1992 Winter Olympics: At The Starting Gate

The sparkling Savoie Games begin with Gallic assurance and zest. But alpine gridlock may be a main event

The toddler in leopard-skin coat and hat stirred in his stroller. The Puerto Rican team hurriedly consulted as to how to wear their capes. A huge circle -- the whole town, it seemed -- formed in the street to greet the Olympic flame. And then planes colored the sky, bells tolled through a dream of a blue afternoon, the sun set behind the mountains amid a spangle of fireworks, and the opening ceremonies of the 16th Olympic Winter Games were officially under way.

As the athletes began parading past, chaperoned by rhyming verse in English and French, the rah-rah doggerel gave...

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