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Wild Rumpus Sports
 

Too Much Porn for Odd-Bjorn

I am currently sitting on the bus to the venue trying to eavesdrop on a conversation between a Finnish commentator and Katerina Neumanova. It is not working as I am being engaged in another conversation by the person sitting behind me

I thought I would write a few things about some of the interesting challenges that have presented themselves over the last few week, since I honestly haven’t done or witnessed too much outside of what has been written in race reports.

First, I want to bring up how much I wish that I had studied Norwegian—or Italian, or Swedish, or Russian—in college. There are about 5,000 international journalists here, each one of them wanting to engage the athletes and coaches in their own individual conversation in their mother tongue. This makes it very hard to ever engage in a conversation of your own, in English.

A corollary to this is the fact that when you actually go back and listen to the answers in English from a lot of these folks, it sounds like you just interviewed Yoda. For example, here’s a quote from Martin Koukal, who anchored the Czech relay team to third place in the relay yesterday:

“It was like this, that if we have been top three, after three legs, it was like that for me, I was on the big pleasure, because for me it was anything close than medal it will be big disappointment, because I am good sprinter and good skier…I fight and then in the last kilometers, I concentrate for a —because I know that for me, the way to the medal is to beat the French guy.”

Now, I obviously don’t have any right to complain, not speaking a shred of Czech or Norwegian or Swedish myself. And I do not want to denigrate Martin at all—he was exceedingly friendly and gracious and patient with me, as I tried to understand what was going on through this fog of language. But it does illustrate how hard it can be to get a sense of exactly what was happening out on the course. Don’t even bother with the Russians—they don’t speak English at all, and they get offended if you even ask if they do.

By the time you get to the press conferences, these guys are already so sick and tired of reporters trying to extract stuff from them that they basically just thumb their noses at you.

For example, the guy running the press conference yesterday asked all the members of all the relay teams yesterday (they bring in all the medalists) to introduce themselves and give a comment about their race. Among the highlights from the Swedes:

“I’m Johan Olsson, and I’m very happy for the gold medal.”

“My name is Marcus Hellner, I’m also very happy for this gold.”

And then the absurd:

“Yes—my name is Odd-Bjorn [Hjelmeset], and I skied the second lap, and I f—ed up today.”

As Patrick Stinson already covered in his post, one of Odd-Bjorn’s problems was that he had iced up harries skies. But Topher and I saw him on one of the climbs, and he looked like he was just hurting, so:

“Odd-Bjorn, when you say you f—ed up, it sounded like there were problems with both your body and your skis, or just your skis, or just your body? What was it?”

“No, I think I have seen too much porn (laughter). For the last 14 days, I have the room next to Petter (Northug), and every day it’s some noise in there, I don’t know what. So I think that was the reason for I fucked up. By the way, Tiger Woods is a really good man.”

I swear to god he actually said this. If you don’t believe me, leave your e-mail in the comments and I will send you the audio file.

In any case, that made Topher and I laugh (as well as everyone else in the room)—I mean, that was pretty funny. Then we waited for Odd-Bjorn to actually answer the question. He didn’t—we moved on. Thanks, dude.

15 minutes of waiting for more Norwegian journalists to finish talking to him after the press conference, I finally got an answer. But it took quite a while…

There is other stuff to be written, but this has to suffice for now—time to go watch some Nordic Combined!

Comments

  1. Audio file. Please. Isiebert at Colby dot edu

  2. yeah, put the file up and post a link. I would stick it in a youtube video and embed that.

  3. yea please post a link to the file!

  4. Kelsey Boyer says:

    kjboyer@mtu.edu the audio file would be sweet!

  5. Thanks for the candid insight – and for a good laugh.

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