In the women's 10,000-meter race Friday night, Derartu Tulu was favored to be the first black African woman medalist in a running event. She is from Ethiopia, one of the most distressed places on earth. Elana Meyer, a white South African, was little known internationally. Her country had been non grata in international sport for 32 years. Together, they led, lap after lap. Ms. Tulu sprinted ahead in the last lap to win the gold, Ms. Meyer the silver. Then, each draped in her nation's flag, they ran a joint victory lap, holding hands.
This was the truest Olympiad, the most inclusive, the least politicized, in 32 years. Perhaps the Olympic Summer Games should be held once every four years, in a different city that spruces itself up and claims to symbolize national pride, after all. TC For years of terrorism, boycott and ostracism, it had not always seemed such a good idea.
The least politicized, but the most commercialized. Somebody has to pay for this spectacle. The athletes can't. A few stars aside, most of them sacrifice what earning power they possess to run, jump, tumble, hit or do whatever it is they do the fastest, farthest, quickest, neatest or something-most in the world. If the raging war for market share among running-shoe makers will subsidize their activities, at least it is one of the more benign wars going.