Olympic Dreams And Nightmares This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   With the recent TWA explosion, who could not help feeling apprehensive about boarding an airplane, let alone traveling to a city where millions of people from all over the world are gathered? My family and I decided to brave the trip and grasp a chance of a lifetime. We were able to get tickets to a number of events at the Olympics in Atlanta and were looking forward to it immensely. You could imagine how terrified we were when we learned that a bomb had gone off in Centennial Olympic Park the morning we were supposed to fly to Atlanta. Before leaving, we debated whether seeing the Olympics was really worth risking our lives. Finally, we (along with many other people) decided to go, entrusting our lives to the police officers of Atlanta and ultimately to God. In the airport, the televisions flashed horrifying scenes of the bomb site.

"The games will go on," vowed the International Olympic Com-mittee's Fran!ois Carrard. But how was the Committee able to guarantee we would be safe? This bomb, like many acts of terrorism, was a reminder of the effects of futile and undetermined hatred. Its possessor cared little about the identities of his victims.

Security was extremely tight as we traveled to the venues of the events. Metal detectors were used and bags were thoroughly searched. But outside, in the subways and restaurants, I would find myself looking cautiously around for suspicious packages or people. What would prevent a person from bombing an open and unprotected area? Rumors of bomb threats filtered through crowds waiting in the long lines for nearly everything from the entrance to the Olympic events to the bathrooms, the subway, and even to those walking down streets.

One specific event that stands out in my mind is when my family was waiting in line for the Hard Rock Cafe. My parents started a friendly conversation with the family behind us. They informed us they were forced to exit the subway before their destination, because of a bomb scare at the following station. People were banned from walking on the street in that area for fear the bomb would go off and blow up the street above. That scared me more than anything I had heard or seen. A bomb could blow up anywhere, right in front of me, without security there to prevent it.

Centennial Park opened to the public on our final day in Atlanta, and we felt we had to go. Many of the entrances were still closed and security was tight. Inside the Park, there was a sense of unity as well as sorrow. Next to the lighting tower, where the bomb had gone off, there were flowers and a piece of cardboard with the saying "The world's heart cried for a nite, but you didn't break it."

Sadly, among the great memories of my Olympic experience, (chanting "U-S-A" with thousands at the women's basketball game, watching Amy Chow flip to victory on the uneven bars, and screaming as Michael Johnson sprinted past his competition) I will also have the sinister memories the bomb left. Those of tearful moments of silence, the memorial in Centennial Park, and the fear that haunted me as I walked through the crowded streets of Atlanta. ?


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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