Lexington veteran reflects on 1988 Seoul Olympic games ahead of 2018 opening ceremony

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A Lexington man is looking forward to watching the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea after missing out while serving in the Army during the 1988 games in Seoul.

Victor Rivera served in the Army's infantry division and was deployed to Korea during the late '80s.

"I remember in Korea the people being different, the cars are different but they're very friendly," he said. "They like Americans of course!"

Rivera said he remembers the '88 games in Seoul, but wasn't able to attend or watch much of the competition during his mission.

"It was a big deal I remember," he said. "We didn't have a chance to see the games because of the duty we had to do plus we had to protect the country."

Rivera admits he was able to see bits and pieces of competition during his off time on local television. Thirty years later, he's looking forward to relaxing and enjoying the games at home.

While patrolling the border in South Korea at Camp Casey, Rivera said he and his fellow soldiers stumbled upon South Korean propaganda periodically.

"We would find them on the ground and I saved many of them," he said. "Some of it was from the Olympic games."

Rivera said he's eager to watch this year's games but admits a lot has changed in that region of the world in the last 30 years.

"During that time, North Korea didn't have nuclear missiles at least that we knew of," he said. "But today, the new leader Kim Jong Un wants to push the button and hurt Americans. He doesn't know who he's messing with."

The opening ceremony of the 2018 games will take place Friday night, with the games wrapping up Sunday, Feb. 25.

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