No question about it, the bomb that exploded in Atlanta's Centennial Olympic Park late Friday night has given the 1996 games a tragic stain that will live in our memories.
Those of us who are old enough to remember the 1972 summer games in Munich have never forgotten the pall that hung over the competitions after terrorists massacred eleven Israeli athletes. Then, the games were suspended for one day before they continued. And now, the names of that year's most heroic athletes -- Mark Spitz, Olga Korbut -- must share a space in our memories with the horror and grief of a mass murder.
We believe that continuing the games is the right thing. Not for economic reasons (although we suspect these had much to do with the quickness of the decision to continue); not for reasons of chauvinism (although the United States is winning big, and Americans are none too modest about proclaiming that fact). Just because the games must go on:
We shall not forget the bombing. Our hearts go out to the victims, and especially to the loved ones of those who died. We are terribly saddened that such an event has once again occurred -- in any circumstance, but especially amid festivities that are built around good will and good fun.
But we shall also try to enjoy what remains of the 1996 games. Along with the pictures of pain and destruction telecast from Centennial Olympic Park, we shall try to carry in our minds and hearts the memorable faces of Donovan Bailey, Amy Van Dyken, Li Xiaoshuang, Lilia Podkopayeva, Matt Ghaffari, Shannon Miller, and the many other competitors, medalists and non-medalists alike.