The Games this summer have brought back a lot of memories of the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta where I worked as a security guard. Seeing the different badges made me think of all the procedures we learned. A little blurb on the Olympic pins reminded me of the special pins only given to security officers. I was fortunate to get to work with the athletes and meet several of them.
I remember the surprise, arrogance and finally humor of one who tried to get into the athletes' lounge without proper ID. He couldn't believe that I didn't recognize him and let him in. Afterwards, he made it a point to be sure that I had *my* ID each time he came in. I was amused to see that he has his own bachelor reality show on TV now.
I remember the graciousness of the coach for another athlete, who also needed help with his ID, but didn't speak English. I spoke to him in Spanish, and he later brought me a special souvenir when his athlete won the silver medal.
Another gold-medal winner couldn't stop talking about how excited he was that his little brother had become a preacher. That seemed to mean far more to him than the Olympic Games.
I remember the police dog who was assigned to one athlete who had been attacked previously. Such a beautiful, intelligent and gentle animal.
And I wonder what became of another athlete who will always be in my heart. She was only 15, and she had a habit of ditching the security escort to and from the courts. I stuck with her, and we started talking some. She was interested in why I seemed so happy. On one of the last days, I told her that God loved her, and she started crying. She said that there was no way He could love her after the things she had done. She was only 15. I shared some Bible verses with her and prayed with her. She gave me her address, but I didn't hear back from her. I hope that she came to realize how deeply she is loved.