from the ‘70s, and ‘80s I recognized names but couldn’t tell you what they sang.  Actually the only singers I really remember from that time are Barbara Streisand and Neil Diamond, but don’t ask me what were my favorite songs because I don’t remember.  Although I do remember Streisand singing some song with Neil Diamond complaining that he didn’t bring her flowers anymore.

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What I can’t forget (and would like to) is later on there was a “new sound” called Punk Rock or Hard Rock and Rap.  “New sound?”  My heavens no, to me it was just awful screaming, instruments playing off key, and speakers turned up so high that the vibration moved them 5 feet with each beat of the “song.”

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Now some sixty years later I have fun listening to an occasional Elvis, Streisand, Diamond, and classical music, but for the last few years my HEART HAS GONE COUNTRY.  Not long ago a friend asked me why I would listen to that “stuff.”  I don’t know but maybe it’s very similar to the old rock and roll AND I can understand the words being sung because they sing slower and use words and terms I understand.  However, other than the latest hit “Red Solo Cup” which is a repetitive song I don’t remember the lyrics except for the chorus…if I’m lucky.  

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Toni,

 When I was 10 you introduced me to music  – you were crazy about Elvis. We sat in your room for hours watching the little black plastic circle go round and round on your new phonograph.  Now it ‘s my turn, let me introduce you to Everlast, a rapper whose music is influenced by the blues. Then there’s the Punk band, The Clash (they too have easy to remember repeating lyrics.) And, a favorite of mine, Metallica; their song ‘Bleeding Me’ is as soulful as any country tune.  Check out these bands on itunes and let me know what you think of the New Sound.

~  Shinazy, founder of BOBB

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photo by shankar, shiv

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