Finally, the Olympic Games

But the preliminaries have been a distraction: a discouraging combination of skulduggery on ice, personal tragedy, mishaps and mayhem

For two weeks the whole world is young and strong and fearless, sporting and peaceful and clean. That is the Olympic myth and the wellspring of the Games' enduring appeal. They are like a national patriotic day for the whole world, a day when flags wave and people march and the grim realities of the past and, often, the present, are forgotten in a global surge of pride and unity. The reality has often been less inspiring -- in Hitler's Berlin in 1936, in the Munich beset by Palestinian terrorists in 1972, in the tit-for-tat cold war boycotts of 1980 and...

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