Because I’m a very old man, I was there. I had just moved to LA earlier that summer.
As you can see OJ ran up the California Incline to incredible fanfare. Everyone around him was cheering. OJ looked athletic and strong and people were clapping everywhere because, first of all, it’s a thrill to see the torch.
And also, at this point in his career, OJ was beloved by all.
This was pre Rodney King, pre A glove that didn’t fit, pre cops bungling crime scenes, pre slow Bronco chases that mysteriously didn’t make it into the Trial of the Century.
This was a moment where a former superstar who still looked like a pro, ran up a hill and everyone just watched. This was before cell phones.
Before the Interwebs.
It was during a time when you just soaked in the moment in front of you and felt it.
And when OJ reached Ocean Ave he slowed down and bent down and passed the torch to a disabled child
who then hobbled his way down the road.
The contrast in torch bearers was unreal. And beautiful.
And everyone began crying – for all the reasons.
Right there in 1980s Santa Monica.
It was probably the most beautiful moment of that Olympics for all 150 or so of us who witnessed it.
And I will never forget it.