All of us: Why the Olympics matter

By Gary Kamiya

By Salon Staff

Published October 5, 2000 7:26PM (EDT)

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My first Olympic experience affirms the spirit of your article. It was Los Angeles 1984; my husband and I were attending a team handball event. We knew nothing of the sport but found the ticket price of $5 attractive. The match was between Iceland and Algeria. Now, as I am sure you know, Algeria was a team handball powerhouse and the overwhelming favorite. The spectators were just settling in for the match, when a small group of Icelandic students started chanting "Iceland! Iceland!" The chant was then picked up by two very drunken twentysomethings. By the start of the final period Iceland was within three goals. The drunks started leading the crowd in cheers "Give me and I! Give me a C! ..." and within three minutes every person in the stands was yelling and cheering for Iceland. With only seconds to go Iceland pulled ahead and time ran out.

The Icelandic team went nuts! Every man, woman and child in the stands went wild, screaming and cheering and hugging each other. The poor Algerian team hung their heads walked slowly from the court. And then it happened -- the Icelandic team turned to the stands and applauded the fans. That was the day I lost my voice and found the Olympic spirit.

-- Kim Jordan Tabor

Your Olympics coverage has been wonderful. Gary Kamiya should win awards for his articles. The balance he strikes between the humanity of the moments he witnesses and the wonder of the athletics, and his pure perspective of the witness in the bleachers make me feel like I have been a witness myself to this Olympics. Each day his columns have me crying and smiling simultaneously.

At a time when it is becoming difficult to find intelligent, sincere coverage of the Olympics, Kamiya's coverage has been a great gift to anyone who has had the chance to read it.

-- Kevin Erdmann

Salon Staff

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