When the Olympic flame enters the stadium on Seoul's south side this weekend viewers will be huddled at television sets around the world. In Utah, it will be prime time Friday night when 13,600 of the world's athletes parade into arena behind the colors of their nations.
Among those athletes will be five Utahns, plus several others from different nations who have Utah ties.More important than the pageantry will be the fact that a majority of the world's nations will attend for the first time in more than a decade.
In 1976, the Africans didn't go to Montreal. The Americans didn't go to Moscow in 1980 and the Cubans and Soviets stayed away from Los Angeles in 1984. During those Olympiads something was missing.
Ironically, it is on the relatively small Korean peninsula, divided by the ideology of East and West, where that Olympic magic will once again be made.
Along with the reasons for international celebration, there are the reasons for international concern.
South Korea's bad brother to the north is still smarting because it couldn't share the sponsorship that Olympic officials said could only be granted to Seoul.
And there will be some small countries who are boycotting the event. North Korean athletes, along with those from Cuba, Nicaragua, Albania and Seychelles, will stay away.
Terrorists from both North and South Korea, along with others of various stripes, may seek to introduce violence for political gains at the Olympics.
Yet the Games are a still a time to rejoice in the human spirit - to watch as humankind shares in a larger victory. While only a few will wear gold medals, people who participate in the Olympic dream for the next two weeks may win a glimpse of a world that knows only peace.