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|The site below was placed online in July & August, 1996, and has largely been left in its original form|
The World arrives....
Going to Opening Ceremonies was something I never even considered. Nevermind the expense ($636), the fact that only 25,000 of the 85,000 seats were being released to the public made it highly unlikely that I would get a ticket. So I didn't even try.
Then, at the last minute, I got a call from a fellow photographer, and to make a long story short, his extra ticket became my dream come true (Thank You, Charlie McCullers!). I had five days of floating about six inches off the ground. Made it hard to work.
The "pedestrian corridor" from the Georgia State MARTA station to the Olympic Stadium is worthy of a photo essay all by itself. This street, formerly Capitol Avenue, is now Hawker's Gauntlet. To get to the Big Show, you first had to prove your Olympic worthiness by enduring the One Mile Impulse Resistance Competition. If you're a compulsive shopper, you never would have made it to the show. A few of us were able to go the whole distance without spending a dime, just stopping for free water. Many fell to the wayside.
The next hurdle we faced was the scalpers, who seem a very confused lot. I passed one guy saying "I got two for sale." After stopping for water, I saw this same guy saying "I need two tickets."
Did he drop them? Was he suffering the delusions of heat exhaustion? I didn't stop to ask, as the next obstacle appeared....protesters and street preachers. While Atlanta's Finest did not attempt to silence this man (who seemed to be upset about folks worshiping false Greek Gods), they did kinda sneakily circle the guy, just in case he started trying to *lay hands* upon folks, or handle snakes, or something equally Southern.
The final obstacle was non-negotiable....the security check. You can imagine how security reacts when they see some long haired goateed guy with a slew of camera gear and a gazillion rolls of film. I had to do everything but bend over and cough. After that 40 minute ordeal, I discovered that my seat was in the section next to the VIP's, President Clinton, my good buddy Juan Antonio, and the like, which meant another security check, this time by the Secret Service. They did make me bend over and cough.
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All text & images at this web site are ©1996-2001 Reid Stott, and may not be reproduced in any way without permission.