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The explosion that brought death and injury to Atlanta's
Centennial Olympic Park in the early hours of last Saturday
morning had gut-wrenching resonance for four members of the SI
contingent covering the Games. The four--assistant managing
editor Jerry Kirshenbaum, director of photography Heinz
Kluetmeier, senior writer Kenny Moore and special contributor
Anita Verschoth--were also on hand when terrorism stained the
Munich Games in 1972, Moore as a U.S. Olympian who finished
fourth in the marathon, the others as journalists.

For Moore, whose reflections on the horrors of Munich and
Atlanta appear on page 30, and our other 1972 veterans, last
week's bombing prompted thoughts of a time when the Olympics
were more innocent, when athletes, journalists and spectators
mingled without thought of harm. In Munich, until the Games were
shattered, Kirshenbaum hung out in Mark Spitz's room in the
Olympic Village--no metal detectors, no checking of bags--and
he, Kluetmeier and Verschoth took Spitz out for a celebratory
dinner after the swimmer won his seventh gold medal. It was
later that evening, a few hours after Spitz had returned to the
Village, that Arab terrorists stole into the Village on a
mission of hate that resulted in the murder of 11 Israeli
athletes and coaches and the death of one German policeman and
five terrorists.

Last week's attack, by eerie coincidence, also occurred in the
wee hours after the final night of swimming. "The explosion in
the park is another reminder that one mad act can destroy good
feelings," says Kluetmeier. Verschoth, who has covered every
Olympics since 1964 and who makes the medal picks in our Olympic
preview issues, offers this grim, surefire prediction: "Because
of Munich and, now, Atlanta, in the future every Olympic host
city will be a fortress."

If the Games have become more complex since 1972, so has SI's
coverage of them. In Munich we had nine staffers on the scene.
In Atlanta there is a 140-member team producing three
publications. Besides filling the better part of three regular
weekly issues of SI with Olympic coverage, these editors,
writers, reporters, photographers, artists, engineers and
technicians are turning out 18 issues of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED
OLYMPIC DAILY, a 44-page, four-color magazine with an
Atlanta-only circulation of 250,000, as well as a 136-page
commemorative issue that will come out three days after the
closing ceremonies. In addition, news of the Games is featured
on SI's Web site (

"SI seeks to be a weekly magazine with the immediacy of a daily
newspaper," says Kirshenbaum, who is overseeing the logistics of
our Olympic operation. "During the Games our aim is to create a
daily publication with the visual appeal and in-depth quality of
a weekly magazine." The New York Times credited early issues of
the Daily with a timeliness that "gives on-line technology a run
for its money." Headed by assistant managing editor Mike Bevans,
the Daily is timely enough to have carried a story on the
Atlanta bombing in the edition that closed at 3:30 a.m. Saturday
and hit the streets by 7:30 a.m. It was a story we wish we
didn't have to run.

COLOR PHOTO: JOHN BIEVER Atlanta's flags flew at half-mast (bottom) in a painful reprise of the memorial for Munich's dead. [Olympic flaf at half mast at 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games]

COLOR PHOTO: JERRY COOKE [See caption above--Olympic flag at half mast at 1972 Munich Olympic Games]