Jogging into a hornet's nest

A group of 37 American tourists, led by David Himmelberger, the 1979 US walking-race champion, got together for a "fun jog" across the Lenin Hills Tuesday. Instead, they walked into a media event, Soviet-style, with television cameras, newspaper reporters, a waiting ambulanmce, and scores of KGB agents carrying walkie-talkies rolled up in newspapers in a very conspicuous attempt to look unconspicuous.

Soviet authorities, who assigned a special route to the joggers, cleared it of traffic, and notified both local and Western repoters to be there, billed the event as a protest against the US-led Olympic boycott.

"We knew things were going too far when they got in touch with the Olympic Organizing Committee and said they could get a stadium for us," said Himmelberger, who lives in Palo alto, Calif.

The surprised joggers objected. "It's all gotten out of hand," himmelberger said. "We weren't expecting anybody to be here. We're just having fun. This is certainly nothing to do with the boycott."

of 5 stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read 5 of 5 free stories

Only $1 for your first month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.