The Olympics was a dream since I was a kid, being chosen to be an official scoring judge was indeed a great honor.
The flight was nothing special but being met by a volunteer at the gate with my name on a placard certainly was a highlight. Using the special yellow luggage tags, my bags were well taken care of.
The accreditation center was at the defunct Eastern Airlines complex. I went through the lines, signed appropriate spaces, and was issued a wardrobe of Olympic clothes. We received HANES (an official sponsor) khaki pants, khaki socks, multi-ring polo shirt, red polo shirts for judging, long-sleeve white dress shirt, Reebok walking shoes, Panama hat, blue web belt with Olympic engraved buckle, and a beautiful teal blazer that hangs on me like Hakeem's outfits. WOW! Nice stuff!
The rooms at Emory University were typical dormitory, big enough for one but meant for two. Each room had a TV as required by the Olympic Committee to view events. The International Judges had the luxury of one to a room.
The Dobbs Center opened early for breakfast. Each day was the same: cereal, grits, scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon, French toast, pancakes, bananas, pineapples, strawberries, cantaloupe, honey dew, kiwis, apples, oranges, toast, donuts, cakes, bagels, fountain drinks and of course, orange juice. My daily choices were items; 1, 3, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 15, 16, 19, and 20. This was my most important meal of the day as thenext one was a box lunch - no comment!
Dinner was a rarity for me as I was on the move as much as possible. We had a sit down dinner the first night to meet everyone we didn't know but after that, I ate on the run and sometimes just didn't eat at all. Thank heavens I squirreled away apples, bananas, chocolate chip Granola Bars and bags of peanuts. There was always breakfast to look forward to!
Transportation was by vans and our excellent, drivers (Wendy Erlandson and Marty Swanson) drove us to the venue every day but we could not enter intact. We walked down the hill as the vans were "sanitized" by security, inside and out. The sanitizing station was a mile away and manned by National Guardsman, courtesy of their two-week summer camp! A security strip was placed across all door seals; signed, dated, and the van had three minutes to reach the archery gate or they had to do it all over again. Every day we had our bags thoroughly searched. This was inconvenient, but a necessity. As I recall, we were never searched nor scanned, Hmmm!
The archery and cycling venue was on the North side of Stone Mountain about 30 miles east of Atlanta. The site was previously a dump but converted into a magnificent area. The original $3.5 million price tag had ballooned to over $12 million. The plans are to fully restore it to its original state when the games are over. Does that mean another dump again?
The place looked like a tent city, all A/C of course. The athletes had a tent, the judges had a tent, dozens of trailers. It looked like a refuge city or a circus coming to town.
Back in April at the test tournament, there was a single chain-link fence that encircled the venue site. For the Olympics, a second, taller fence had been installed ten feet behind the first one. There was a clear path in between for the National Guardsmen to patrol. Kind of a secure feeling but never thought it would be needed in America.
The competition field was magnificent! Along with National Judges; Jane Johnson, Jake Veit, Bob Smith, Leigh Green, Nancy Myrick, Marty Swanson, and Tom Green (the latter two are now International Judges), we were the "Official" score keepers. From our vantage point, we were really "up close and personal."
There were eight targets in four pairs of two. The pits had Scoring Judges (SJ), a Target Judges (TJ), an Archers Agents (AA) and Arrow Runners (AR).
After an archer shoots an arrow, the SJ verifies the value of the arrow, announces it loud enough for the AA to hear, enters it into the scoring box, and writes it on a score sheet. Approaching the target after every three arrows (an END), the TJ calls out the value of each arrow and the AA looks at the score card to verify. The scores are sent to the central computer and displayed on the giant scoreboard, 40' tall and 50' wide. Huge and noisy, it sounded like a mini hydro-electric power-plant. At the end of each match, the field crew replaces ALL target faces.
When the days events were completed, and if IBM was working, we would get score updates in minutes and sometimes even hours. Many times I penciled in the results and those on the other end of my E-mail list had results before the wire services.
Spectators were situated in stands in the shape of a giant horse-shoe with seating for over 5,000. It was exciting to see that many people watching ARCHERY! The huge tower on the field held a giant 30' TV screen to be used during the medal finals.
Cameras showed archers shooting and cameras in front of the targets showed results. The big screen showed all angles which made it very exciting! There was a camera directly behind the archers and one at the top of the stadium. Wow!
There were mini-cameras in the very center of the two targets used in the medal rounds. A mere 3 / 4" in diameter and spring-loaded to absorb the shock of a direct hit. A dozen or so $200 lens guards were hit and had to be replaced. These were needed to protect against total destruction.
Princess Anne was on hand to greet and encourage all British athletes at the Olympics and that included archery. I was near the British team when they received their "Good Lucks". I chatted with Princess Anne's personal security about meeting her but received an "inappropriate" look. Prince Phillip noticed my curiosity and urged her in my direction. I removed my hat and gently shook her hand.
During the medal ceremonies, the King of Sweden was on hand to congratulate countryman Magnus Pettersson for winning the Silver medal. The King appeared young and hip, casually wearing a baseball cap. I had my turn with royalty so I stayed back and just snapped a photo. I never even got a glimpse of Queen Elizabeth when she was here at NASA nor Fergie before that.
The weather was a big concern. Atlanta can be brutal in July/August, just like Texas. The archery Gods smiled down on us, a lot! We had cloud cover almost the entire time, some sprinkling and only one major shower one morning. The temperature was usually between high 70's and high 80's. 25 to 32 for the foreign folk. It was a hot but tolerable high 90's for the last day. All-in-all, good weather!
To visit other venues, all athletes and judges were given passes to travel on the MARTA system. People who bought tickets to events showed that days ticket to travel for free. If was easy to move around Atlanta on this bus & train system.
From the MARTA station, the main street leading to the Olympic Stadium was closed to vehicular traffic. It was like a giant flea-market with vendors on both sides of the avenue hawking goods.
History was being made that evening as Donovan Bailey broke the World Record in the 100 meter dash. Gail Devers won her 100 meter dash as the women's javelin finals concluded. Another high light of the evening was an American jumping over 59 feet for a New Olympic Record in the triple jump.
Being in that stadium with 80,000 people was really exciting! The camera-in-the-sky was suspended by four cables that could be reeled in/out to be in any position to take some great photos. On another night, I would see Dan O'Brien in the decathlon, plus Michael Johnson in 400 meter prelims.
The baseball venue in Fulton County Stadium is right beside the Olympic stadium. I arrived in time to watch the USA hit 4 HR's in two innings, one homer measured 481 feet.
While the women were shooting the ranking round on the ranking field in the morning, the men got to practice on the competition field in the main stadium. This was the only opportunity to practice on the competition field. In the afternoon, the situation was reversed. The individual scores would be used for ranking in the elimination round. The three individual scores of each team would be totaled to seed those teams for the team round on Friday.
Some of the highlights of the ranking round was Michele Frangilli's 684 for a New Olympic Record (NOR). His Olympic record was one shy of the World Record (WR) by Young-Sung Shim from Korea in Oct of 1995.
The team rounds consist of countries who had three archers. Korea led the way with 2031 points for a New Olympic Record (NOR) and World Record (WR). Their splits were: Yong-Ho Jang 682(2), Kyo-Moon Oh 681(3), and Bo-Ram Kim 668(11). Very impressive!
Italy was second with 2000 points and splits of: Michele Frangilli 684(1) NOR, Matteo Bisiani 669(10), and Andrea Parenti 647(39).
USA also had 2000 points and I am not sure what the tie-break criteria was other than Michele Frangilli had the highest single score. The splits were: Justin Huish 670(9), Rod White 666(12), and Butch Johnson 664(15).
Rounding out the top four was Australia with 1994 and splits of: Jackson Fear 671(8), Matthew Gray 663(18), and Simon Fairweather 660(20).
After the ranking round, the order of finish was Korea, Italy, USA, and Australia. These same four teams would advance to the final four but would not finish in the same order, except Australia. More on that later.
Lina Herasymenko of the Ukraine shot a 673 for a NOR which tied the existing WR but does not count as a tie because they have to be shot on the same date, not necessarily the same place.
The team rounds consist of countries who had three archers. Korea led the way with 1984 points for a NOR and a WR. Their splits were: Jo-Sun Kim 663(4), Kyung-Wook Kim 661(8), and Hye-Young Youn 660(9). Very impressive!
Turkey was second with 1963 points and splits of: Natalia Nasaridze 667(3), Elif Altinkaynak 663(6), and Elif Eksi 633(38).
China was in third place with 1953 points and splits of: Ying He 669(2), Jianping Yang 648(16), and Xiaozhu Wang 636(32).
Only Korea and Turkey would make it to the final four. The Ukraine was topped by Poland and China was ousted by Germany. More info later.
Before each session on the Competition Field, the Judges marched into the stadium to the tune of the Olympic Theme, climaxed by the theme to Ben Hur. We went through this twice a day and it was so inspiring, I could have done it more.
The Director of Shooting (DOS) Diane Tone, took over and the tournament was under way. The line judges were all International Judges and are the best: Shinji Egashira (Japan), Sergio Font Millian (Cuba), Sergije Markic (Croatia), and Sung-Ho Um (Korea). Wendy Erlandson was promoted to Assistant DOS after Skip Phillips DOS position was filled by Diane. Skip spent most of his Olympics in a private room at the Emory University Hospital with a viral infection. Not all DOS bugs are computer related!
The Target Judges are all International Judges who were excellent people to work with: Guo Bei (China), Macide Erdener (Turkey), Ronaldo G. de Carvalho (Brazil), Konrad van Warmelo (South Africa), Malgorzata Karwack (Poland), Elsie Yee Mei (Hong Kong), Paul Paulson (Norway), and Gian Piero Spada (Italy). The latter being my trusty partner as we were privileged to do both the men's and the women's medals rounds.
The man who directed and kept the judges in line was Klaus Lindau of Germany. He was the Chairman of Judges and did an outstanding job. The perfection of the scoring system from the pits was the work of Don Lovo (Chairman of FITA judges) and his committee.
George Tekmitchov was the announcer and they do not get any better than he. George knows archery, he has a great voice and he is a quick thinker. As a scoring judge, I did not have the luxury of knowing what is happening on anyone else's target. However, with the excellent running dialogue that Tekmitchov provides during a match, I was able to keep up with the other matches and felt the excitement building up! If you think pronouncing foreign names is easy, think again, George enunciated well!
Sheri Rhodes (Venue Coordinator) and her staff worked exceptionally hard, handling all types of emergencies. I can't begin to name all the volunteers who had a part in this extravaganza. FITA President and IOC member Jim Easton's sedulous efforts should keep archery and the team round in future Olympics.
Monday a.m. - 1/32 finals. Afternoon - 1/16 finals.
Tuesday a.m.- 1/32 finals. Afternoon - 1/16 finals.
Wednesday morning - 1/8 finals and quarter finals. Afternoon - semis, Bronze, and Gold.
Thursday morning - 1/8 finals and quarter finals. Afternoon - semis, Bronze, and Gold.
Nothing is for certain in this round. The number one ranked shooter, Lina Herasymenko of the Ukraine lasted one round. She was beat in the 1/16 finals by Xiaozhu Wang of China 156-152. Wang would make it to the quarters and was ousted by the eventual champion, Kim.
Number four seed, Jo-Sun Kim, escaped 158-157 in the second round over Marisol Breton of Mexico. Kim got ousted in the quarters by the eventual Bronze medalist, 108-105.
The shocker was number three seed, Natalia Nasaridze of Turkey. Her score of 168 set a NOR for the 1/32 finals but got beat in the next round on a tie-breaker, 9 to 8, after a low score of 153 each. Her victor, Olga Yakushera of Belarus, made it to the quarters where she was beat 109-107 by Olena Sadovnycha of the Ukraine.
The reigning World Champion and number seven seed, Natalia Valeeva of Moldavia got beat in the 1/8 finals by Barbara Mensing of Germany 163-158. Mensing got ousted in the quarters also.
Kyung-Wook Kim of Korea set a NOR by beating Olena Sadovynycha of the Ukraine 111-109 and advancing to the Gold medal round. Ying He of China squeaked out a 101-100 victory over Elif Altinkaynak of Turkey.
Olena Sadovnycha of the Ukraine won the Bronze over Elif Altinkaynak, 109-102. These were very exciting matches.
Kyung-Wook Kim of Korea won the Gold medal by beating Ying He of China, 113-107.
Each archer has 40 seconds to shoot an arrow and everyone is watching and cheering. The announcer gives up-to-date scores so everyone knows what is needed to win.
The Koreans had a large contingent of at least 50 spectators that kept things very lively. They all had national flags and a constant cadence on one of several gong drums.
72 arrow ranking round - 673 Herasymenko UKR
18 arrow match - 168 Nasaridze TURKEY
1/16 1/8 Combined- 331 Hye-Young Youn KOR
36 arrow finals - 330 Kyung-Wook Kim KOR
Number one ranked Michele Frangilli of Italy shot great, including a NOR in the 1/8 finals of 170. In the quarter finals, he lost to Justin Huish, 112-112, on a tie-breaker 10-9. Another thriller!
Number eight seed, Jackson Fear of Australia went out in the 1st round to Sheng-Feng Hsieh of Taipei 164-162. Hsieh was seeded 57. Hsieh lost in the 1/8 finals to Justin Huish, 169-162.
Number five, Jari Lipponen of Finland made it thru one round and was ousted by Samo Medved of Slovenia in the 1/16 finals 9-8 after 161 each.
For the first time in Olympic Round history, a fourth arrow was shot in a tie-breaker. After each had tied scores in their first two arrows (9+s and 10+s), their third arrows were both 10+s and were measured identical. What an exciting match!
Number four, Vadim Chikarev of Kazistan also made it thru one round, getting beat by Jose Anchondo of Mexico in the 1/16 finals, 156-154. Anchondo took a heartbreaking loss in the next round to Lionel Torres of France, 159-158.
Number six, Baljinima of Russia made it thru one round and lost to Tomi Poikolainen of Finland in the 1/16 finals, 164-163. Poikolainen was the 1980 Olympic Champion and was beat in the very next round to Bo-Ram Kim of Korea.
Defending 1992 Olympic Champion Sebastain Flute of France was seeded #46 and lost in the opening round to Martinus Grov of Norway, 161-158. Grov was the current number one ranked archer in the world. Martinus lost in the 1/8 finals to Kyo-Moon Oh of Korea, 167-159.
Justin Huish beat Michele Frangilli of Italy 10-9 in a tie-breaker after posting 112 each.
Paul Vermeiren of Belgium beat Lionel Torres of France 111-106.
Kyo-Moon Oh of Korea beat his countryman Bo-Ram Kim 114-113. The two best scores of the quarter finals!
Magnus Petersson of Sweden defeated Yong-Ho Jang of Korea, 111-108.
After a squeaker in the previous round, Justin Huish prevailed over Vermeiren 112-103.
Magnus Peterson beat Kyo-Moon Oh, 112-109.
Kyo-Moon Oh shot a great score 115, over Vermeiren's 110 for the Bronze medal.
Justin Huish certainly was consistent, posting his third consecutive 112 over Magnus Petersson's 107 and winning the Gold medal. There were some great scores and lots of thrills for everyone! The USA TODAY carried special weekend editions and the Saturday edition had Justin Huish (with Butch Johnson in the background) on the front page, not the cover of the sports page but the Front Page cover! Pretty exciting stuff!
The whole Huish contingent ventured to Atlanta with T-shirts that identified who each was: "I am Justin's Mom", "I am Justin's Grandma", etc. Justin's Mom is as "COOL" as Justin but his Grandma was the liveliest person in the stands.
I was the scoring judge on Huish's target. Also in the pits at that time were the AOB (Atlanta Olympic Broadcasting) people who were using the different cameras. They knew very little about archery before this week and freely admitted that they got real excited about archery. They said they had no idea archery could be so much fun!
36 Arrow Final Combine-338 Kyo-Moon Oh KOR (Olympic and World Record)
72 Arrow Ranking Round - 684 Frangilli ITALY
18 Arrow Match - 170 Frangilli ITALY
12 Arrow Match - 115 Kyo-Moon Oh KOREA
1/16 1/8 Combined - 336 Kyo-Moon Oh KOR
36 Arrow Finals Combined - 338 Kyo-Moon Oh
Timing is everything! Kyo-Moon had scores of 114, 109, and 115 for his 338. Unfortunately, the 109 was a loss in the semi-finals. Justin Huish totaled 336 with a steady 112 each, all victories!
We all had to work the morning shift as all the targets were being used for the 1/8 finals. There were 15 teams for each gender.
The teams qualified in two ways: (1) If a country qualified three individual archers, or (2) If a team placed high at the World Championship in 1995.
In the morning, the women shot their 1/8 and quarter finals, then the men shot their 1/8 and quarter finals.
In the afternoon, the women shot their semis and medal rounds followed by the men's semi finals and medal rounds.
#1 Korean had a bye.
#9 Sweden beat #8 Chinese Taipei 239 - 227
#12 Poland upset #5 Russia 233 - 229
#4 Ukraine beat ##13 Indonesia 246 - 208
#3 Mainland China beat #14 Japan 222-217
#11 Germany upset #6 Italy 245 - 236
#7 Kazakstan beat #10 U.S.A. 235-226
#2 Turkey overpowered S. Africa 240-228
The #1 Koreans were heavily favored and their machine just rolled right along.
#1 Korea subdued #9 Sweden 249 - 226 NOR
#12 Poland surprised #4 Ukraine 242 - 235
#11 Germany edged #3 China 232 - 231
#2 Turkey beat #7 Kazakstan 247 - 226
#1 Korea def #12 Poland 245 - 237
#11 Germany def #2 Turkey 239 - 237
The Germans surprised everyone and was doing excellent!
#12 Poland in a shocker over #2 Turkey 244-239 for the Bronze medal.
#1 Korea clinches the Gold medal over a very good #11 German team 245 -235
216 Arrow Ranking Round 1984 Korea (Olympic and World Record)
54 Arrow Finals Combined 490 Korea (Olympic and World Record)
27 Arrow Match 249 Korea
The #1 Koreans had a bye.
#8 Slovenia beat #9 Russia 242 - 241
#5 Sweden beat #12 Kazakstan 247 - 239
#4 Australia beat #13 Mainland China 243 - 240
#3 U.S.A. beat #14 India 251 - 235
#6 Ukraine beat #11 Canada 238 - 225
#7 Finland beat #10 France 245 - 244
#2 Italy beat #15 Chinese Taipei 244 -243
Three matches decided by one point!
#1 Korea def #8 Slovenia 251 - 249
#4 Australia def #5 Sweden 253 - 241 NOR
#3 U.S.A. def #6 Ukraine 251 - 240
#2 Italy def #7 Finland 252 - 236
Men - (Semi Finals)
#1 Korea defeats #4 Australia 250 - 234
#3 U.S.A. defeats #2 Italy 251 - 247
#2 Italy defeats #4 Australia 248 - 244 in a very good match!
And for all the marbles! The United States beats a very good Korean team 251 - 249. If you haven't heard, there were two questionable arrows when the shooting stopped. The score was actually 250 - 250 and the U.S.A. had a close arrow. That arrow was called the higher value and upon closer examination of one of the Koreans close arrows, it was changed to the lesser value. A few millimeters either way could have determined the match.
Looking at the team scores; Korea had 251, 250, and 249. The U.S.A which had to shoot an extra match shot; 251, 251, 251, and 251. Consistent!
216 Arrow Ranking Round 2031 Korea (Olympic and World Record)
27 Arrow Match 253 Australia
After we had our "official" photo session in front of the big scoreboard, there were some closing words in the Judges tent. The judges presented Klaus Lindau with a beautiful gift for his work as Chairman of Judges. He received a mounted collection of all the event pins.
He was so appreciative, he was moved to tears. He really did an excellent job, that was hard work keeping all of the judges coordinated at all times.
This event was proclaimed the best organized Archery event on an international scale. I was honored to be part of it all but the thanks go far reaching to so many others.
Paul Paulsen from Norway stood up and on behalf of the rest of the International Judges, proclaimed that " IT " couldn't have been done without the fine work of the National Judges who were the scoring judges. They all stood up and gave us a round of applause. Wow! That was very gratifying!
Archery and cycling shared the same venue sight so after wolfing down a "delicious" box lunch, I spent the rest of my dinner break watching the track cyclists. I was able to access the infield and was within reach of the best cyclists in the world. I took photos from the official photographers platform at the end of the steep-banked track. Pretty exciting stuff! The top American sprinter lost the gold by the thickness of a wheel. Whew!
Malgorzata Karwack, Macide Erdener, Sergije Markic and I went to the Georgia Dome where the Dream Team was playing Croatia. We entered via the VIP entrance and watched from high, above the arena. I worked my way down near the floor to snap some shots of the NBA's best players.
The Georgia Dome was big enough to house both basketball and gymnastics. After basketball, we could have slid through the VIP lounge and watched gymnastics.
Next door is the Omni where volleyball was contested. We enjoyed a nice buffet in the VIP lounge: B-B-Q sandwiches, cole slaw, potatoes, beans, all kinds of pies and drinks. We were in heaven! We dined while watching other events on five closed-circuit TVs. We got treated better at other venues (food) than we did at our own.
One evening, the Judges were honored guests of the Turkish Sports Federation. The meal was delicious with a choice of Salmon or Filet Mignon. Soaking up the atmosphere, I realized how fortunate I was to be with so many intelligent and interesting people. Every judge knew at least one other language and some knew more. I learned just enough Turkish from Macide Erdener to say "Thank You Very Much" at the end of the evening. I hope I never forget my experiences in Atlanta.
Macide Erdener from Turkey and I went to Centennial Park to mingle and shop. We went to the Georgia World Congress Center and just missed the last of the wrestling matches but watched some outstanding Table Tennis. You do not use the word "Ping Pong" among the elite.
Back to the Olympic Stadium for more Track and Field. The tower and torch at night was beautiful! We sat just below the dignitary seats where Clinton, Gore, IOC President and other important dignitaries visited. Our credentials allowed us in the "lower" area but I was ceremoniously escorted out of the "Presidential VIP" area even though it was vacant at the time.
I got close enough for a photo of Dan O'Brien rounding the curve at the end of his decathlon 400 meters. The price of the events can be high, so everyone keeps their stub for a souvenir - I finally found one. The evening session of Track & Field was $64.
The Medal matches were in the afternoon so I had one morning off to launder and shop. The bus stopped at the Lindburg station for a 10 minute break. While in a store, I remembered my red, compact, emergency umbrella that I left on the bus. Upon re-entering the bus, my attempts to locate the umbrella went for naught. Oh well!
One stop before I was to get off, a man carrying a brown umbrella in one hand and a folded newspaper in the other was disembarking. As he passed in front of me, I saw a red plastic cap way down in the folds of his newspaper. I suddenly perked up and said, "HEY! That's my umbrella!" As I reached in and pulled it out, I politely and firmly said, "Thank you very much!" He walked on and said weakly, "You're welcome!" The rest of the passengers looked at me like I was nuts!
The Turkish Federation gave us complimentary tickets to diving. The Georgia Institute of Technology was the venue for diving and boxing so we tried to knock off two more birds with one stone but was unsuccessful.
What a fantastic way to end this adventure! The people, the atmosphere, the events; it's a shame it had to come to an end. So, if you ask me what I thought of the whole thing - two thumbs up, a gold star and a perfect ten! This Olympic experience certainly rates up at the top of my exciting archery moments and I hope to do it again.
After a myriad of photos, shaking hands, and saying farewells, it was time to leave archery for this Olympiad. It was also time to find more souvenirs and hopefully a sit down dinner. We found a Longhorn Steak House where the ribs were scrumptious!
We were to allow extra time for departure because of tight security at the airport. A friend volunteered to drop me off which allowed another visit to Centennial Park.
The Atlanta Constitution put out a report card on the Olympics and gave an "F" for ambiance. You couldn't prove that to us as my friend left his wallet at a T-shirt vendor early Saturday morning. After dropping me off at the airport, he returned to that vendor almost four hours later and the man returned his wallet with a pleasant, southern smile!
"Wot do yer say mate - see you down under in four years!"
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