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Montezuma's Revenge (Mexico Olympics water)

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  • Montezuma's Revenge (Mexico Olympics water)

    Just watching an episode of an Australian documentary called 'You Can't Ask That' - this one featured Olympic or Paralympic Gold medallists - asked random questions by the public.

    800m champ Ralph Doubell was one of the featured guests and recalled that in Mexico City, he brushed his teeth using beer or coca-cola to avoid drinking the water.

    I remember Raelene Boyle in her auto-biography saying the Aussie team were advised not to drink tap water, just the water dispensers re-filled by the Games village staff. She said she followed this advice until she saw the staff refilling the dispensers directly from the taps.

    She also noted that fellow sprinter Diane Burge, one of the 100m favourites, was particularly affected by Montezuma's Revenge saying her pre-games training routine consisted of 'regular dashes to the toilet'.

    I know that many forum members were at the Games or have memories of them.

    Altitude is often considered the main factor in the '68 Games but any other 'Montezuma's Revenge' memories?

  • #2
    No in-person memories. As a 13 year old watching the Olympics on TV (and allowed to stay up late because a strike by public school teachers in NYC meant no school) I was struck by Wade Bell crying after his Olympic dream was destroyed by Montezuma's Revenge.

    I also remember an ad for Miller Light beer some years later featuring boxer Carlos Palomino. He said he tells all his friends from Mexico to drink Miller Light when they visit the US, but cautions them not to drink the water!

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    • #3
      I know there were some athletes (like Wade Bell) in Mexico City (1968) that experienced "Montezuma's Revenge", but I knew many more than did not get it. I was in Mexico City and I did drink from the tap a few times, but luckily I never got sick.

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      • #4
        A friend of mine from surgery residency at Duke was Steve Rerych, a cardiac surgeon. Rerych also made the 1968 Olympic team as a swimmer and made the final of the 200 freestyle but had to withdraw because of Montezuma's Revenge. He still believes he would have won a medal, although not a gold. But he has 2 of those from relays, but he does admit it was probably because 2 of his teammates were Mark Spitz and Don Schollander.

        Rerych was more than just a swimmer. Attended NC State and pitched on their baseball team that made the College World Series one year.

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        • #5
          I was there and was very careful about what I ate and drank. IIRC, I had a little discomfort one or two days, but never the full Revenge.

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          • #6
            Thanks for these insights guys.

            Been doing a little searching elsewhere on the web. Other athletes said to have been affected by Montezuma's include:

            - Dave Haggard USA Shot Putt (allagedly lost 12 pounds in 24 hours)
            - Peter Watson AUS 1500m (became sick night before his event, supposedly by brushing his teeth in shower, ran 15+ seconds slower than his seasonal best)
            - Debbie Meyer USA was sick from the revenge, but recovered to win three gold medals in swimming

            Ralph Doubell did actually contract 'la turista' but it happened after his event, when he had relaxed a little. He thought it may have been via salad which he had avoided until his event was over.

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            • #7
              My wife used to be an international flight attendant for TWA (back when there was a TWA). She said they told the crew that the safest thing to drink in foreign countries was always Coca-Cola because the Coca-Cola bottling plants, even overseas, made certain the water that they used was safe.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by bambam1729 View Post
                A friend of mine from surgery residency at Duke was Steve Rerych, a cardiac surgeon. Rerych also made the 1968 Olympic team as a swimmer and made the final of the 200 freestyle but had to withdraw because of Montezuma's Revenge. He still believes he would have won a medal, although not a gold. But he has 2 of those from relays, but he does admit it was probably because 2 of his teammates were Mark Spitz and Don Schollander.

                Rerych was more than just a swimmer. Attended NC State and pitched on their baseball team that made the College World Series one year.
                The 1968 swim team was almost as amazing as that years track team.

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                • #9
                  You're right about the U.S. swim team in Mexico City (1968), Dave, but something that has really amazed me was the American men winning every swimming event in Montreal (1976) except the 200 breaststroke. I believe the East German women did pretty much the same thing in Montreal when they won every swimming event except the four by 100 freestyle relay (which the U.S. won).

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by DoubleRBar View Post
                    You're right about the U.S. swim team in Mexico City (1968), Dave, but something that has really amazed me was the American men winning every swimming event in Montreal (1976) except the 200 breaststroke.
                    Won by Britain's (or more specifically Scotland's) David Wilkie in a World Record that lasted for 6 years.

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