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Top Five Most Memorable Olympic Experiences
For Barbara Watts

Date: Dec. 7, 2001
By: Carey Hoffman
Phone: (513) 556-1825
Archive: General News

Barbara Watts, University of Cincinnati College of Law associate dean for academic affairs, will be carrying the Olympic torch down Clifton Avenue as it makes it way through Cincinnati on Dec. 17. Watts, who was selected in part because of her enthusiasm for the Olympics, has been to seven Olympic games in the past. Here is a list of her top five most memorable experiences:

1. Opening ceremonies, Atlanta games, 1996 -- Witnessing Muhammad Ali emerge to light the Olympic cauldron was unforgettable, Watts says. Plus, opening ceremonies are like "watching the Labor Day fireworks on TV. When you see it in person, there's something about the scale of it TV can't capture. And you end up making friends with the people around you."

2. Getting her photo taken with Kristi Yamaguchi, Albertville games, 1992 -- Watts encountered the eventual gold medal winner in figure skating while in a small Albertville shop. "Myself and about 20 other people rushed out to see her. She was very gracious, posing for pictures, signing for autographs and talking to everyone."

The 1996 U.S. women's gymnastics team

3. Women's gymnastics team finals, Atlanta games, 1996 -- Watts witnessed one of the most memorable Olympic finishes ever, when the U.S. women's team won the gold medal, thanks in large part to Kerri Strug's courageous vault on a badly-injured ankle. "That's one of those medal ceremonies I'll never forget. You do get that patriotic swell of pride as that (U.S.) flag goes up in the middle. There was so much drama in that final."

4. Visiting the Olympic Village, Munich games, 1972 -- After the terrorists struck in Munich, Watts was due to spend a couple of days in Zurich and decided to take a day trip over on the train. "I began to wonder what it would be like to go to Olympics. I'm not sure I would have even tried to go at all, except that all the newspapers were talking about it and that the games would go on and what it would be like to be there."

5. Pin trading, Los Angeles games, 1984 -- "That was really the first Olympics where I tried to do a little pin trading. It was very fun, and you meet lots of interesting people. Sometimes you don't speak the same language, but that adds to the experience."

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