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OLYMPIC NOTEBOOK

Going to (hot) dogs

The Birmingham, Ala., airport is a hive of activity, with Olympic fans flying in, then commuting to Atlanta (21/2 to three hours away) for the Games and other events. There are Olympic kiosks there, selling hats, shirts, pins, etc. And there's also a McDonald's restaurant with a pair of unique items on the menu: hot dogs and chili dogs. Good luck finding weiners at other McDonald's restaurants - even in Atlanta.

Five rings

The symbol of five interlocked rings as the Olympic Games logo was created by Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the French founder of the modern Olympiad in 1896.

The idea was to revive an ancient Greek Olympic ideal, combining both culture and sport, with the five rings representing "the five continents" (under a European concept that considers North and South America to be one). But de Coubertin didn't come up with the symbol until 1913 for the 1914 World Olympic Congress in Paris, and he also meant the rings to represent the first five modern Olympic Games.

There is a myth that the rings symbol is 3,000 years old and that it came from Delphi, Greece. That common misconception comes from Leni Riefenstahl's Nazi propaganda documentary "Olympia" about the 1936 Berlin Games. The filmmaker had the rings carved into a rock at Delphi as a backdrop for torch bearers she directed to circle the ruins of the ancient stadium.

But historians later took the Delphi inscription to be the real thing, and the fiction was perpetuated in the official 1980 Olympics Guide. The torch, by the way, is not really an ancient Greek tradition either. The long-distance torch relay that precedes the Games actually began with the 1936 Berlin Games.

Ads up?

Seen Nike's controversial Olympics-theme commercial on television? The one that shows a marathon runner vomiting and finishes with a boxer's bloody mouthpiece flying through the air? If not, consider yourself lucky. But if you're a moviegoer, look out. The ad is also being shown in movie theaters around the country, including Salt Lake City.