I had more pressure when I competed in Moscow. I had no pressure in Montreal because I only went to do my routines and hoping I didn't mess it up when I was on the bar. When I came back, 10,000 people were at the airport and I thought, 'Why?' because, in my mind, I hadn't done anything different from what I used to do in my gym.
Over the past years, I have lectured many times on the Cuban missile crisis, most provocatively to 200 senior officers of the former Soviet army in Moscow in 1991, among them KGB generals. There, my knowledge of Penkovsky's role was thoroughly confirmed, and so was the Soviet military men's residual sense of humiliation at Khrushchev's 'blink'.
When I visited Moscow for the first time in 1998, I wandered into the historic Metropol Hotel as a curious tourist simply to ogle the giant painted glass ceiling that hangs over the grand restaurant off the lobby. It was the memory of that short visit that prompted me, some years later, to set 'A Gentleman in Moscow' in the hotel.