Tuesday, February 26, 2002
100 Salt Lake snapshots
By CHRIS STEVENSON -- SLAM! Sports
SALT LAKE CITY -- The flame has been extinguished at the XIX Winter Olympic Games, but like all the Games that went before the so-called Mormon Olympics, there are many memories, quotes, personalities, quirks, goofs and touching moments that will live on.
Trying to cut them to down to just 100 is tough.
Trying not to have 50 of them involve Jamie Sale, David Pelletier, Canada's men's hockey team or polygamy is even tougher.
But we'll try.
So drink that beer on your table (because you can't have more than one drink in front of you at a time in Utah), top up your glass, put on that t-shirt that says "I went to Salt Lake City and all I got were these seven wives" and knock back these 100 snapshots of the Winter Games.
1. The World Trade Center flag being walked into the Opening Ceremonies.
2. The woman who asked the chef-de-mission for Great Britain "You do all that and cook for the team, too?"
3. Canadian skip Kelley Law when asked if alcohol was involved when she sprained her ankle in January: "How shall I put this? Things were under control," said. "We had to get up early...it's a curling event, it was in Gander, Nfld., it was midnight and it was Friday." Guess that meant yes.
4. Sweden's Mats Sundin falling to his knees after Belarus' stunning upset in the quarterfinals.
5. The reaction the next day in the Swedish papers. One ran head shots of every Swedish player, with his NHL salary and the headline: Guilty. They Betrayed Their Country. And they say Canadian hockey writers are tough.
6. The puck bouncing off Swedish goaltender Tommy Salo and into the net for the winning goal for Belarus. Wonder if they'll make a stamp out of that Olympic moment in Belarus?
7. Canada's women's hockey team up on stage with The Tragically Hip and giving frontman Gord Downie one of their gold medals to wear.
8. The German beer company that bought a round for the entire town of Inzell, home of Anni Friesinger, a speedskater it sponsors.
9. The volunteer policeman from Tennessee who spent $200 buying McDonald's for soldiers who were munching on K rations.
10. Inversions. The weather pattern that trapped dirty, brown air in the valley and obscured the mountains. It was, as one guy put it, like being in Regina with a temple. Or Buffalo with mountains.
11. Jim Shea and Jim Shea, Jr., carrying the torch at the Opening Ceremony. The patriarch of the first three-generation American Olympic family, Jack, would have been there, too, but he was killed in a car accident a month before. He was 91.
12. Jim Shea, Jr., winning the skeleton gold and pulling a picture of his grandfather out of his helmet and showing the crowd.
13. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir doing the wave in the minutes before the Opening Ceremony started.
14. Natalya Trunokov, the little goaltender from Kazakhstan, stopping 59 of Canada's 66 shots in women's hockey.
15. A teary-eyed Jean-Luc Brassard taking the time to thank reporters for coming out to his race.
16. Japanese freestyle skier Teppei Noda falling, bouncing his head off the jump and landing hard on his side. He recovered his ski and finished his run and the crowd went nuts.
17. American figure skater Sasha Cohen calling her mom every few moments by cellphone during the Opening Ceremony to give her updates on the events. During one call, she passed the phone to the guy next to her. Her mother heard a man's voice asking, "Hi, how are you?...Do you know who this is? This is your President." Cohen's mother, Galina, could see on the television U.S. president George Bush was talking to someone on a cellphone. Then she realized it was her...
19. German luge legend Georg Hackl, is a guy known to throw on some lederhosen and throw down a few beers. The Germans rented a house close to the luge track and stocked it up with his favourite brew from back home. "We have some German beer in our home near the track. I know Utah beer very well. We've been here for vacation and Utah beer is, ah, not the worst," he said. Sounds like he could have a career in diplomacy.
20. It doesn't go as far as it used to, huh? The owner of an escort service complaing about how cheap the Euros are: "They're cheap as hell. They think they can get it all for $100."
21. The reporter who got turfed from his hotel after showing up at the front desk in the wee hours wearing nothing but USA Today. He got locked out of his room in his birthday suit. Over-reacting front desk staff called the cops. There is one good thing: thank goodness USA Today is a broadsheet and not a cheeky tabloid.
22. Figure skater Jamie Sale's tears on the podium after getting jobbed out of the gold medal.
23. The Japanese reporter who put his cellphone down on the top of the urinal while he took care of business. It was one of those vibrating phones and, well, you can guess where it wound up.
24. American hockey coach Herb Brooks calling Canada's dump-and-chase style "stupid."
25. Polygamy Porter. Why have just one?
26. Games honcho Mitt Romney jumping out of his car and helping direct traffic at the downhill venue.
27. Getting the chance to meet Roy and HG, the hosts of the Australian show The Ice Dream. They started with The Dream, an irreverent look at the day's events in Sydney and the show was so popular they came to Salt Lake to do it. Forget Sale and Pelletier. One of the great injustices is the show wasn't on in North America.
28. At the press conference to announce Sale and Pelletier would be receiving their gold afterall, Toronto Sun reporter Steve Buffery, a pitbull in stature and nature, was asked to stand up to ask a question. "I am standing," said Buffery.
29. A sign in a window of an eyeglasses place invited Michelle Kwan to bring in her gold medal for a free pair of sunglasses.
30. Utah's arcane liquor laws which, as it turned out, didn't slow anybody down at all. Okay, maybe a little bit.
31. American speedskater Derek Parra, who worked part time in the flooring department at Home Depot, after winning gold: "Maybe I'll move to lumber now."
32. The green Jell-O pin going for $150 US. Why? Jell-O is big here. The folks in Utah consume 21 servings a year, twice as much as other households.
33. Australian freestyle skier Alisa Camplin, who trained in water that teemed with leetches. That's dedication.
34. The little Swiss ski jumper, Simon Ammann, who could be Harry Potter's stunt double, and was compared to Eddie "The Eagle" Edwards. "I think his glasses were about three times as thick as mine and his jumps about three times less," said Ammann.
35. Ottawa's Jeff Bean finishing fourth in the aerials after the Canadian judge - of all people - marked him down. Fourth is the worst place to finish in the Olympics.
36. Getting in to see a taping of The Ice Dream.
37. Roy and HG's take on curling: "If you're playing anybody but the Germans, you're going to have a good time."
38. The LDS Temple, a church that could double as an arena.
39. The Dead Goat Saloon.
40. The look on the face of Australian short track speedskater Steven Bradbury when everybody crashed in front of him in the 1000m and he won that country's first Winter gold.
41. The Bare Naked Ladies putting on the best concert at the Olympic Medals Plaza.
42. Wayne Gretzky's tirade.
43. Mag 'n Bags (Magnetoscope and Bag check).
44. Australia matching us gold-for-gold until the final days of the Games.
45. A Winter Games where it's 47F late on a cloudy afternoon.
46. Canada didn't get gold in men's or women's curling, but the sport got exposure. "It's so much like golf (American fans) should appreciate it," said Canadian skip Kevin Martin.
47. The cab driver who made $650 U.S. in fares in one day taking "some hockey player" to Deer Valley to watch skiing, back to his hotel and then to Wendover, Nev., (about 100 miles away) for four hours of gambling in which the player lost $2,000. They're right. The Olympics no longer belong to amateurs.
48. Chris Klug, a liver transplant recipient, winning a bronze in snowboarding's parallel giant slalom on Organ Donor Awareness Day.
49. Billy Flood, the 13-year-old kid who was shot to death by another kid and whose liver went to Klug.
50. Walk/Don't Walk indicators on the corners which count down how long you have to cross. Very civilized.
51. The Brazilian luge athlete, Renato HG Mizoguchi, reunited with his mother after 23 years apart after she saw him interviewed on TV.
52. Canadian skeleton athlete Michelle Kelly, who could be coming to an arena near you as a member of the WWF.
53. The Dinner Roll.
54. Jean-Luc Brassard's gift for telling it like it is.
55. Veronica Brenner and Deidra Dionne flying high in aerials.
56. "If bobsleigh is the champagne of thrills," said Shea, "then skeleton is the moonshine of thrills."
57. The guy with a sign that said: "Get your picture with a polygamist, $5." Hey, he must need the money.
58. Beckie Scott.
59. Jennifer Heil.
60. Jeremy Wotherspoon falling on his face.
61. The smile on Catriona Le May Doan's face after winning the 500m.
62. Jarome Iginla playing the game of his life when it matter most.
63. Sign you don't expect to see at the Olympic hockey semifinals: "Bring on Belarus".
64. The incredible run to the gold medal game in curling by British skip Rhonda Martin.
65. Roots. Roots. Roots.
66. American hockey player Cammi Granato's bobble-head doll. "Everyone says it looks like my brother."
67. Daniel Alfredsson's response after beating Canada: "Sorry." After Sweden's loss to Belarus, we could say the same.
68. Sting and Yo-Yo Ma at the Opening Ceremonies.
69. Marie Reine Le Goof
72. Soul patches
73. Ole Einar Bjoerndalen, winner of four gold medals.
74. Ales Valenta and his triple backflip with five twists to win the gold in the men's aerials.
75. International Skating Union resident, Ottavio Cinquanta's refusal to answer questions during a press conference.
76. Herb Brooks, who never met a question he couldn't answer.
77. Russian coach Slava Fetisov saying the Olympic tournament was designed to get the Americans and Canadians in the gold medal game. Yeah, so?
78. Canada being the coolest country.
79. Aleksandr Maltsev, Kazakhstan's women's hockey coach, who said: "The Canadian team for us is the standard. How we played today, we can see our progress. As a coach, I'm a little disappointed, but I don't think it's a shame to lose to Canadians - it's an honour."
80. Clara Hughes. One of the nicest people you could meet. Nobody deserved becoming the first Canadian to win medals in both Summer and Winter Games more than her.
81. Four hundred shoppers lining up at 6:30 a.m. outside Roots stores for the USA berets, this Winter Games' hot headware.
82. Forget Disney World (I) After winning the gold in snowboarding, Switzerland's Philip Schoch said: "I want to take a shower. That's what I want to do."
83. Forget Disney World (II): Germany's Ronny Achermann gave up sex for 389 days before competing in the nordic combined.
84. Getting the chance to inspect Theo Fleury's gold medal.
85. Fleury whipping a Canadian flag around while Team Canada did a victory lap.
86. Hayley Wickenheiser on the ice with her son after Canada's women won the gold in hockey.
87. Joe Nieuwendyk and Mike Peca on the ice with their kids after Canada's men's team won the gold in hockey.
88. Martin Brodeur's toe save on Brett Hull.
89. The composure of the Canadian women's hockey team in the face of American Stacey Livingston's refereeing. "She might as well have been wearing their jersey," said Canadian defenceman Geraldine Heaney.
90. Speedskater Marc Gagnon leading the way on the greatest weekend for Canada ever at the Winter Olympics.
91. Anytime the Canadian anthem was played.
92. Utah, the state where you can have two wives at the same time, but not two beers.
93. A. Mezin, the Belarus goaltender who was amazin'. "It has been a miracle for us," he said. "Sometimes even the gun without the bullets shoots."
94. USA women's hockey coach Ben Smith when asked about Wickenheiser's statement she could see fear in the American players' eyes. "She's a great player, but I don't think she's an optometrist."
95. The loonie buried under centre ice at the E-Centre by Canadian ice maker Dan Craig. A pretty good deal: a loonie for two gold medals.
96. "There's no crying in skeleton," said Lea Ann Parsley of the USA, who teared up after winning a silver.
97. Waiting in line for five hours at the Salt Lake Airport and still missing your flight.
98. That's the spirit: "The difference between gold and bronze is only a colour, not an effort," said Russia's Julija Tchepalova after coming third in the women's 10-kilometre classical.
99. That's not the spirit: "We should use a rifle on Ohno. It's absurd that the Korean was disqualified," whined Italy's Fabio Carta after Dong-Sung Kim was DQ'd and the gold given to Amerian Apolo Anton Ohno.
100. Picabo Street. Talk -- unconfirmed -- was she was going to make a contribution for a new wing at a Salt Lake hospital. It would be known as the Picabo ICU.
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2002 Games Columnists