Getting there: Winging it on 3 meals, 4 movies

THE BALTIMORE SUN

I'm going to call it "The Longest Night." My flight left BWI early Monday evening, heading west for a change of planes in Los Angeles and a 14-hour flight to Sydney. The sun went down shortly after takeoff, somewhere over Ohio. It didn't come up again until just before the plane to Sydney landed almost 24 hours later -- as Wednesday in Australia dawned.

They gave you dinner on the way to Los Angeles, then another dinner as the plane to Sydney pointed south and west out of Los Angeles and into the night, heading toward the equator and the international date line. Breakfast came hours later, a few hours before landing.

Predictably, just days before the Games opened, the 14-hour flight to Sydney was crammed with athletes, officials and media. Olympic runners from Belize and the Dominican Republic sprawled in their cramped seats and slept for hours, then woke up and talked SEC football. American college students, another country's Olympians.

Final statistics: four movies, three meals. That's how long it took to fly from Baltimore to Sydney for the Olympics.

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