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Ovation: Harry Nelson Sets His Own Olympic Record … For Attendance.

08/04/2012

Growing up, I was rarely absent from school.  My mother saw to it that I was dressed appropriately, fed and out the door with my sack lunch regardless of how much whining and protesting I forced her to endure.  Of course, there were times when I was actually ill and she would keep me home, but those instances could probably be counted on one hand.

College was another matter entirely.  I had classes that simply did not require my physical presence in a lecture hall in order for me to learn the material.  When it comes to my career, my motto has always been “The hardest part of any job is getting there on time.”  I continue to believe that this is true.

All this makes it easy for me to admire 90-year-old Harry Nelson.  Mr. Nelson is in London this week to watch the Olympic Games … for the eighteenth time!  Ten-year-old Harry attended his first summer Olympics when his mother got tickets to the 1932 games in Los Angeles and he’s since managed to attend seventeen more.  Since the 1956 games in Melbourne, he’s attended with his wife, Dee.  The couple was among the few Americans in attendance at the 1980 Moscow Games, despite the U.S. boycott and a letter from then-President Jimmy Carter discouraging them from going.

In 2008, Nelson self-published a book about his Olympic experiences, “Following the Flame: A 76-Year Olympic Journey.”  And now, with the London Games, he’s set an Olympic record of his own … A new Guinness Word Record for attending the most summer Olympic Games.  A new record that breaks his own world record of seventeen for which he was honored by Guinness in 2008.

How about that?  An eighty-year tradition, and no plans to slow down.  That’s quite a hobby!

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