BOOKS: And They Call Them Games: C. Richard Yarbrough

And They Call Them Games

Readers who don't get enough Dick Yarbrough from his weekly syndicated column in The Valdosta Daily Times should check out his book, "And They Call Them Games: An Inside View of the 1996 Olympics."

Yarbrough served as the managing director of communications of the Atlanta committee for the Olympic Games. He is a retired vice president for BellSouth where he worked for 28 years. And he writes a syndicated column that runs in several Georgia newspapers.

In "Games," he shares inside stories from the Centennial Games when the Olympics came to Atlanta in 1996. His work preparing for the Olympics started in January 1993. Realizing he was a part of history, Yarbrough kept recorded notes of the long days that started before dawn and stretched past sunset preparing for the Atlanta Olympics.

He draws upon these notes and the writing skills that have made him a household name for newspaper readers throughout Georgia.

He opens with the bombing in Centennial Park and how he, other committee leaders, law enforcement, Olympic officials and the public responded to the unthinkable tragedy. 

Throughout the book, Yarbrough takes readers deep into the personalities and events that shaped the preparation and the Games.

One striking point is that the committee consisted of people used to calling the shots in their respective fields. Suddenly, each of these committee members found themselves in a room and on a project where all of the other members were used to being the shapers of what happens next. Learning to listen and compromise became essential for each member if the Games were to be successful.

Regular readers of Yarbrough's column will not be surprised that he describes people and situations as he sees them. Some heroes. Some villains. But mostly people coming to grips with one another to meet challenge after challenge in a tumult of a few short years to prepare for two weeks when the eyes of the world were on them and Atlanta.

"And They Call Them Games" is an engaging book due to Yarbrough's recall, candor and involvement in a momentous occasion in the recent history of Georgia.

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