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Olympics Inspiring Some To Achieve Tauter Tummies, Buns of Steel

July 31, 1996

BOSTON (AP) _ Alisa Feldman knows all about working up a sweat. But since the Olympics began, her workouts have taken on a whole new meaning.

``Watching the Olympics pushes me to become more competitive, to become more of an athlete versus just working out,″ Feldman, 26, said Tuesday as she strengthened her triceps at Fitcorp gym.

For Feldman and many others around the country, watching some of the world’s best athletes compete in Atlanta has been a source of motivation and inspiration.

Above the step machines and treadmills at the Courthouse Health and Wellness Center, TV screens pump out the Olympics. The perfectly sculpted physiques of Olympic athletes have been inspiring club members to sweat a little longer.

``It does have a definite influence on you when you see these slim, sleek trim bodies and you go, `Wow! A human body can actually look like that!‴ said Fatima Walsh, an aerobics instructor at the club.

Jon Iddings, membership representative at the Telegraph Hill Club in San Francisco, said he’s seen more swimmers than usual in the club’s pools since the Games began.

``Anytime you watch an event that you can do yourself, it kind of inspires you,″ he said.

And, Kathie Chavarria, operations manager at the Pinnacle Fitness Club in San Francisco, said current members who had slacked off on their exercise routines were coming back.

``I’ve seen a lot more members coming in since last week, people that I haven’t seen in a while,″ she said.

Sean Thompson, membership director at Mad Maggie’s Health & Racquet Club in Burlington, said the Games are also encouraging people to stay at the gym a little longer.

``They will use a gymnast as a reference for the type of physique they would like to have,″ Thompson said.

Americans have been tuning in to the Summer Games in record numbers. Last Thursday, for example, an estimated 102 million viewers watched all or part of NBC’s prime-time coverage.

Ann Casey says the events in Atlanta aren’t raising her expectations. She already works out four or five times a week at the YMCA.

Watching the Olympic athletes is inspirational, but it can be discouraging, she said.

``They do what they do with their bodies and I do what I do with mine,″ she said Tuesday as she worked her quads on a leg press machine.

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