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Reynaldo Brown — September, 2021
Reynaldo Brown competed in the 1968 Mexico City Olympics and finished in fifth place in the high jump at age seventeen in between his junior and senior years of high school. He finished second in the 1968 Olympic Trials. Rey won the USA Outdoor Championship in the high jump in 1970 and 1971 and had a USA Silver Medal and four USA Bronze medal finishes outdoors. In 1971, Brown also won the USA Indoor high jump. He narrowly missed making the 1972 Olympic team with a fourth place at the Olympic Trials. While working at Hughes Aircraft, he also qualified for and competed in the 1976 and 1980 Olympic Trials. Rey won the high jump at the 1970 USA-USSR dual meet at Leningrad Stadium in front of 104,000 in attendance and won six straight Mt. Sac Relays high jump competitions. At Cal-Poly, he won the 1971 and 1973 NCAA DII and NCAA DI titles and tied or broke 27 meet records. He was ranked as the World’s #2 high jumper in 1970, 1971 and 1973 and in the USA Top Ten for nine straight years. While at Compton High School, Brown won the California state high jump title in 1967, 1968 and 1969 and was the first prep to jump seven feet. He led Compton High’s basketball team to back-to-back California State Championships in 1968 and 1969, two undefeated seasons and a record of 62-0. Rey’s accolades include the 1968 Track and Field News High School Athlete of the Year, 1980 Mt. Sac Relays Hall of Fame, 1993 Cal-Poly Athletics HOF, 2010 Compton High School HOF, 2015 Athletes in Excellence Award from The Foundation for Global Sports Development and 2019 National High School Track and Field HOF. He and his wife, Carol, live in Victorville, California and their blended family has four adult children. Rey was extremely generous to spend nearly two hours on the phone for this interview in the summer of 2021.
GCR: BIG PICTURE At the highest levels of sport athletes set goals to compete in the Olympics and to represent their country in other international competitions. Can you reflect on what it means to be a member of the 1968 USA Olympic team, especially since you were just starting your senior year in high school and were much younger than most Olympians?
RB It was such a wonderful experience. I had planned for this since junior high school in the ninth grade when I jumped six feet, five inches at Willowbrook Junior High School in Compton. My coach told me I was jumping almost higher than the college guys and that kind of rung a bell for me. I kept hearing things about the Olympics coming because the 1968 Mexico City Olympics were two years away. I thought, ‘What if I can make the Olympic team since I’m jumping the same height at these college guys and unattached jumpers?’ I decided I was going to work.
GCR: At such a young age, what can you tell us about the men who coached and mentored you and developed you as a young high jumper?
RB I had a great coach at Willowbrook Junior High named Jim Newman. He knew his stuff. All I did was listen to him and try to do what he said to do, and things started working out. Once I got to Compton High School, I had another great coach, Willie Williams, who went to San Jose State and was a sprinter at ‘Speed City.’ He took over and helped me out. He asked me what I wanted to do, and I told him I wanted to make the Olympic team. He had tried to make the Olympic team when he was at San Jose State and knew it was hard to do. But I was ready to go and pumped up. I told him that I needed him to help me and show me what I needed to do to make this team. He looked at me and merely said, ‘Okay.’ He worked with me and, everything he showed me and helped me to do, I went beyond and above and started looking for other things to make my jumping better. I started working on my rhythm, control and balance, walking lines, keeping my head straight and those things that other kids weren’t doing at that time. Things started getting better and in the tenth grade my goal became to break the high school record. So, I asked the coach, ‘What is the high school record?’ He said, ‘six feet, eleven and a half inches.’ That shocked me and I said, ‘Why has nobody jumped seven feet? It’s just half an inch.’ He told me it was all a mental thing. I didn’t know what that meant for jumping because I thought if you wanted to do something that you could do it. That’s the way I was brought up – to do the things you needed to do to accomplish your goal. He taught me things to do in training and I was confident that I was going to break that seven-foot barrier.
GCR: What are your recollections of that meet in early 1968 when you first high jumped seven feet?
RB I kept working and working and we had a track meet called the Compton Cup at our high school. It was April the fourth and I told my coach, ‘I’m going to break the record at that track meet.’ He didn’t believe it, but I believed it. I felt good and I felt confidence. My coach told me I had to jump seven feet to go to the Olympic Trials. I remember waking up that morning and feeling very good. The temperature was about seventy-five or eighty degrees. I had worked on my steps and my approach and had it in my head that I was going to break that record. The meet started and I started jumping at around six feet, six inches. It was going well until at six feet, eight inches I spiked myself. They wanted to put six stiches in it because it was open wide. I told them that I wanted to continue to jump because I came to break the record. ‘Put a Band Aid on it.’ But it was open too wide, so a nurse put butterfly stiches on it, closed it up and wrapped my leg with tape. That took about thirty minutes, and I was still pumped up to break that record. When this happened, they thought I was done jumping, but I told them I would continue and to raise the bar to six feet, ten inches. I jumped that height. Our school record was six feet, eleven and a half inches and they put the bar at seven feet. I told them to raise it up to seven feet and a half inch because back in the day we used those bars that would bend in the middle and the measurement after jumping a height could be below what you thought you jumped. I wanted them to go a half inch above seven feet. Everyone was saying things like, ‘Is this kid crazy?’ I had the confidence. They set the bar at seven feet and a half inch and called in officials from AAU, and we had to wait on them. I was still pumped up and exercising to stay warm. He told me to go. I stood there and focused. I looked at what I had to do. I visualized everything and jumped it on my first jump. I broke the international scholastic high school record, and my next step was to go to the Olympics.
GCR: How did you make the move mentally and physically from a seven-foot high school high jumper to an Olympian?
RB My goal was to make the 1968 Olympic team. Everyone was telling me how hard it was because we had so many great athletes at that time. Here I was in high school and talking about making that team. No one believed it, but I had confidence that I could do it. I continued to work hard. I had a dream, a goal and a plan. I had to put a strategy together and it wasn’t to win the Olympic Trials – it was to stay in the top five. If I stayed in the top five, my coach had told me that they took three high jumpers to the Olympics. I figured that, if I stayed in the top five, two people would mess up. Then there would be three left and I figured I would be in that top three. That strategy worked the whole time I was jumping. I stayed in the top five and, every time I would look up at the leaderboard, I was in second, first or third. Everything was working for me, so I didn’t put any pressure on myself to win. Coach Williams told me we would go to three meets, and they would take the top three to the Olympic Trials. That’s why I had my strategy to stay in the top five and not to win but stay in there. When it all went down, I was always first, second or third. One of the meets was in Miami, one was in Denver and the last was in Lake Tahoe. I was on my way and felt very good when we got to Lake Tahoe, and I was there with all those great guys. They pumped me up just being with them and watching them train. When I got up to Lake Tahoe, I was looking for other things to do so I would feel stronger. My goal was to make that team and I did. We had qualifying on Sunday morning at ten o’clock and I was pumped up and ready to go. I jumped my first jump at seven feet and made that height. I jumped seven feet, two inches and made that also. Next, we went up one inch to seven feet, three inches and I missed before I made it and was on the team. That was my adventure to make that Olympic team. It all worked out for me by staying positive, working hard and showing people that age is just a number, and you can do what you want to do as long as you work hard and concentrate and focus. Those are the things that got me there.
GCR: You used the straddle technique of high jumping, and all jumpers went over feet first with a technique such as the straddle or western roll except Dick Fosbury who utilized the flop method. If Dick had missed his last jump to make the team at the 1968 Olympic Trials and John Hartsfield went instead, would it have delayed the rapid switch to the flop technique or possibly left the straddle and roll methods as the preferred techniques?
RB I think the straddle and roll would have stayed more popular. The straddle that Ed Caruthers and I used had so much technique that a lot of kids couldn’t focus and concentrate on the technique of that method. That is what I mastered. I kept working on it and working on it and keeping my arms and legs and head controlled. Control, rhythm, and balance were what I had to work on going over that bar. When Fosbury did the flop, I remember him going into the weight room, working out and lifting weights. It seemed to me that lifting the weights was making his legs stronger and body stronger and was a better way of jumping for those who couldn’t do the technical part of the straddle. He found that easy way to jump. I think he may have been jumping off two feet when he first started with the flop, and they told him he had to jump off one foot and he performed jumping off one foot. He made his own way of jumping and it worked for him. When we got down to Mexico City, everyone was shocked to see that. It took off in popularity when the whole world saw it.
GCR: An area where athletes are measured and remembered is for championships. How would you say your championship record stands the test of time with victories including the 1971 and 1973 NCAA DII and DI Championships and the USA 1971 Indoor and 1970 and 1971 Outdoor Championships?
RB I was already an Olympian. When I taught myself to make that Olympic team, I wanted to keep it going. I worked on my technique and my approach. Those were the two areas where I focused. I also did a lot of stretching. Those three – technique and approach and stretching were what I did and everything else happened.
GCR: Jumpers can get tired out if they jump at too many heights and can have trouble with technique at lower heights. How did this affect your consideration of what height you would enter the competition?
RB In high school, my coach was looking for a championship and my competitors were starting at six feet, six inches, and I couldn’t jump at the low heights. That is where I spiked my self when I was trying to break the high school record because I had too much power and didn’t know how to adjust. When I jumped over the bar at those low heights, and it didn’t feel good. I felt out of control. I was the first one to start a competition at seven feet.
GCR: Consistency is often hard to achieve in athletics for a lengthy period. Are you pleased when you look back that you were consistent with five World Rankings, including second in 1970, 1971 and 1973 plus ranking in the U.S. Top Ten for nine straight years?
RB It came about because I was doing the right things when I was young. I worked on my control, rhythm and balance, my approach, and my technique. It all worked for me, and I continued to do it every day. I also used to go on the football field and kick the cross bar to keep up my jumping ability and to keep my hips up. I did different types of training to keep me consistent. Starting competitions at seven feet kept me focused on what I had to do. Many times, when I went to meets, guys wanted me to start jumping with them because they couldn’t jump seven feet. They wanted me to jump the lower heights with them and sometimes I did. Though sometimes I would hurt myself and miss a height because I was trying too hard at the lower heights. I wasn’t always out to win, and I would sometimes miss, and another guy would win. These other guys loved me, and I loved them, but they didn’t think they had a chance. I wanted to see that everybody had a chance to win. I didn’t want to dominate. I had fun jumping. When I won, I won and when I didn’t, I didn’t. It was good to see the other guys win sometime.
GCR: You won many meets and set quite a few meet records – at least 27 meet records in college and dozens more in high school and post-collegiately. How exciting was it when the meet announcer would tell the crowd you were attempting a meet record, you sailed over the bar, and the crowd was enthusiastic?
RB That was very exciting. I remember jumping in one of the meets in high school and they stopped the meet. I was getting ready to jump seven feet and they stopped the whole meet so the crowd could watch me go over seven feet. That made me feel good when they stopped the meet. There were indoor meets where they stopped the meet when I made my attempt to jump seven feet, one inch or seven feet, two inches. That was exciting and I loved it. That made me feel good and special. Those were exciting days.
GCR: Your consistency was evident a few years earlier in high school when you won the high jump at the California Interscholastic Federation Championships three straight years. People know of the ‘three-peat’ that Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls did in the NBA twice, but he may have stolen it from you. Did you realize the significance of your three-peat at the time which was only the seventh time in 55 years of the CIF, or did it become more meaningful years later when you looked back?
RB I didn’t know how rare that was to three-peat. I was loving what I was doing. Many times, when I jumped and made a certain accomplishment, I didn’t realize it until somebody mentioned it. I didn’t always know the significance of what I did as I was just having fun jumping. Now I look back and I hear you talking about it, and you are right – I did it.
GCR: We are usually shaped as human beings early in life by our family and friends. I know I was by my mom and dad and being the oldest of four brothers. How did being one of ten children of a hard-working mother contribute to molding you into a high-achieving young man?
RB We grew up poor like everybody else. I watched my mother struggling to put food on the table. Sometimes I would go with her to jobs where she was cleaning up people’s homes. One day she was coming home at seven-thirty or eight o’clock at night with bags of food. She was tired, but she still had to cook for us. I thought that I had to do something. I was a tall guy and Wilt Chamberlain was my hero at the time. I thought since I was tall that maybe I could play basketball like him and make a pro team and help her out. Muhammad Ali was also a great inspirational person. I heard him talking about making the Olympic tram and making life better. All the other baseball players and basketball players and other athletes coming from where I came from made it and I said, ‘Maybe I can make it too.’ My dreams came when I started high jumping. I thought that, if I made the Olympic team, I could help my mother get us food and clothing and buy a home. She was a very inspirational person to me. My biggest goal was to help her and my sisters and brothers who were below me. I was the second oldest and I thought I would stick by my mom and help her. A lot of times I would go out and find little odd jobs to bring some money home and feed everybody. Before I made the Olympic team, I started going to the car wash and washing cars. I was bringing home money that way. We were living in Watts at that time. When there were the riots in 1965, afterwards I went and cleaned bricks to bring some money home. After I made the Olympic team, I started working at McDonalds and did other odd jobs. Even though I was an Olympian, it didn’t faze me one bit. I wanted to make life better for my family, especially since my mom was my most inspirational person in my life.
GCR: Your autobiography, ‘How I Got Over – Above the Bar from the Olympics to Medical Miracles,’ was published in 2021. How can those who are interested obtain a copy of your life’s story?
RB There have been some slight issues with the publishing, but it is available online at Amazon and at Barnes and Noble or will be available soon.
GCR: FORMATIVE YEARS AND HIGH SCHOOL COMPETITION You mentioned that at Williford Junior High School you high jumped six feet, five inches and were helped by Jim Newman. I know you also played basketball. Were you an active child and in what sports did you participate as a youth and teen before starting high jumping and how did you get started high jumping?
RB I played basketball and baseball at Williford Junior High School. I was also a sprinter, but I couldn’t lean well. I probably would have been a sprinter if I learned how to lean at the finish. Every time I tried to lean, I would fall and hurt myself and bang up my knees. Guys would beat me anyways because they could run past me. I was uncoordinated at that time. But Jim Newman saw the raw talent in me, and he told me we were going to fix that. And he did. He told me how to work on my control and my balance and I worked on it. I got better and things started happening for me. There was a big difference. It grew from that point when I learned how to balance myself when I was jumping.
GCR: When you moved on to Compton High School, you had Willie Wilson coaching you and, during your freshman year in high school, teammate Bill Morris who jumped six feet, ten inches. How much did the combination of your coach and teammate help you to, so to speak, soar to new heights?
RB They stuck with me and helped me to go to a new level. They were the ones that helped me to get my steps together. They would watch me as I would run toward the bar and tell me what I did wrong. Once I found out what I did wrong, I would work on it. I had eyes on me at that time and that is what helped. All I did was listen to what they said and try to produce. It helped so much by them being there.
GCR: Let’s look at your three CIF Championships. First, as a sophomore in 1967, there were five guys battling for the win. Ken Burnside and you both cleared six feet, nine-and-one-quarter inches while defending champ Tom Clyburn, Ronnie Wicks and Otis Hailey all cleared six feet, eight inches. What were highlights of your first CIF title when five guys were so close?
RB I think I won on fewer misses. We had several meets where I had to do jump offs, so Willie Wilson told me, ‘Rey, from now on we’re going to make sure that when you are ready to jump so that you are going to make it on your first jump.’ That stuck in my mind, and I learned to do that. He told me to stand there and focus, visualize everything I was going to do and then to do it. He said, ‘Don’t have a jump off.’ I did lose a couple meets in jump offs. From that point on, I started making every height on my first jump and making a perfect jump the first time.
GCR: Your junior year in 1968 you were the first to jump seven feet at the CIF meet with Otis Hailey two inches behind at six feet, ten inches. How tough was that competition, especially since Hailey also went over seven feet that year?
RB I already had in my mind that I was going to jump seven feet. As time went on that season and by the time I got to the CIF meet, I was comfortable making seven feet. I had worked on my steps, approach, rhythm, balance and control, and technique so I was ready. I told myself I was going to jump seven feet at that meet, and it happened. Willie Williams told me to make it on my first jump. Once I stood there and visualized the jump and took my time, it worked for me. I had to calm myself down and do the job I came to do, and it worked for me.
GCR: No one was close to you at the 1969 CIF meet as you again jumped seven feet and no one else jumped higher than six feet, eight inches. Were you, as an Olympian, a man amongst boys?
RB Even though I made the Olympic team, it didn’t faze me. I loved to jump. I didn’t think about how I had made the Olympic team until someone said something. They always did, but I didn’t let that bother me. I figured I’m in high school and I need to finish this. I decided to start at seven feet because I was so confident that I could make seven feet. If I could jump six feet eight inches or six feet ten inches it wasn’t going to put me in a championship meet, but seven feet and above was going to. My thinking was to jump seven feet every time and I could qualify to go to whatever meets I could. I stopped jumping at the lower heights and would come in at seven feet. The kids didn’t like that. They loved watching me do it but wanted me to jump with them at the lower heights since I was an Olympian. I did so in some meets where the meets didn’t count as much and weren’t such a big deal. I would jump with them; it was fun and enjoyable.
GCR: Were you also serving as a mentor to your teammate, Joe Bradley, who jumped six feet, eight and a half inches during the year like Bill Morris paved the way for you three years earlier?
RB I did mentor him. Everything I had learned, I tried to instill in Joe and others on my team. They all didn’t practice as hard as I did or, if they did, it didn’t work out as well. Bradley ended up getting up around six feet, eleven inches before he was done jumping, but couldn’t clear the seven-foot barrier.
GCR: In addition to your high jump prowess, you led Compton to the 1968 and 1969 CIF State basketball championships and undefeated seasons both years with sixty-two straight wins. How welcome was it to divert your attention from the high jump to another sport and how rewarding to not just achieve individual success, but to win a championship as a team with a dozen guys like Larry Holyfield, Keith Lee, Johnny Stevenson, Lewis Nelson, Tommy Campbell, Mike Hopwood, Larry Morris, Greg Shelton, Dwight Taylor, Franklin Pierce, Ron Richardson and Ted Salter?
RB That was very interesting because I loved basketball once I learned to play. Going back to Williford Junior High, Coach Newman also taught me the game of basketball. What he taught me back then, I continued to work on along with the high jump. When I got to Compton High School, we had a great coach, Bill Armstrong, who had coached championship teams before us, but never back-to-back like we did. We had a bunch of great guys who wanted to play for and have these championships. We all knew each other and stuck together. We all grew up in Compton and went to Gonzalez Park, which became Christy’s Park. We all played there and had a close-knit bunch of guys. Once Bill brought us together and worked with us, we had this bond that we could beat anybody, and it happened that we did. We could have had three straight championships, but we got cheated out of the first one. We decided we weren’t going to let that happen again. In 1968 and 1969 our plan was to try to beat everybody by at least ten points and to not have close games. We all worked together. We all knew each other. We knew each other’s moves and where we were going to be. We ended up beating every team by at least eight to ten points.
GCR: 1968 OLYMPIC TRIALS AND OLYMPICS Three days before high jump qualifying in Mexico City, there was the human rights stand taken by Tommie Smith and John Carlos on the podium after the 200-meter medals were awarded and the U.S. National Anthem was played. How did this and their banishment from the Olympic Games affect you emotionally and were you able to focus one hundred percent on your competition?
RB We had heard from some about possibly boycotting the Olympics before we even made the team. None of us wanted to boycott anything. We made the team and we wanted to go to Mexico City. There were many things happening in 1968 with unrest and social justice. We had to kind of filter through that. I was young and trying to understand what was going on. I was not going to let that bother me because I had put in my mind that I wanted to go to Mexico City. When we got to Mexico City, there were protests going on there also. What really affected us as a team is we wanted to let people know about injustice and human rights issues. Students in Mexico City heard that the Olympic Village, which was supposed to be given to the poor after the Games, was going to be turned into condos for the rich. The students didn’t like that and started protesting. We had heard about the protest, but the government didn’t want us to know about the protest. Before we arrived, they cleaned the area up. We didn’t know they had shot and killed a lot of students who were protesting. Those kids were murdered down there in Mexico City, and no one knew about it. The word got out that the USA Olympic team was going to have a big demonstration, so we decided not to do that. We decided we were going to do something to protest during the Olympics, but everyone would individually make a stand for human rights. When Tommie and John got finished with their 200 meters and raised their fists, it wasn’t a black power statement. It was about human rights for everybody and definitely for the Mexicans who were murdered that nobody knew about. That was a big story, and the press didn’t even cover the kids who were killed at the University of Mexico. It wasn’t publicized and found out about until many years later. It wasn’t in the news. That was part of the demonstration for human rights around the world.
GCR: Three days later your qualifying competition began, you missed your first jump and ultimately six jumpers cleared seven feet and one quarter inch while you were one of another seven jumpers to clear six feet, eleven and a half inches meters to make the final. How did you feel about your performance and were you happy to get qualifying out of the way?
RB I was very happy to qualify for the finals. When I missed that jump, I kind of lost concentration. What happened was that I didn’t expect my mother to be there in Mexico City and, when I was sitting there watching the people in the stands, my eyes focused on my mother and grandmother and Coach Willie Williams. I saw them sitting there and they hadn’t let me know they were coming. That kind of shocked me. I got nervous and missed. Then I pulled myself together and made the qualifying jump and I was okay.
GCR: In the final, you were perfect in your first three jumps through seven feet and one quarter inch, but passed at seven feet, one inch before missing all three attempts at seven feet, one-and-three-quarter inches and finishing fifth. How were you jumping that day, and do you feel you could have done anything different to make the medals?
RB My strategy worked and, when I looked around, there were five of us left. I wanted to stay in the top five. I was still in high school and had to go back to finish my senior year, so that was my medal – to be in the top five in the world in the Olympics. Being as young as I was at seventeen, I wasn’t thinking about winning a medal at Mexico City. All I wanted was to be an Olympian. When I qualified to be an Olympian, that was great for me. I was happy and my strategy of staying in the top five worked.
GCR: Did you participate in the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, watch much of the track and field action and other sports? Do you have any great memories of meeting athletes from other countries?
RB The highlight was being there and meeting all the other athletes from around the world and the athletes on the American team. That was great. When we went to eat in the dining areas is where we met everybody, and we talked. Even if they couldn’t speak much English, we still understood them. We had a great time. It was a wonderful time meeting my teammates and the great athletes from other countries.
GCR: There were boxers, such as George Foreman and basketball players, such as Lew Alcindor who later changed his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. It must have been cool to eat with them and chit chat some.
RB It was a great experience. Everybody got along very well at the Games, and it was a great feeling to be on that team with all those great guys.
GCR: COLLEGIATE YEARS How did you decide to go to Cal-Poly and were there other colleges in the mix of your choices?
RB I didn’t want to go far. At that time, I was jumping well and figured I would be at all the meets anyway. I didn’t think that I had to go to a big university or out of state. A friend of mine, Lowell Henry, was going to Cal-Poly. He called me up and said, ‘Rey, I’m going to Cal-Poly in San Luis Obispo. It’s a beautiful campus. You ought to come up and check it out.’ I went and checked it out and it was where I wanted to go. I wanted to go to a college where I would have peace and quiet and still go to all the important meets. That was a beautiful place I chose. Many large college coaches didn’t understand why I wanted to go to a small college like that. It was the peace and quietness that I was looking for and that worked for me.
GCR: In 1971 you won the NCAA DII and DI Championships, clearing seven feet, three inches at the latter meet with the next six jumpers all three inches behind you at seven feet even. Was this win as easy as it looks now or were you pushed a bit before you hit your big jumps?
RB I just loved jumping and all the technical parts of jumping I had practiced were working for me. Every time they raised the bar, I was able to make the height. My plan was to focus and concentrate and make each height on my first jump. Each time I jumped, it worked, and I did clear on my first jump. I love jumping and it happened.
GCR: After your junior year at Cal-Poly, you came close to a second Olympic team, finishing fourth at the 1972 Olympic Trials, though you missed seven feet, one and a half inches and the trio of Dwight Stones, Ronnie Jordan and Chriss Dunn all cleared that height and seven feet, three inches. What was you take on being in fourth place and missing by one place? Did you have an off day or any minor injuries that affected you?
RB I was ready, but then my mother and father decided the night before to come up for the meet. They surprised me and there were no rooms in Oregon for them to stay. When they drove up, I was shocked, but happy. We were trying to find a room for them and couldn’t. So, I stayed in the car with them all night. I remember waking up and I hadn’t slept well in the car. That is what threw me off on my jumps. I ate and was feeling very sluggish. I knew I was going to have to try to recover and make myself feel better. When I started jumping, I missed once and knew it wasn’t going to go well. I was ready, but now I wasn’t ready. My timing was off because I felt sluggish. I had to compete and wanted to make that team. I think I would have done a whole lot better if I had a good night’s sleep. It just didn’t work out. I wasn’t disappointed about taking fourth place. Things happen. All I wanted was to be an Olympian and I was from the time before. Not making the team and being an alternate was fine. I went and jumped all through Europe. They called me to come to Munich because one of the three jumpers had got hurt. But he still wanted to jump. It didn’t bother me. He had made the team and I had already participated in the Olympics, and it wasn’t a big deal for me. I had fun travelling around the world.
GCR: In 1973 you again won the NCAA DII and DI Championships and had a battle for the ages with Tom Woods of Oregon State as you both cleared seven feet, four inches and had three close attempts each at seven feet, five inches before you won on fewer misses. Was that possibly the most competitive meet you ever had one on one with such a big title at stake?
RB That was a great competition. I remember them building it up beforehand. That was great and I enjoyed that time Tom and I jumped in Oregon. I remember going up there. Tom Woods was a good guy. I loved his attitude. I was there to jump and have fun. That was probably the most competition I ever had as far as seeing who was going to win a battle. Tom and I were laughing and shaking hands and then we said, ‘Let the games began.’ We started going at it and it was a great time.
GCR: You won countless other meets while in college including the first three of six straight Mt. Sac Relays. Are there some other big victories that come to mind during your collegiate years for a clutch jump at the end when you were behind, beating a particularly tough opponent or both?
RB No, it doesn’t because I didn’t pay attention to who I was going to jump against when I started jumping. My plan was to make each height on my first jump and have fun with it. I didn’t want to think about my competition and who was there. I wanted to focus on what I was going to do and how I was going to do it. That worked for me.
GCR: POST-COLLEGIATE YEARS At the U.S. Championships, you were Silver Medalist in 1974 and Bronze Medalist in 1976. You had a shot at the 1976 Olympic Trials as one of 13 finalists but didn’t clear a height in the finals. How did that competition play out and were you having to balance athletics with working and other interests?
RB At that time, I had a job working at Hughes Aircraft and I was married. I didn’t focus as much on high jumping because I had to make a living and take care of my family. I was still competing because I was able to jump seven feet. It wasn’t a big deal to make the team. I wanted to show up and see what I could do. I had fun. I had my time and now it was other guys’ turn. I wasn’t trying to make a trade out of high jumping. I did what I could and got out of it what I could and did it for the fun.
GCR: In 1979 you earned your final medal in a USA Championships, with a Bronze Medal for a seven-foot, two- and three-quarter inch jump. At age twenty-nine, was it fun to still be jumping so well when you were married and working?
RB That was surprising. I was happy. I thought I had lost the chance to place high. I was still working out but knew it wouldn’t be easy to stay in the top three. I guess if you don’t worry about what’s going on and do what you normally do, it can work for you and it worked for me. I was surprised to be twenty-nine and still in the competition.
GCR: Were the 1980 Olympic Trials a swan song as out of the huge field of 52 jumpers you made the qualifying height along with less than twenty jumpers, but then no heighted in the finals with bad cross winds in a Trials which was mainly for pride since President Carter was boycotting the 1980 Olympics anyway?
RB I was still working at Hughes Aircraft. My managers were following what I was doing, and I didn’t realize that. They said, ‘Why haven’t you been jumping?’ I told them it was because I was working. They told me they wanted to see me participate in competitions and whenever there was a meet to let them know, go on to it and they would cover for me. So, they were behind me and let me compete. In fact, they built a track on the company premises for me to work out. I don’t think it was only for me, but for everybody, but I knew they wanted me to work out. I had told them that after I got home at night I was burned out, so they told me to run and stretch and work out at lunch. They put in showers and that made me feel good that I could change and work out at Hughes. That’s why I went to the Olympic Trials in 1980. They wanted me to continue to jump and have fun.
GCR: You mentioned briefly about competing in Europe. Did you compete in some of the regular dual meets against other countries and what are some highlights of international competitions and victories when you represented the U.S. overseas?
RB I did participate in those meets. The main one I remember was in London for a big meet. That was interesting as it was an Olympic type of competition with so many foreign countries there. I was representing the United States. Those were very nice meets. I met a lot of very nice athletes and high jumpers. It was great jumping with those guys from all over the world. We had a big meet in Africa, and I remember jumping there. I went to the Russian meet, and they had some good high jumpers there in Leningrad Stadium. They built that meet up and started talking about the high jumpers and triple jumpers. They were talking about how their jumpers were going to beat the American jumpers. We stayed there for about two or three weeks, and I was working out in Leningrad Stadium. They built up the excitement about me competing against their high jumpers. When the meet came, I beat the Russian high jumpers. I may have been the only American high jumper to beat the Russian high jumpers on their own turf. At first the crowd was booing because I was beating their jumpers, but they loved me after we were finished. I remember the meet promoters telling me that the fans wanted signatures. They set up a table and said, ‘Brown, you sit here and sign autographs, as many as you can.’ There were a hundred and four thousand people there to watch the meet. I signed autographs for about eight hours. When you are in Russia, you must do what they say. They loved me, so I did. Afterward, they took me to meet Valeriy Brumel. They don’t normally do that. The KGB had me in their car and they rushed me out to his place. We sat there in his apartment talking. We had an interpreter, of course. That was very nice to meet him. I had wanted to meet him. They loved me there in Russia, so they took care of me, and it was nice.
GCR: You competed as a master athlete, even jumping five feet, six inches in 2009 at nearly sixty years of age. What were some highlights of your master competitions through the years, and do you just love high jumping and sailing over the bar?
RB I figured since I could jump, I would continue. I just loved working out and staying in shape. Since there were age group meets, I figured I could participate. I did and it was a lot of fun. I still loved jumping. I saw some guys I jumped with when I was younger who were still out there and some new guys who all wanted to jump against me. It was fun meeting new people in the masters’ groups. I had fun doing what I did.
GCR: TRAINING In a typical day and week, what were the items you focused on in training, and what did your college coach do to help you step up after Coach Newman and Coach Williams set your base?
RB In college at Cal-Poly San Luis Obispo, Steve Simmons was my coach. Steve knew his stuff and he was out there watching me and telling me what he saw that I needed to fix. He helped me out a lot. Steve helped me with my consistency and was a great person in my group of coaches.
GCR: Did you do much running to keep up your endurance and strength and did you do strength training and flexibility exercises?
RB I ran a mile every day. In my training I would run 100-yard dashes on the football field or run goal post to goal post. That helped me with my endurance. At first, I would run up and walk back, run up and walk back. I got to the point where I would run up there and then run back. I felt my endurance picking up and I was feeling stronger. So, those one-hundred-yard dashes helped. Then I did a lot of stretching for twenty minutes after I ran my mile for flexibility. After I finished my training, I would stretch another twenty minutes for flexibility. I never used weights even to make the Olympic team. I ran hills and the hundred-yard dashes and the mile every day with a lot of stretching.
GCR: After the Fosbury Flop method was introduced and became more popular, did you ever try it in practice for fun or did you stay away from that and focus on your own technique?
RB I focused on my technique. There were guys who switched over and did the flop, but it looked dangerous to me. I was so used to doing it my way that I continued to jump my way. Many guys had a lot of success with the flop. I think the only reason a lot of them changed was because the straddle was so technical, and you had to work on your technique all the time. They figured they were only going to jump a certain height and they could jump higher using the flop. It wasn’t as technical as the straddle.
GCR: WRAPUP AND FINAL THOUGHTS From your many years of high jumping, who were some of your favorite competitors in high school, college and post-collegiately due to their ability to give you a strong competition and bring out your best?
RB I liked jumping with Dwight Stones and Tom Woods and Otis Hailey. They pushed me but, again, I didn’t concentrate on them but made sure that my technique was good. I had fun doing what I could and if I won or lost it was no big deal because I didn’t take it seriously. I had fun jumping against them and I’m sure they had fun jumping against me and I was satisfied wherever I finished. We had fun talking because we were all friends and there was no hate or ill feelings. Probably the only one who tried to throw us off our game was Dwight Stones. I knew about Dwight, and he didn’t bother me. I watched him try to get under the other jumpers’ skin. Once you get under their skin, their whole day is messed up. He didn’t bother me that much. I liked jumping against him. He was a confident person, and I was confident, so we had fun together. After the meets were over, we were friends. Later, we found out we had the same birthday, December the sixth. He called me up one time and said, ‘Rey, my birthday is also December the sixth!’ So, we would call each other every year to say ‘Happy Birthday’ to each other.
GCR: Some accolades you have received include the 1968 Track and Field News High School Athlete of the Year, 1980 Mt. Sac Relays Hall of Fame, 1993 Cal-Poly Athletics HOF, 2010 Compton High School HOF, 2015 Athletes in Excellence Award from The Foundation for Global Sports Development and 2019 National High School Track and Field HOF. Is it both humbling and rewarding to be so honored?
RB I was honored because I didn’t think anybody was paying attention to what I had done. Then I received these awards and organizations were calling me to tell me they were going to honor me. I didn’t pay so much attention to what I was doing when I was jumping, and I didn’t know how important it was. But, to some people it was very important, especially when the Foundation for Global Sports Development gave me that award. I thought, ‘Wow! Maybe I did do something.’ I was proud and it made me think back to what I did though I couldn’t remember a lot of it. In fact, I’m blown away with the stuff you are coming up with because a lot of that I had forgotten like people I jumped against and competitions that took place.
GCR: You have coached at several high schools including Eisenhower, Redland East Valley, St. Bernard’s, Pomona, and Martin Luther King and participated in many camps and clinics. How great is it to mentor youth to become better athletes and people and are there any special moments or memories that stand out from your helping youngsters to help themselves?
RB Again, I’m impressed that you truly did your homework. Working with kids was what I wanted to do to give back as much as I could. It didn’t matter who someone was or what they did – if they called on me, I was there. I remember when I got started there were coaches and other people who took time with me. I didn’t know I would blossom the way I did, and I don’t know if the kids I’m working with are going to blossom. But I want to give them a chance. That is all I wanted to do was to work with them and give them a chance. Maybe I could show them something that others didn’t know about. I wanted to show them what I did, how I did it to make a team and that, if they worked at it, they could do it also. I encouraged a positive attitude, staying focused and wanting their goal. A lot of these kids wanted it and I worked with them and was happy to do so know matter who it was. I had a lot of fun working with these kids at the places you mentioned. Some of the kids blossomed and I received phone calls telling me how well they did in life. Many had done well in business. I helped them to learn on the track and off the track.
GCR: Your photography is featured in the Art of the Olympians, which was founded by your 1968 Olympic teammate and four-time Discus Gold Medalist, Al Oerter. How joyous has it been to be part of this project along with many athletes including your 1968 Olympic track and field teammates, Al Oerter, Bob Beamon and Larry Young and other athletes like figure skater, Peggy Fleming?
RB It was great to be a part of that project. I remember seeing Peggy Fleming in a magazine and how great she was competing at age sixteen and seventeen and that’s what sparked me. I thought that, if she could do this when she was in high school, I could too. She inspired me. That is when I started working at it even more to try to make the Olympic team. When I saw her skating in the magazine at the Winter Olympics, she was my first inspirational person. And I still have that magazine.
GCR: You have had heart failure, a kidney transplant and some other health issues. Can you relate a bit about your health issues, how your heath is currently and what do you do for health and fitness?
RB I continue to walk. I went on kidney dialysis in 2004 and was on for two years. That was an experience trying to learn how to get off dialysis and thinking that my kidney was going to kick back in. I kept asking the doctors how to get off dialysis. They said, ‘The only way you’re going to get off is a kidney transplant or die.’ I told them I wasn’t on that second ticket. I found out that many people were on dialysis for their kidneys but had a lot of other problems and were dying. The only issue I had was a kidney problem and I didn’t want to be in that group. What I found out was that no one was walking or stretching or doing activities they were doing before they went on dialysis. So, my plan was to continue to work out since the doctor told me I wouldn’t get off dialysis unless I got a kidney transplant or died. I did a lot of walking, and I wasn’t feeling sick like others were. It made me stronger. I went to the doctor one day and said to him, ‘How do you know my kidney is shot and won’t come back?’ He told me that my records said my kidneys weren’t coming back. But I felt good because I wasn’t just walking. I was playing basketball and running the whole court. Then we found out I had three blocked arteries. I didn’t know because they didn’t slow me down. The doctors wanted me to go home and rest. I told them that I couldn’t get better by resting. Something in my head kept telling me I wasn’t a sick person, so I kept listening to my thoughts. God was sending me messages to move and move and so I kept walking and getting better and stronger. One day I felt so good that I thought maybe my kidneys would kick back in. The doctors told me, ‘That’s wishful thinking.’ One day my kidney did kick in. I was in dialysis and had to pee. The technicians said they were taking the liquids out of me, and it was my imagination in my head. I told them I had to go, and they brought me a bed pan. I filled it up halfway and they said, ‘How long has this been happening?’ I said, ‘For at least a month.’ One of the nurses had them check me out to see if the kidney was filtering. They gave me a jug to take home for a week. When they tested it, they learned that my kidneys had kicked back in. They were scratching their heads and wondering how that happened. They never had a person in my shape with records showing the kidneys weren’t coming back. I guess positive thinking and doing what I did to stay active helped build them back up. Of course, God was the main one who said what was going to happen. I kept listening to the words coming down into my head and it worked for me. I was off dialysis for eight years. Then I had to go back on dialysis in 2014 and they put me at the top of the list for a kidney transplant. Since I had the constricted arteries in my chest, to get the kidney transplant, I had to get those taken care of. They unblocked four arteries in June of 2016. I healed and they put me on the list for a kidney and I received my new kidney also in 2016 on December the seventh, the day after my birthday. A week after that surgery I got up and started walking again. I’ve been good ever since and I continue to work out. I’m walking and stretching and keeping a positive attitude and it’s all working out for me.
GCR: When you are asked to sum up in a minute or two the major lessons you have learned during your life from the discipline of athletics, the example set by your mother and family, working through health issues and overcoming other adversity, what you would like to share with my readers that will help them on the pathway to reaching their potential athletically and as a human being that is the ‘Reynaldo Brown Philosophy of Life?’
RB Whenever something tough happens to you, don’t think it is over. We have heard of people having problems and the first thing you are encouraged to do is rest. If you aren’t used to resting and you want to make your life better, you’ve got to get up and move. I felt that movement was the key to healthy living. I figured that out when I was in the hospital. I had lost all my muscle tone and I was flabby. I knew I had to walk and build back up. I notice when people get sick, they continue to go down because they don’t have strength. To get that strength back up, you must keep pushing through it. Don’t think that movement can’t be done. I couldn’t do half of what I could before, but I could do one fourth. When something happens to you and you must stop, then listen to your head and stop. That is what I did, I used to carry a chair with me in case I got tired. I would sit in that chair, take deep breaths, get up and move again. That is what people must do. You must challenge what happens to you. Doctors are good and they helped me. But a lot of times if they do it by the book and you don’t take a chance, you may not get better. Sports taught me to take a chance. In everyday life we should take chances. I took a chance to see what would happen if, as sick as I was, I could push forward to do a fourth of what I was used to. Knowing when to stop and knowing when to push onward are the things that sports taught me. I continue to do so in real life. I take chances but don’t overdo it. That is the key – to not overdo it. Do what your body tells you that you can do. Listen to your body and things will work out for you. If you don’t do anything then who knows? Do something. The movement is key to healthy living.
  Inside Stuff
Hobbies/Interests I loved the outdoors and going hiking or riding bikes. I love travelling and I got that when I made the Olympics. I wanted to see the world and I got a chance. I haven’t had a chance to see everything I want to in the United States, as I enjoy travelling by driving to places
Nicknames Since I was the tallest kid at Williford Junior High, Coach Newman’s nickname for me was ‘Big Brown.’ I had some other nicknames, but ‘Big Brown’ was the name that stuck
Favorite movies I wasn’t a big movie fan. When I was with people who liked movies or wanted to go to movies, I would go with them and watch, but I wasn’t a big fan. I didn’t have a special movie or type of movie that I liked
Favorite TV shows I liked the shows I grew up with like ‘My Three Sons’ and ‘Leave it to Beaver.’ I liked all the cartoons that were out – ‘Felix the Cat’ and ‘Mighty Mouse’ and ‘The Flintstones’ are the shows I grew up with. After I started working out in Junior High School, all that TV watching went away and I became an athlete
Favorite music Music was my thing. When I jumped, I would listen to music to stay focused. Jazz was my favorite. My uncle had a radio, and, at the time, there was a station, 105.1, that was the jazz station in Los Angeles. I used to listen to that. My father also listened to it. I remember waking up on Saturday mornings and listening to jazz with my father and my uncle. He would lend me his radio when I was jumping. I would be sitting on the field waiting for my turn to jump and listening to jazz. I had cassettes with jazz music. Classical music was good too
Favorite books I wasn’t a big reader in Junior High School. I remember breaking the seventh grade and eight grade high jump record. But, in the eighth grade, I became ineligible because I wasn’t studying. I didn’t know I had to keep that C- grade average to stay eligible. They told me I was ineligible and couldn’t jump. That was the most hurtful thing because I loved jumping. I couldn’t jump for the school anymore until I brought my grades up. So, I didn’t get into reading until around that time. That’s when I started picking up books and studying. If it hadn’t been for sports, I don’t think I would have graduated. I think I would have gone through the motions like most of my cousins and uncles and people in my circle. But I loved sports so much that what I was doing was using sports as a crutch for me. Sports helped me to get my academics together because I wanted to jump. Once I found out that if you don’t have academics you weren’t going to jump, I got into the books. I had to rush, and I had friends who helped me at that time. I got focused and, before you knew it, my grades were as good as my jumps were and I stayed eligible. The main books I read were my schoolbooks. My history book was a big book that I studied and read. What got me was all the places around the world that we were studying. I kept thinking that, if I continued to jump well, maybe I could go visit these places. So, it was my history book that got me going. I started getting into learning my math and English that I should have been further along on. If it hadn’t been for sports, I don’t think I would have done it
First cars My first car was one that my father gave me – a 1957 Chevy. We didn’t value that car at that time. It was old and I didn’t have money to put it together like I wanted to. Then I had a 1956 Buick Roadrunner. Those were my cars. Next, I got a 1962 Chevy Bel Aire while I was in high school and that was my dream car. Not that I look back, I wish I had kept my 1957 Chevy
Current cars I have a Yukon XL and a 2010 Mercedes S class
First jobs We talked about these in the beginning of the interview when I mentioned earning money to help my mom. I would find little jobs to bring some money home and then I washed cars at the car wash. I was bringing home money that way. After the 1965 riots in Watts, I went and cleaned bricks. After I made the Olympic team, I worked at McDonalds
Family There were ten of us. My oldest sister is Lorraine. Then it’s me, Rey. Next is my brother Maurice. We lost one brother, Marvin three years ago. Donna, Denise, Diane, Renee, Erica and Althea are my other sisters. So, nine of us are still alive and doing well. My mother – I can’t say enough about Anita Brown. She taught me the importance of being courteous, and respecting women. With seven sisters, I learned to do things for them and to watch out for them. They helped me too and kept me in line about being respectful. My father was Landis Brown. He was a good person. I have lost both parents. I have two kids - Vivalyn is the oldest, and Rey Junior. Deborah was my ex-wife. We got a divorce around 1980. I’m remarried to Carol, and we got married in 1984. She had two kids, Tracy and Rashad. We met at Hughes Aircraft where we both worked, and we dated. We decided to bring our kids together. Her kids were nine and eight years old and my kids were four and five. We brought the union together in 1984 and have been together ever since. We brought the kids up together and they grew up as brothers and sisters
Pets We had German Shepherds all through my life. When Carol and I got together we had dogs. I had a German Shepherd because I loved that type of dog. Up until 1989 we had dogs, but then we started travelling more and when they passed away, we didn’t get any more
Favorite foods I like breakfast and like to start off with anything that is put in front of me. I don’t think I ever turned down any food, even when I was travelling. I love eating. I didn’t have any special meal. I ate anything that made me feel full and healthy
Favorite beverages Water was always my favorite. I drank sodas at some times, but I wasn’t a big Coke or Pepsi person. My biggest drink was just water
First high jump memory There is a funny story about how my father taught me to high jump. Jim Newman didn’t teach me. My father taught me, and it was a negative thing that turned positive. One night we were there in Compton where we lived in a shotgun house on Morris Street. We were supposed to wash dishes, but we went to bed that night without washing dishes. He got us up that night, brought us in the kitchen and he had a list on the wall of who was supposed to wash dishes. It was my sister, Lorraine’s, turn. He started pushing her around and making her wash the dishes. She was tired because they had taken us to a park. Anyway, we didn’t wash the dishes and he was mad about that. All of us were standing in a circle right in the hallway. The back door was in front of us, and the front door was behind us. When he pushed my mother, it made me warm and I was saying, ‘Don’t push my mother.’ When he pushed her, I got in front of her and said, ‘Stop!’ He said, ‘Boy, I brought you into this world and I’ll take you out!’ That scared me. The first thing I was going to do was run out that back door. And that’s what I did because he was getting ready to grab me and who knows what he would have done. I ran from him, and I remember rushing through the screen door and running full speed. But in the back yard there was a fence and I had to figure out how to get over that fence. When I was running at full speed I thought, ‘Okay, I’m going over this fence.’ It was a regular fence of four feet or five feet. I got over the fence running at full speed, not missing a step. My timing was good, and I jumped over the fence. He thought I was going to stop. I felt his hands on my back and I was up in the air and over the fence. He crashed into the fence, and he was moaning while I was sitting on the other side listening to him. Then I decided to come home about two hours later. I thought he was going to be very mad and disappointed. When I got back in the house, he just wanted to know how I got over that fence. He thought he had me trapped. That was my first experience of high jumping, running from him. When I went to junior high school and saw guys jumping, they asked me if I had ever jumped and I said, ‘Yeah.’ After that, Jim Newman taught me the technical parts of jumping
Athletic heroes I mentioned Wilt Chamberlain, Muhammad Ali and Peggy Fleming. There were a lot of other athletes that inspired me. There were many baseball players like Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and Roberto Clemente and guys from that era. Also, basketball players like Bill Russell. In track and field there was Rafer Johnson, who came to our school when I was young and talked to us. I told him that I wanted to be an Olympian like him. So many guys in my era were an inspiration
Greatest high jump moment When I look back, it was making that Olympic team. I did something that people said probably would not happen because I was young, probably wouldn’t focus and there was a lot of competition. The biggest joy that I had was making that Olympic team and being an Olympian
Most disappointing high jump moment None of the meets were disappointing. If I made a mistake or didn’t make a team, it didn’t bother me. All I did was go back and work on what I messed up on. I learned more from my mistakes, so it helped me when I made mistakes. They helped me out, I continued to work on them, and I tried to not make that mistake the next time I jumped. Staying focused was my biggest goal
Childhood dreams The Olympics was the biggest dream for me. And I wanted to play basketball and be a professional basketball player. I did well but basketball was too political. It didn’t matter how good you were because it was the coach’s decision whether to play you or not. When I went to Cal-Poly, I played two years, but there was jealousy when we went to games and the crowd gave me a standing ovation for making the Olympic team. It would make him mad. The coach would say to me and the team, ‘This is basketball, not track.’ The coaches would say it was a team sport and they didn’t want me to be interviewed by myself. I felt the politics, so I decided to stop playing basketball and concentrate on high jumping. But I was glad I played two sports and was able to switch back and forth
Funny memories Probably the most funny and honored memory was when the USA and Russia were jumping in Norfolk, Virginia at a meet. I missed the plane. I think it was on American or Delta. I was two or three minutes late getting there to the gate. They asked me who I was, and I said, ‘Reynaldo Brown.’ Almost everybody at the airport knew me because I was always going in and out of LAX and bringing trophies home. I got a chance to know many of the porters and people who worked there. I remember the gatekeeper saying loudly, ‘Reynaldo needs to be on that plane. They’re having the Russian meet in Virginia.’ The great thing was, believe it or not, they called the plane back. They were on the runway and called it back. I don’t know if that ever happened, but it happened for me. When they got back to the gate, they opened the doors and let me on the plane. I guess they told the passengers who I was, and I got this great applause. They knew about the Russian meet back east and were happy for me to be on that plane. When you are an athlete, things happen, and I was happy. I signed autographs. That really happened
Favorite places to travel In the United States, I like Yosemite. It was big getting to see the Grand Canyon and Sequoia National Parks. My wife took me to both places. We just jumped up and went one day. The place I haven’t been that I want to go to is Yellowstone. That’s got to be my next adventure. I haven’t been to Disney World. There is still a lot that I haven’t seen, and I am looking forward to travelling here in the States. Around the world, I had a chance after reading about places in that history book at Willowford Junior High School that I was telling you about to see Venice and ride in the gondolas and to see where Romeo and Juliet lived. I went all through Italy and saw the Rome stadium. In Russia, going to Leningrad stadium and everything they took me to was so much that I don’t remember much of it. In Germany there were a lot of nice places. Being an Olympian, we were able to go to places that normal travelers couldn’t go to. They throw out the red carpet if you are an Olympian, especially in London where I got to see many nice places. It’s been beautiful and I can’t say enough. I would have to sit down and go country by country. I will hear about places in countries and tell my wife I went there and had forgotten about it