On a Special Cap

I was still on summer break after my first year in college and working at a power plant during the 1972 Olympics. My sophomore year would not start until well into September, but an event of 40 years ago is etched into my memory with pride.

Many recall the Summer Olympics in Munich regarding an act of terror on Israeli athletics, but for me, it also was a golf cap worn by an upper classman who shared chemistry lecture time with me. I can’t recall ever speaking to him, but he is on the cover of our recent alumni magazine – and the accompanying article shows the cap.

Some readers around my age may remember this Olympic 800-meter race involving two sprints around the track; meanwhile others may appreciate the thrill. As a result, during a halftime show at home and away, we formed the Olympic torch and played the Olympic theme in his honor. This less-than-two-minute race is simply a wonderful memory. Does anyone remember this?

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56 thoughts on “On a Special Cap

  1. yes I am horrified to say I am old enough to recall it all. I actually recall also Jim McKay announcing LIVE with tears in his eyes that all were dead. I also recall the black athlete controversy I raising fists in the air on the stand in the awards ceremony. Funny how things never leave your mind. But I recall the best things too gymnist Nadia Commaneci (spelling) perfect routines and just being awesome and Olga Korbet in here hay day.

    • Kellie,
      Olga was the gymnast star in Munich, yet Nadia stole the show four years later in Montreal. So true about the Jim McKay moment. That was tough. Thanks for visiting and this reminder.

  2. Personally, I don’t watch the Olympics. I have better things to do with my summer hours, especially here in Alaska when summer is already far shorter than the summers in the Lower 48, and one must enjoy the warm temperatures as much as possible before the vanish under a blanket of snow for the next seven to eight months. – RJK

      • oops. olga. right. dorothy was ’76 too. the basketball game was russia v. usa. i know i could look it up, but it was something like a last minute basket by the u.s., and the refs said there was a mistake and put a few seconds back on the clock for the russians. they managed to throw the ball down court and score a winning basket, with much protest from usa and no explanation from the refs. but there was something more than just those few extra seconds. the u.s. got the silver medal, but they did not accept them and did not show up for the ceremony.

    • Cuttlefish,
      The terror around the Munich Olympics was horrible. Meanwhile, I’m not sure anyone else has worn a cap in the Olympics since. Just one of those oddities that comes along. Thanks for commenting.

  3. I remember the Munich Olympics, mostly for the wrong reasons. Thank you Frank for bringing to memory this wonderful race. How awesome is this guy to be so far behind and then snatch the win by a millimetre. I was on the edge of my seat. It looked like an impossibility but yet he made it look like he was totally in control and all was going to plan. Awesome! And in answer to your question on my blog, I’m afraid Archie gets his naughtiness from his father and his cheekiness from me – a volatile combination xx

    • Spiced,
      Regarding Archie – that is so funny! Regarding Munich, one side of me is thinking that the terror is the reason for remember the Munich Olympics because he don’t want that to happen again — but I know what you mean. Meanwhile, the race was unbelievable, and a sense of pride for those of us at the medium-size school in northwest Ohio. … which started some interesting trend in our school’s tie to the Olympics – two members of the US Miracle on Ice hockey team (1980), and notable figure skater Scott Hamilton (1984). Thanks for commenting.

  4. Great story, Frank. 72 Olympics came shortly after my arrival into the world, so I have no memory of it.
    Most of the reading I’ve done on the subject are about the slaughter and the fist pump. This is a nice story, a reminder that even in the midst of horror, some people can achieve wonderful inspiring things.

    And that cap is all over the article and pictures!

    • Guapo,
      Given that was 40 years ago, I knew everyone wouldn’t have lived it. Needless to say, I have watched the replay more than once in the years of YouTube. Glad you looked at the article. The part I liked is that he is always willing to discuss it with people who recognize him. Nice touch. Thanks for commenting.

  5. Wow – love the Dave story and the hat as his superstition. Mostly, I love the fact he’s remained humble and a kind and decent person.

    The 1972 Olympics I barely remember, but I remember my folks cowering at the TV, shocked. It’s those moments when being a newscaster and a human combine-news no one wants to report. I got chills. It was horrifying.

    • Airports,
      Bingo … well said about humble, kind, and decent. Although remembering the race was a great thrill, that is what really hit me in the article. BTW – in the reply to Kellie I included a video of that horrifying event. Thanks for coming over to see this post … Aye Ziggy Zoomba!

      • I saw that, too. It’s just so terrible. Great post – we shouldn’t forget. I believe there was even a movie about it, but it didn’t do well at the theatres.

        On a lighter note: Aye Ziggy Zoomba, fellow Ohioan!

  6. I am usually not at all interested in simply “sports,” but I love the Olympics! I usually have my favorites, but when someone competes and does the impossible, I get very emotional. I do remember this race. I can’t actually recall watching it live…it may have been in recaps later! There are so many tragic memories associated with the ’72 Olympics, but it’s nice to think of this one! Debra

    • Debra,
      Given my vested interest in this race, I remember watching it live … then proudly talking about the next day with my co-workers. As a person who works on a campus, you may enjoy the article I linked here. It’s relatively short. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  7. I don’t recall the sports side of things, being uninterested in that stuff. But I do remember the breaking ABC news, and the much-subdued presentation by the Chicago ABC affiliate, WLS-TV, and their usually-jovial presenters Fahey Flynn and Joel Daly. One of the first “big-time” world news events I still recall with my rather bunged-up mental hard drive.

  8. I was 17 and remember these Olympic games~ Quite a stir and an amazing run! There ARE events that even create your life in some way. LOVE your blog! Blessings friend ~ Deb

  9. How strange, for me, that you still remember that golf cap… For me, the memory of the terror attack is traumatic till this day… and everything else surrounding that event, has faded away completely… perhaps because I never had much interest or knowledge of sports…

    • ShimonZ,
      It’s very easy for me to understand how the memory of the tragic events of these games is what remains etched in your mind. Such senseless horror! Thanks for sharing.

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