More Bode; Less Boo-Hoo

More Bode; Less Boo-Hoo

More Bode; Less Boo-Hoo
An email conversation about the news of the day.
Feb. 14 2002 1:03 PM

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Yesterday was by far the best day of the Games. The fantastic sporting moments pierced through the dull haze of the figure-skating mess and NBC's lame broadcast.

Seth Stevenson Seth Stevenson
Randall Patterson's work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Sports Illustrated, and The Best American Sports Writing 1999. He lives in Asheville, N.C. Seth Stevenson raced for his high school's cross-country ski team ... but he sucked, and mostly just did it on a dare. He now writes for Slate.
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First, we had Bode Miller. My God, what a badass! Not only did his hip touch the mountain, his left ski went swerving off course in a manner that would have sent me, occasional downhill skier, into a tumbling, flying, grand mal seizure of bone breaks and ligament snaps and impromptu meetings with evergreen trunks. But he sort of just willed himself back over his skis. Most impressive physical feat I have witnessed at the Games so far. I found myself rooting for him so hard that my chest tightened on his final run. When he finally climbed from 15th place to silver medal, I actually applauded. Thank God I hadn't checked CNN to find out what happened, as once again NBC showed this incredible drama on tape delay.

Then there was that Swiss ski-jumping Wunderkind. You have accurately captured his post-jump interview. I might add that he preceded the "Yah! Gold! Yah, yah!" with something akin to "the mountain! And … with … I just … YAH! And … but … the jumping with the jumping and … Yah! Yah! Gold medal! Yah!" Totally surprised everyone in the competition, including himself. And the Swiss brought no doubt the hippest medal ceremony outfits of any country. Floor length, shimmering parkas with giant Dracula collars as high as the tops of the athletes' heads. With his stylish euro eyeglasses, Simon looked like he was in a futuristic sci-fi film about cherubic, world-dominating masterminds.

And finally, curling. Biggest discovery of the Games for me. I was riveted by the U.S.-Germany men's game. I'm not kidding. A chess match but with physical skill and teamwork. Fortunes change radically as each new stone slides into place or bumps out a competitor. The U.S. captain, Tim Somerville, seems a tightly wound man, his hair thinning from years of do-or-die curling decisions. The tough loss against Germany, which went down to the wire, has pretty much ended the U.S. team's hopes, but I will keep watching them anyway. And I'm serious when I say I want to give curling a try. If a friendly night of curling is anything like an evening of bowling, with all the draft beer and joviality that entails, I am made for the sport.

News reports and NBC's coverage will continue to drum on figure skating and scandal, which to me in the end are the least interesting things about these Olympics. More curling, less crying, please. More Bode, less boo-hoo.

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I'm most looking forward to women's ice hockey, now—the U.S. team has simply owned the world for the last year or so and has a chance to go undefeated through the entire tournament. I just hope NBC lets me see these women shine, instead of force-feeding me figure-skating news conferences.