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Nagano 1998: The Winter Games

2 minute read
Howard Chua-Eoan

Why, just four years ago, The Winter Olympics were a setting for scandal and controversy and tabloid headlines, all Nancy and Tonya, catty remarks and vainglorious ambition. What a difference an Olympiad makes. Now, in a near rustic city in Japan, the Games beckon once again as a refuge from the snares of the world, where the tawdry can be banished (alas, except for commercial logos) and where the most compelling mysteries involve the intricacies of quad jumps, clap skates, luge weight and curling. For Nagano is robed in that symbol of purity: snow, unsullied and ready for the pursuit of truth as expressed in athletic prowess. Out of mind are potential scapegoats–El Nino, the Asian meltdown. Of course, like all other Olympics, Nagano has its intrinsic debates, but they are sporting and professional ones for the most part or inextricable from the enterprise: the cupidity of organizers, the rebelliousness of snowboarders, and, oh yes, a feud among some of the Russian pair skaters. But all that should prove to be background noise. Breathe deeply. Zen is in the air. The ancient Greeks would have approved and duly declared, Let all hostilities cease, let the Games begin.

–By Howard Chua-Eoan

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