Advertisement

Our coronavirus coverage is free for the first 24 hours. Find the latest information at tampabay.com/coronavirus. Please consider subscribing or donating.

  1. Archive

The two Atlantas converge in heavy traffic

The city has been getting an earful from those here just for the Olympics _ ranging from volunteer bus drivers housed in condom-cluttered flop houses, to spectators crammed into overcrowded subway trains, to editors struggling with a multimillion-dollar results system that collapsed before it ever started to work.

Monday, resident Atlanta commuters joined the chorus Monday as the MARTA subway system creaked under the strain.

"It's Sardine City down there," Becky Rudisill said after a grueling journey to work. "Atlanta is in way over its head."

On the first day competition combined with a workday rush hour, the system worked for the most part.

Automobile traffic was lighter than normal, but public transportation, which usually handles about 475,000 riders, groaned and strained to move about a million.

The wait for trains was sometimes 20 to 30 minutes. Tempers flared on the platforms with shouting, pushing and shoving.

The mishaps and near-mishaps were a reminder of how close to the edge the transportation network is operating.

British rowing stars Steve Redgrave and Matthew Pinsent moved out of the Olympic Village in disgust, afraid Olympic transportation would not get them to their venue on time. They checked into a hotel close to the venue.

Baseball games between Nicaragua and the United States and between Japan and the Netherlands were delayed because the team bus was late, and one Olympic fencer arrived just 10 minutes before his competition was set to start.

Rowers tired of waiting for a bus at the Olympic Village wound up hijacking a bus headed for field hockey.

Allison Gill, a member of Great Britain's women's eight crew, said the rowers stood in the middle of the road Sunday to commandeer a bus. Police were yelling at the athletes to get out of the road, but rowers from Britain, Poland and Ukraine refused. "Soon enough one came along, but the poor victim was going to the hockey," Gill said. "However, we piled on board and informed him that he was now going to Lake Lanier. I told him to just drive."

A spokesman for the Atlanta organizers denied the incident took place.

BETTER BRING YOUR VISA: Everything is for sale in Atlanta these days, including the clothes off your back.

Olympic police officer Joseph Williams of Washington, D.C., said he was offered $400 for his white baseball cap bearing the Olympic rings and the word "Police" and $4,000 for a black mesh vest that reads "Policia" and "Policier."

At that rate, why isn't he jumping at the opportunity?

"I'm waiting for the Japanese to arrive," he said with a broad smile.

OTHERWISE ENGAGED: Rodney Smith didn't get a gold medal in Greco-Roman wrestling, but he will soon get a gold ring. Anderson, from San Clemente, Calif., will wed Judy Mundy, also of San Clemente, at center mat between wrestling sessions today at the Georgia World Congress Center.

"It's not a publicity stunt," said Gary Abbott, the communications director of USA Wrestling. "Bob just wanted to get married at the Olympics."

MISCELLANY: Fencing champion Philippe Omnes of France and Elvis Gregory of Cuba had to be separated by police and security men when they clashed off the dueling piste after Gregory was ousted from the foil tournament. Markus Koistinen, Finland's second-best shot putter, will not travel to the Olympics after testing positive for drugs. A new security guard on duty at CNN headquarters stood firm _ rather than starstruck _ when the boss, Ted Turner, failed to produce an ID badge. The guard refused to allow him past a security desk at the CNN Center, where Turner's media empire is based. Turner's new beard may have fooled the guard, who, by the way, kept his job.

SECURITY SLIP-UP: A man carrying a gun and a knife slipped past security at the Olympic Stadium less than two hours before Friday's Opening Ceremonies, police said.

The man, wearing a security uniform, was arrested inside the stadium after he failed to show an identification badge when asked by security officers, police spokeswoman Jan Northstar said.

Roland Atkins, 55, of Aurora, Colo., was charged with carrying a pistol without a license, carrying a dangerous weapon, criminal trespassing and theft of service.

Police said he was carrying a knife and a semi-automatic .45-caliber handgun loaded with 11 rounds.

He was released on $17,000 bond.

_ TIMES WIRES

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Advertisement
Advertisement