By Dominic Cobello, Mike Agassi, Kate Shoup Welsh, Andre Agassi
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Extra resources for The Agassi Story
Entering in alphabetical order by country, participants from India and Iraq sandwiched our contingent. Unlike most of the other athletes, who wore ordinary suits, we looked like policemen in our navy-blue collared uniforms and white hats, but we were comfortable. All around us, athletes took photographs with their own cameras, but of course, I didn’t have 33 THE AGASSI STORY one, nor did any other members of the Iranian squad. A camera was a luxury, like a watch. ) When the sea of athletes crested in front of King George, we stopped, and turned to face him.
As before, I won the Tehran City Championships in 1952 — this time as a featherweight — and the National Championships after that. And once again, I qualified for the Olympics. This time, nobody questioned my right to go. The 1952 Helsinki Olympiad was far and away more organized than the 1948 Games in London had been. Unlike Great Britain, which had been unable to construct new facilities or housing prior to the event, Finland built state-of-the-art venues for the occasion. And unlike in London, where athletes were housed wherever there was available lodging, competitors in Helsinki — some 5,000 athletes from 69 countries, including former pariah nations like Japan and Germany — enjoyed lodging at a spectacular new Olympic Village.
Compared to what I was used to in Iran, it was heaven; then again, I would have said that about any living arrangements that included a proper toilet. Because I knew I would need course credits to renew my visa, I applied to Roosevelt University, where my brother was studying. ) Although the university rejected my application — I failed the standardized test because I hadn’t learned much English yet — I was permitted to study as a student at large, so I enrolled. At first, the only class I could take was math because it didn’t require a strong grasp of English (although I had attended school at the American Mission Church in Tehran, my courses had been taught in Persian) and because I had already covered a lot of the material back home.
The Agassi Story by Dominic Cobello, Mike Agassi, Kate Shoup Welsh, Andre Agassi