Olympics: Why We Play These Games

As Los Angeles raises its Olympic banners and 2 billion viewers sit back to cheer, athletes from 140 nations of the world prepare to meet a human need

Eight thousand banners, did you say? Covering 120 miles of Los Angeles? Hanging from 300 different types of lampposts? O.K. Some of the brackets for the banners had to be different too; a real headache. Certainly not, you wouldn't want to use just any colors. Had to be magenta, vermilion, chrome yellow, violet, aqua. "Festive Federalism," the designers call it. (What does that mean?) Oh, sorry. Please go on. You were talking about construction: 3,500 construction workers at 67 different (sites, including Olympic Villages, places for the...

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