Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Judo Master

All in all, a pretty good day. I shook hands with an Olympic medal winner. Not just any medal winner, but Bob Berland, silver medalist in judo in the '84 Los Angeles Games -- the first American to win a medal in that sport. He could have thrown me on the floor in a blink of an eye but, of course, he didn't. We exchanged a few civilized pleasantries, and I'm certain he's already forgotten the moment.

These days, he's the president of a printing company in Chicago, but he was also important in the effort to get the US IOC's blessing for the city's bid for the 2016 Games. I was covering a panel discussion about the prospect of Chicago winning the Games, and he was one of the panelists. Besides being a former judo champ, he was also an articulate spokesman for the cause of holding the Olympics here.

I'm for it myself. I've already written a couple of short articles on the subject, so I know enough about it to have some half-baked opinions. Namely that mere economic impact isn't enough to justify the trouble of holding an Olympics, though that is a consideration. Emotional reasons have to factor in. The city should hold the Games because it's one of humanity's great events, and Chicago is one of the great cities of the Earth.


Post a Comment

<< Home