The Olympic spirit is not supposed to be about the winning, but the taking part.
Say this, then, about Greg Randolph: He’s got spirit, yes he do.
The McCall, Idaho, native and former University of Idaho student competes today in the 1996 Olympic Games with absolutely no notion of victory. Indeed, even if he rides a dream race in men’s road cycling, he won’t medal.
Randolph is the member of the supporting cast for American ace Lance Armstrong - and the word is “support” and not “supplant.” If an American is going to medal, it’ll be Armstrong and not Randolph or anyone else on the U.S. team - even Steve Hegg, himself an Olympic gold medalist.
“In this situation, team success supercedes any other personal interest,” said Randolph. “A realistic view of success is a win for the team.”
Randolph, Hegg, Frankie Andreu and George Hincapie will try to abet Armstrong’s efforts - pacing, blocking, controlling the pack of riders in the 137-mile event in hopes of springing their man free near the end.
“Without us, Lance isn’t going to do it,” said Randolph.
“It’s like the lineman who blocks for the guy who scores the winning touchdown. You have to have those people. It’s just in cycling, you don’t have to fill that role every weekend.”
But if Armstrong wins the race, he’ll have a gold medal - not his blockers.
“A team medal in the road race is certainly an interesting concept,” mused Hegg.
In any case, Randolph calls the Olympics “a momentous occasion. It’s a dram for every kid and sends chills up my neck just to think that I’m here.”
Especially since he only started competitive cycling three years ago “to stay in shape.”
Two classmates at UI, Paul Stimac and Phil Martin - who worked with Randolph in a campus kitchen - introduced him to the sport. He recalls “getting pushed home by these guys” his first couple of times out, to winning races within a month or two.
“I think they were calling me ‘meal ticket’ after about three weeks,” Randolph said.
After transferring to the University of Oregon, Randolph was the top amateur in the Fresca National Championships in 1995 - then gave up school to go fulltime on the roads this year, riding for Motorola. His top finishes included eighth in the Olympic trials, second at the Concord Time Trial and second in the Zurbruggen Cup in Germany.
His hometown has produced “eight or nine Olympians,” but to his knowledge he’s the first to make the summer Games.
“It’s been amazing their reaction,” he said. “I was back for two weeks in June and they were just ecstatic. I never would have suspected it would be that big of a deal.” , DataTimes