The great programs continue (of course). We began with GREGG ELLIOTT leading the Pledge, and only a few members were asking, Who Is He? Seriously, GREGG, we’ve missed you please come more regularly. PP STEVE DAY led us in America, with PP JIM DOWNIE on the piano, and it was well done. FLOYD DEWHIRST gave the Invocation, starting off by asking our prayers for those still in the midst of the hurricanes.
He then asked for our prayers for the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces, reminding us that we should never forget those who lose their lives, but also pray for those brave men and women who continue serving. Well done, as expected, FLOYD.
STEVE LORE was asked to identify any Visiting Rotarians, and other than our Speaker, Mike O’Hara, who belongs to Santa Monica, there weren’t none. However, we did have some guests DON NELSON introduced his wife, Roz, and PP STEVE SCHERER asked our former member, BOB YOUNKER to be saluted. BOB was visiting us from Central California specifically, Lincoln, and I’ll bet not too many of us know just where that is. (a clue my grandson and I shot trap up there a few months ago). The head table was occupied by (old-time) athletes, as follows: CLAWSON BLEAK (pronounced Blake) played tennis at Santa Monica High, SM City College, and at SC while in Dental School. DICK LIVERMORE played football, basketball and ran track at Penn State and of course some wag wanted to know if he also played Odd Ball, but we will not identify such disrespectful comments as to their source! PP JIM COLLINS ran the two mile at UCLA, plus wanting to be identified as chasing girls while there, also. (YOE is not sure as to how accurate this last hobby might have been, but we do report the words that are spoken, as best we can). DON NELSON played football and ran the hurdles at UCLA. PP ERIC LOBERG was and still is involved in rowing, which all started at Princeton. And our Honorary Member, BOB LUSK, played baseball for the Bruins.
This Athletic Hall of Fame listing, more or less, brought forth our most successful Coach, none other than PP BOB WESSLING. DePauw University is deeply in his debt for rescuing them from an earlier losing season, by the sheer force of his enthusiasm and rah rah spirit. and he now brought us up to date on how they are doing THIS year. Alas, his Tigers just lost this, even though PP STEVE SCHERER was there to cheer them on. STEVE, however, did rise to point out that the Tigers were quite effective between their 35 yard line and the other team’s 35 but this didn’t help them in scoring, sad to say. But get this their Big Game, with Wabash, will be nationally televised on November 13th, in honor of this being their 110th meeting!. BOB has the details, of course.
In 1808 Napoleon invaded Spain (Gadzooks, are we historic or not?) and this in turn led Mexico to begin their movement for independence two years later. It took them ten years, and today is El Grito de Independencia which some of us probably didn’t know.
This led into Announcements, and CHRIS BRADFORD was first up. He reminded us that they are seeking Silent Auction items for the Paul Harris dinner, which is set for November 6th. The Committee needs your help on this by October 18th CHRIS has the forms. While he was on his feet, he noted that the next District Breakfast will be on October 12th with Pat Boone as the Speaker and advance reservations are helpful. October 9th will be the final Ethics Kaffeeklatch, chaired by Senor RUDY, at the Farmers Market. The WVRC Family Picnic will be at the Siskel's, this Sunday, and while you probably won’t get this Windmill before then, let us remember to thank Eloise for once again opening her home to this event, please.
RALPH BEASOM reported in some detail on our absent member, BRUCE ROLF, who continues to struggle at Berkeley East in Santa Monica. They have not yet found a way to open his esophagus, so he has a feeding tube directly into his stomach. LEO TSENG was his most recent visitor, and those of us who have visited know how much he appreciates seeing us he is in room 314, and the facility is at 20th and Arizona. Rudy’s World was up next, and lacking volunteers, LEE DUNAYER was summoned. He pleaded that the Holidays excused him, so KEVIN KOMATSU was next tapped. His reply and I quote, was “I have no idea”. KACY ROZELLE was summoned, and with a bit of sotto voce help, was able to identify the photo as a group of Rotarians having breakfast. Turned out this was the group who attended the last District Breakfast, and this earned KACY the dubious honor of deciding how much to fine LEE and KEVIN for their ignorance. KACY declined this opportunity, so once again we are in a bit of never-never land as far as whether they will be fined or not and it so, how much.
After a few free minutes, SALLY BRANT came forward to introduce our Speaker, Mike O’Hara. Mike is well known to many of us, and has spoken to WVRC before but he is always worth listening to. His involvement with management of the Olympic Games started in 1980, when his former travel agent, Peter Ueberroth, asked Mike to assist him in producing the 1984 Games, which were to be in Los Angeles. Prior to that, Mike had qualified for the Olympic Games in Volleyball, competing in Tokyo, so he was already infected with the Olympic spirit. He first served as Executive Director of all 26 Olympic sports, and in 1982 he was appointed Vice President of Television, negotiating the TV agreements with broadcasters representing 153 countries. These contracts provided a net profit of $235 million dollars which made the Los Angeles Games the first and only profitable Olympic gathering. Los Angeles is still the standard by which all future Games will be judged. Needless to say, Mike has served on the National governing bodies of the Olympics, Volleyball, and as Organizing Committeeman, plus being an active TV commentator... His firm, O’Hara Enterprises International, has pioneered more Olympic sporting endeavors than any other company, and they have advised, and continue to advise organizing committees for all the Games after Los Angeles.
Mike began by pointing out that there was only one Rotary Club in the world that compared to his own and that was WVRC! He then passed on some advice from his good friend, Art Linkletter. When asked what his advice to young people was, Art noted how important it was to have passions they give you goals, and we all need those.
The famed Torch Relay was first introduced at the Berlin Games in 1936, and Mike had two torches to show us the one we used in 1984, and the one they used for this year’s Olympics in Athens. Each ‘carrier’ carries the torch for a quarter of a mile, and they even keep the flame going as it travels across the ocean. He rated the games, on a scale of 10 being best, as follows Sydney, 10 Los Angeles, 9 Athens, 8 and Munich as a 6 this low score being entirely due to the tragic killing of the Israeli athletes at that event. DON NELSON and I were both present in Munich and the only other ‘downer’ was the disputed loss in basketball to the Russians.
Mike arrived at the airport, which is new, got an easy taxi to his hotel (the Athens Tennis Club, for about $15.00), and found everything to be in place (although at the very last minute, in some cases). There were eleven thousand athletes who participated, and the most popular event tickets were impossible to get was White Water Kayaking - one reason was that the venue was right in the middle of Athens. Their budget was seven billion, and they spent twelve billion! This, from the smallest country ever to host the Olympics the population of the whole country is just over ten million people. The budget for Beijing, by the way, is thirty billion. The media did not help attendance, since they kept focusing on Security, and Mike decided it was best to not identify himself as an American so he became Irish (with his name, not so tough to pull off). The late completion of some venues held up ticket printing, which in turn caused empty seats. He would have ‘papered the house’ with freebees, which would have helped to encourage those watching on TV to attend. And using the Greek Alphabet was hard to understand for most attendees. Finally, he showed the two Olympic Mascots, and even passed them around but nobody knew what they were, and they didn’t sell, sad to say.
Q&A PDG ANDY ANDERSON, How did Peter Ueberroth save the Olympics. There was only one other bidder Iraq! and we showed that profit could be made. Now, all the capital cities of the world are bidding, after our success. PP STEVE SCHERER, What can be done to help the Judging. Cheating happens it’s tough to get around it.
The games are now watched worldwide, and the athletes love it. It gives young people some ideals to strive toward. SEAN McMILLAN, was the 1.5 billion spent on Security necessary. Hindsight isn’t fair but they certainly won’t have ANY security problems in Beijing. PP CHRIS GAYNOR, Would it have helped if tickets were easier to purchase.
Yes,, but again, the late completions held up ticket printing and it will be different in Beijing. LENORE MULRYAN, How do they transport the Olympic Fire across oceans.
It is in a suitcase, and now the Athens Committee is in charge of guarding it. Harking back to our own games in 1984, most countries didn’t want us to charge for the Torch Relay but they are over that now, seeing the profit we made @ $3000 per carry.
PP MIKE NEWMAN, What are your comments on professionalism. This was first OKed by Juan Antonio Samarich, and it has made the Games much more competitive. Title Nine (by the NCAA, mandating equality between men’s and women’s teams) helped to move our female athletes into commanding positions in several sports.
PP JOHN SINGLETON, Why does attendance build up as the Games go on. The finals always draw better and no security problems turned up, period.
Mike O’Hara, Thanks for another wonderful report. Come back soon.