russia boycott and slc vs utah stories, osmonds, d-plan, ymca

Today’s stories: Russians say they may leave Games and When progress makes perfect. (Not so sure about that second headline. Harrumph.)
Tonight I get to see the Osmond Brothers live. Envy me.
Wednesday night, like a big idiot, I didn’t realize I had a chance to see my heroes, the Dismemberment Plan.
I might be able to catch the US-Russia hockey game this afternoon, which would be great. Might. The Osmonds might interfere. Seriously.
One of my personal Olympic highlights: watching the crowd at the US-Germany game sing along to everybody’s favorite Village People classic, YMCA. It’s always fun to (a) watch the foreign visitors who don’t get the hand motions, and (b) watch the roughly 10% of the audience who don’t realize you only do the hand motions twice in a row in the chorus and keep doing it for the entire song.

texas volunteers story

Today’s story: Good help is not hard to find. Mediocre headline, mediocre story.
Just got word that I may have been asking for your story ideas for naught — it appears that one of the slots for my remaining stories has disappeared, meaning I’ve only got two more stories to write: a piece on the Osmonds (yes!) and covering the closing ceremonies Sunday night. In other words, I’m gonna have me some fun from here on out. (And hopefully, my Mormon history epic will finally run sometime this weekend.)

ohno’s gold, hot canucks

Apolo! Short-track speedskating rocks. No, correct that — short-track speedskating rawks. Just got back from Ohno’s rockin’ eve. Short-track gets your heart racing a mile a minute. I don’t know if TV showed it or not, but the Korean who got DQ’d threw a big fit on the ice, throwing his national flag down onto the ice and gesturing pathetically to the crowd like some WWF villain. It was great. I would love to run short-track. Perhaps I should learn to skate first.
Have I mentioned that I’ve reached the conclusion that Canadians are, on the whole, the most attractive creatures on Earth? And I’m not just talking Jamie Sale here. The Canadian short-track relay team is a wonder to behold. Mmmm…Isabelle Charest. Women’s short-track relay (or actually, as the official Olympics term has it, “Ladies'” short-track relay — what’s up with that?) looks like some 19th-century French sexual fetish come to life. Even at the Olympic rodeo, the Canadian women in the audience were gorgeous, albeit in an Olympic rodeo sort of way. No offense, Yankee ladies, but you’ve got some competition from up north.

us hockey 5, germany 0

Just got to see my first actual Olympic event of the Games, the U.S.’s 5-0 win over Germany in hockey. My bus driver over there was a nice older Polish woman who talked about how great it was to come to the U.S. and join the Mormon church. “In Poland, women had many very important jobs,” she said. “Sixty percent of the doctors were women. But I came here and went to a meeting of Mormon women. They were all protected by their husbands. They knew their place. That’s the way it should be.” To each her own, I suppose.
I almost felt guilty being there in my media seat — I wasn’t covering the game, after all. (Which is fortunate for Dallas readers, since I know about as much about hockey as I do about the native games of Papua New Guinea. Which is to say, not much. Growing up in south Louisiana’ll do that to you.) I was about three rows up from center ice — if you watched the game on TV, you saw the back of my head quite a bit, in the lower left portion of your screen.
Unfortunately, the arena (which normally hosts the minor league Utah Grizzlies) acted as if this was just another minor league game, not the Olympics. So it had all the typical sensory barrage of modern marketed sport: blaring AC/DC before face-offs, the constant “Make some noise!” signals on the big screen, and more “Who Let the Dogs Out?” than I’d care to remember. Come on, this is the Olympics. Have we no dignity?
Speaking of dignity, way to go, U.S. Coach Herb Brooks, whose pregame comments about the Germans being eager to battle the Americans: “Maybe that’s why they lost the Second World War, guys.” Classy.
I’m back at the press center, about to run over for Olympic Event #2, Apolo Anton Ohno hopefully rocking to a gold in short track. Screw all this journalism — I’m going to see some games.

canada story

Today’s story: Skating scandal remedy: U.S. buys Canadian. My favorite quote, from the manager of a store here that sells Canadian-logo clothing: “Americans were coming in saying, ‘You were robbed! We need a hat! We need a scarf! We need to support you!'”
On the bus ride into the office today, the driver was showing Rush Hour up on the video monitors. It seemed kind of wrong, at first because those bus rides had been blissful silence for the last two weeks here. After a few minutes, it also seemed wrong because my hotel is about half-filled with Japanese TV folks, so the lengthy string of Asian stereotypes coming out of Chris Tucker’s mouth seemed somehow inappropriate.

wayne osmond, olympic update, lobsterfest, rocky anderson

I now know Wayne Osmond‘s home phone number. You don’t. Take that, readers.
Sorry for the lack of Olympic excitement here the last few days. I’ve abandoned all hope of getting ahead a day and thus having some time off, so I’m just plugging along, filing every day and trying to get out at a reasonable hour. Last night was my first success: I was out of here by 8 p.m., a new land-speed record for me. But rather than go get drunk on 3.2 beer, I headed to a bookstore so I can read up on Mormon history. I’m a wild man. Also finally got to go to Apollo Burger, which was achieving legendary status among my colleagues. I’m not as sold: I had their namesake burger, which is a patty with pastrami on it. ‘Twas merely okay.
Had an interview today with Rocky Anderson, SLC’s mayor and a liberal Democrat stranded in a sea of conservative Republicans. I asked him what would happen if he ever ran statewide: “I’d lose overwhelmingly.” At least the man is self-aware.
Canadian readers, watch this space tomorrow. Something special for you.
Overheard media center discussion:
Editor: Is “lovefest” one word or two? Or hyphenated?
Reporter: Well, LobsterFest at Red Lobster is one word, so I think we should use that as our guide.