San Antonio Olympian Recalls Participating in 1988 South Korean Games

The last time the Olympics were in South Korea, it was two hours to the west of the current location, and it was also the last time that Bob Nieman strapped on the red, white and blue for Team U.S.A., News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

Now, living in San Antonio, the former Olympian marvels at the size, speed and strength of the athletes, compared to when he waltzed into Seoul.  Unlike today, when America is perennial favorite for just about every event, he says it was the Russians who swept the gold medals.

"We were small fish.  And when we went to the Olympics, you were in awe of the top Russians," he explains.

When the Soviet Union crumbled, he says, so did their Olympic success.  These days, Nieman says the Olympic athletes are bigger, faster and stronger, compared with the ones he faced three decades ago.  But, he says, this is true of all sports, not just the Olympics.

"You go back and watch and NBA game from the 70s and everybody looks like their moving in slow motion.

Nieman is one of a handful of former Olympians who now call San Antonio home.  

Josh Davis won three golds and two silvers in swimming.  Jimmy Feigen also won a gold and a silver in the pool.  Other San Antonio Olympians are Melissa Mieras, who was on the diving team, and Kim Wurzel-LoPorto, who was a synchronized swimmer.  Ross Davis is a three-time Paralympian. 

Nieman competed in the modern pentathlon.

With all the changes in the games, with sports coming and going, and countries being broken up, he says one thing that stays constant is the heartwarming personal stories of the athletes, who sacrifice a lot to wear the country's colors.

"Day to day in our lives, you hear a lot of negativity, especially lately in our country.  To get some of these stores where people overcome some tremendous obstacles and succeed under this huge pressure, it makes you believe in humans again."

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