Dr. Pinkus Remembers the Centennial Olympics 23 Years Ago
TWENTY-THREE years ago in Atlanta, I had the pleasure to be a doctor for the US Men's Olympic Wrestling Team. The experience was surreal to say the least. I had been with the Olympic Team for 6 months prior to the games, which, in July-Aug in Atlanta, was one of the hottest cities ever.
Week one was kind of a "World's-Fair-like" environment. Atlanta was friendly, everyone felt safe and the games went off without a hitch. I flew home the first Friday night to be with my family, then I was to return on Monday. On Saturday morning I had a radio interview scheduled with a Detroit sports station at 6am. Having gotten back late the previous night, I pulled myself out of bed to get ready for the interview (it was on the phone). I was perturbed that I didn't receive a call at 6am. The phone finally rang at 6:20am. The producer was apologetic but said my interview was preempted by coverage of the bomb blast in Atlanta, at Centennial Park.
"Bomb blast? What happened?" I had no clue. I turned on the TV and every network was on the scene.
I was walking through Centennial Park less than 12 hours ago!
Matt Ghaffari, Olympic hero who was competing in his umpteenth Olympic Games got on the phone with me. He said the athletes do not feel safe and were talking about leaving. "Matt, no this can't happen. You have to lead the way and discourage this," I told him. One hour later Matt was on CNN and said that the Games would go on! Matt went on to win the Silver Medal for the US Team.
I did return to Atlanta a few days later. There were soldiers at the airport with automatic weapons, bomb-sniffing dogs everywhere, men in black talking into their lapels, sharp-shooters on top of buildings. It went from a carnival type environment to a sort of a police state feel.
The bomber was caught several years later. He was a recluse, if I remember right, living in the woods.
This is one of many stories that were amazing.
Oh yes, Pressure Point Therapy was applied by me and we took home a boat-load of medals!