Friday, July 27, 2012

Counting: 18, 19, 20, 21, XXVII, XXX

When I was born on July 31, 1936 in Budapest, my grandfather was informed of this event by telegram in Berlin. He was attending the Games of the XI Olympiad there. As the opening ceremonies began there on August 1, I was finishing my first day of life. Today the Games of the XXX Olympiad open in London. Therefore I’ve lived through 20 different Olympics. But the games were cancelled in 1940 (to be held in Tokyo) and in 1944 (to be held in London); therefore I’ve lived through 18 actual and two virtual Olympics. The 1916 Olympics (to be held in Berlin) were also cancelled, that one because of what we later learned to call World War I. The modern games began in 1896 (Athens). As the listing just recited shows, we have actually held XXVII games, but we count XXX. Brigitte, who beat me into breathing in 1932 (the X Olympiad held in Los Angeles), has seen 21 games pass but only 19 were actually held in her life. Together we do cover the landscape pretty well. Oh. Lest I forget. In 1936 Hungary came in third in total gold medals: Germany, United States, and tiny Hungary.

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