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Nostalgia Canaglia

Author: Mikhail Ivanov

Jan/Feb 2014
Page 64   ( 1 pages)

Summary: A somewhat nostalgic look back at the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow.


What do I think of when someone says “Moscow Olympics”?

First, the heart-breaking Mishka (Bear), flying away during the closing ceremony to the lyrics of Alexandra Pakhmutova’s poignant song (“Good-bye, our tender Misha, return to your fairy tale forest”)... Clean streets, a sunny summer, no traffic jams, a feeling of security...

I was finishing up my second year at the Moscow Institute of Foreign Languages. I was young, in love and a complete fool. My girlfriend Olga (she was in the teaching faculty, I was in the interpreting faculty) and I were undergoing a difficult training with a seasoned Intourist guide, being taught how to take French tourists around Moscow.

As it turned out, I fell out of love with Olga during the Olympics – her thick Russian accent in French ruined the charm. Ah, volatile student romances… Only later did I learn that one of her classmates – a pushy komsomolka type – “informed” the dean’s office about my “frivolous dumping” of her friend. That apparently barred me from spending a semester at the University of Grenoble (France) on a “linguistic internship,” closing off my dreamed-of career path as a UN interpreter.

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