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OLYMPIA, Greece -- So there we were, trapped 20 kilometers from Olympia, with the men's shot put just about to start -- an American sportswriter, a Chinese journalist, a Greek now living in Canada, his daughter and three Samoans.
I had been guaranteed the bus from Athens to Olympia took no longer than three hours. They were only off by about three. We made good time until about 60 kilometers away when John Sedemedes, the Greek-Canadian businessman, gave us the curse of death: "It won't be much longer now."
And then we started stopping at every town and village in Greece. We traveled 30 kilometers in one hour. We got trapped behind a stalled bus blocking a one-lane road. We got stuck behind a car double-parked on a one-lane road. We got stuck behind a scooter. Stuck behind a very-slow farm truck. And then when we got to Pyrgos and we were told to get off the bus. It was the end of the line. With the men's shot put starting in 20 minutes, we decided to get a cab -- all six of us, which would have been fine except there were no cabs and the Samoans were rather large, so they wouldn't have fit anyway.
As John raced up and down the street, searching for a cab, he shouted, "It's just like the Amazing Race." Eventually, we were able to put our six languages together to hail a cab and reach Olympia. We made it, but somehow, we lost the Samoans.
"This is what the Olympics is all about," Sedemedes said. "People from all over the world, coming together to achieve a common goal."
With that, he celebrated by passing out cigars. They were Cuban. As we settled in to enjoy a truly memorable sporting event, there was only one tiny, nagging concern remaining. How we were going to back home.
-- Jim Caple
Editor's note: Jim Caple is once again back on a bus. Come back tomorrow to find out more about his amazing day at Olympia.