I don’t think I’ve told this story but the 20 year anniversary of the 2000 Olympic Games made me think of it. I was living in Sydney, 20 years old and the Games were, without question, the best. Every night was a party, there were pop-up bars everywhere, it was a huge vibe.
Athletes were everywhere and me and some mates started a competition who could get the most photos with athletes. I was living with my parents and one night they went to the Greco-Roman wrestling, while I went to binge drink near the fittest people on the planet.
You could tell who was official because they had huge accreditation and they didn’t have bloodshot eyes from drinking to oblivion for a fortnight. We see this big bloke with all the passes so go over to get a photo, his name is Homer “like the baseball”.
Homer’s from Tunisia and about our age. We end up taking Homer all over Sydney. The Bourbon and Beefsteak was a bar in the Cross, it was the kind of place where if you’re mucking around out the front they’d throw you in (ask Ricky Ponting). Naturally, we took him there.
We were seriously over-refreshed, the night was coming to an end and as we were parting ways when Homer said, “I’ve missed my curfew, I can’t sneak into the village I’ll be sent home. I’ll bring disgrace to myself, my family and my country”.
I said, “Come and stay at my place!”
At 7:30am Homer is discovered sleeping on the couch by my mother who thinks she’s tripping because she’d watched that man literally fighting for gold the night before! She made us breaky and I spent the rest day showing Homer my mates houses and parts of Sydney.
We never saw each other again.
About 5 years ago I was in a cab, talking to the driver who said he was a boxer from, wouldn’t you know it, Tunisia. I start telling him the story, halfway through he stops me and finishes it, “Your mum saw him on the couch and thought she was tripping because she’d seen him…”
What the actual?
“Bro, Homer is one of my best mates, lets’ call him!”

So, in the front seat of a cab a decade and a half later I reconnected with Homer, he had kids and we fondly remembered our night on the tiles in Sydney.
That’s what the Olympics are, friendly fit people hanging with friendly drunks making lifelong memories.

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