Olympics: Back in The Ring

With Uday Hussein out of the picture, Iraq rebuilds its Olympic team and asks the private sector for help

Last fall, in southern Iraq, a Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) official approached Maurice (Termite) Watkins, 47, at breakfast. Watkins, a professional boxer turned pest-control contractor, had spent the previous six months killing scorpions and camelback spiders around U.S. military bases and reconstruction sites in Iraq. The official, regional coordinator Mike Gfoeller, had heard that Watkins could fight more than mosquitoes. "What are the odds of you getting an Iraqi boxer qualified for the Olympics?" Gfoeller asked. Termite spoke from the heart. "About one in a million."

Those chances seemed good enough for Gfoeller. Iraq had a new boxing coach, and...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!