July 26, 2012

Silvana Paternostro is the author of My Colombian War: A Journey Through the Country I Left Behind (2007). Her next book is an oral history of Gabriel García Márquez. She lives in New York.

What’s your earliest Olympic memory?

Seeing Nadia Comaneci at the 1976 Montreal Olympics, and wondering how it must feel to have that kind of control over your mind and your body.

How excited do you get about the Summer Games: Eager? Hyperventilating? Meh?

I skip that part of the news.

Which events that you particularly enjoy watching? (Or, if you don't like the Olympics, what do you do instead in August?)

I'm glad I don't live in London like my brother does, but I am sure I will ask him what it's like to go to a live Olympic event. He has tickets to two. I don't remember which ones. And I'll probably turn on the television to watch the opening ceremony.

Are there any sports you watch only during the Olympics?

It's actually the only time I watch sports. And then, not a lot.

If you ran the International Olympic Committee, what sport would you add/get rid of? What rule would you change?

I have no desire to run the International Olympic Committee, but if I did I would like to see a spelling bee contest added to the events. Rules yet to be figured out, but I’m thinking it would be fair for a Bolivian “athlete” to be given a word in Quechua to spell, a Paraguayan one in Guarani, and an Italian one in Neapolitan.

Not sure what to do about Spanglish.

What do you think of NBC's Olympic coverage? Or do you watch the Olympics in Spanish?

It depends on where I am.

What athletes will you be rooting for?

No one comes to mind.

Other than the United States, which countries do you cheer for?

My nephews will make me root for the Colombian teams.

Overall, are the Olympics a good thing, or a waste of time and money? An instrument of peace or of nationalist zeal?

The Olympics makes an individual be the best at something, and that is always a good thing.

If you could have a ticket to one Olympic event in London, what would it be?

The one my brother's going to.

“Olympic Talk with Silvana Paternostro,” by Bill Vourvoulias.

From “Un-American Football,” the July 26, 2012, issue of V as in Victor.

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