by | Nov 21, 2008 | Detroit Free Press | 0 comments

BARCELONA, Spain — They were fun, they were exciting, they were hot as hell. The 1992 Olympics have officially closed, and we can now look forward to the traditional lighting of the torch in Atlanta, 1996, which will probably be done by a sheriff in a pickup truck.

But before we say adios Barcelona, a look back on the best and worst of the Games we witnessed:

* Best view of the Olympics: The Olympic diving stadium, atop Montjuic, overlooking the entire city of Barcelona.
* Worst: Your couch, during TripleCast.
* Best American on the medal stand: Jennifer Capriati, who, for once, looked like a happy teenager.
* Worst: Patrick Ewing, who looked like he needed an enema.
* Best gymnastics moment: When Trent Dimas, a relative unknown, won a gold medal in the last event on the last night of his sport.
* Worst: When Kim Gwang-Suk, a tiny North Korean girl whose front teeth haven’t even come in, was introduced as 16 years old. Yeah. And I’m Methuselah.
* Best reason for finishing event: Derek Redmond of Great Britain, who limped to the line of his 400-meter race, helped by his father, just so he could say he finished.
* Worst: Dream Team. The plane was running.
* Best attempt to ignore an injury: Britain’s Karen Briggs, whose shoulder popped out twice during a judo competition. She tried to pop it back in and keep going.
* Worst: Dave Johnson, who quickly announced a two-month-old stress fracture as soon as he fell behind in the decathlon.
* Best sacrifice of what it took to get here: Mirsada Buric, who ran through bullets and rubble to train as a distance runner for the Bosnia-Herzegovina team.
* Worst: Swimmer Frank Lescas, who lives in Philadelphia, but has an Albanian grandfather. He flew to Albania a week before the Games, got a passport, instant citizenship and a team uniform. Wonder whether he’d recognize the flag?
* Best enemy: Russia. With or without a flag, one last time, they still got it done.
* Worst: China. They beat you, they don’t even smile.
* Best dedication involving head gear: Ron Karnaugh, who cried as he held his father’s straw hat, an honor to the man who died of a heart attack during the Opening Ceremonies.
* Worst: Michael Bates, the U.S. sprinter, who wore a Seattle Seahawks hat on the medal stand. The Seahawks?
* Best excuse for not living in the Olympic Village: The equestrians, who said they would stay there, but their horses had to stay, too.
* Worst: Michael Jordan, who said he couldn’t, because people would mob him. Come on, Mikey. You never left your hotel for the same reason. The difference is, the hotel had cable TV, air conditioning and 24-hour room service. Tell the truth.
* Best Olympic comeback story: Wrestler Chris Campbell, a 37- year-old lawyer who decided he just couldn’t stay in the office anymore.
* Worst: Ben Johnson, who seemed determined to prove what we already knew: Without steroids, he is average.
* Best nominee for foreign ambassador: Charles Barkley. But only to Iraq.
* Worst: Tie. Barkley and Gwen Torrence. Imagine these two together?
* Best athlete we’d like to see go pro: Felix Savon, Cuba’s heavyweight boxing gold medalist. He’d give Evander Holyfield all he could handle.
* Worst: Any badminton player.
* Best Carl Lewis moment: Carl throwing his shoes to the crowd — and not even charging them.
* Worst: Carl speaking on a cellular phone during the Opening Ceremonies. Probably ordering an extra pair of shoes.
* Best scoring controversy: In wrestling, Friday night, when a Russian assistant coach stormed the mat, removed his shoes and began slamming them, over and over, as if to say, “DAMN IT! I SAID SIZE 9! SIZE 9! CAN’T YOU PEOPLE GET ANYTHING RIGHT?”
* Worst: The Ghana boxing judge who found the new computer method so difficult, he actually scored two rounds 0-0.
* Best athlete at living up to hype: Mike Barrowman. He said he’d win. He said he’d quit. He won. He quit.
* Worst: Sergei Bubka. He came, he saw, he stunk.
* Best fashion statement: The Lithuanian basketball team, which wore tie-dyed warmups that were donated by a rock group, the Grateful Dead. Really. The Liths were last seen leaving the village in a van with a peace symbol on the back.
* Worst: The Dream Team’s pin-down-the-lapel-to-cover-the- Reebok-logo move. We get the point, fellas. Too bad you don’t.
* Best moment involving feet: When Gail Devers edged four sprinters to win the 100 — on a pair of feet that were nearly amputated.
* Worst: The upside-down thing in synchronized swimming. I don’t care if the rest of them is under water. It’s stupid, OK? Stupid!
* Best moment of national pride: Yael Arad, a judo competitor, who won the first Olympic medal ever for Israel — and promptly dedicated it to their 11 athletes massacred in 1972.
* Worst: Martin Zubero, who was born in Florida, grew up in Florida, trained to swim in Florida — and won a gold medal for Spain. He says he feels Spanish. Good. Stay there.
* Best idea for future Games: Eliminating certain sports by 1996. Great. Let’s start with anything that involves ribbons, roller skates or styling mousse.
* Worst: Adding golf. Just what the Olympics need, more millionaires with bad taste in clothes.


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