SALT LAKE CITY — Sports! Events!
Did you know they have sports events here at the Sale-Pelletier Winter Games?
They have skiing events! Sliding events! Racing events! Shooting events! Events where participants stop and aim at targets, not French figure skating judges, from 50 meters.
They have skating events, strange skating events, where the object is to rush to the finish line, not to judgment.
Where did they come from?
What are they doing here?
Wait a second.
What happened to Ottavio Cinquanta?
Where's our pairs Olympic update?
What is Jamie thinking this minute?
How is David feeling this minute?
If Scott Hamilton falls for the Canadians in the woods, does he make a sound?
"Pairs figure skating press conference in Interview Room A in 15 minutes."
Of course. Right on schedule.
"I am not a criminal," David Pelletier is saying in front of the usual international media mob, all of them on a first-name basis by now. "When I stepped out of this room [Friday], I felt like one."
Tell me about it, Dave. The entire Olympic Games have been handcuffed and locked inside a news conference room for a week. There have been harsh lights. There have been tough questions. There has been bread, there has been water, there has been armed security everywhere.
Saturday, finally, parole papers were issued. Time to breathe in the fresh air again. Time to squint into the bright sunlight.
Look, there's a married couple with silver medals. Raphael and Liv Grete Poiree. Raphael's from France. Liv Grete's from Norway. They compete for different countries, in the same sport--biathlon. They have his and hers skis. They have his and hers .22-caliber rifles. They had second-place finishes in their respective events Saturday, the men's 12.5-kilometer pursuit and the women's 15-kilometer individual competition.
Surprisingly, they are not petitioning to upgrade to gold.
Elsewhere on the biathlon trail, another Norwegian, Ole Einar Bjoerndalen, is tearing it up. His gold medal in the 12.5-kilometer pursuit was his third of these Games, making him the first biathlete ever to win three Olympic gold medals.
He's a prolific Olympic medalist, Bjoerndalen is, although he's sometimes confused with Bjorn Daehlie, another prolific Olympic medalist. At the 1998 Nagano Olympics, Bjorn Daehlie competed for Norway. So did Bjoerndalen. Bjorn Daehlie is a very accomplished cross-country skier. So is Bjoerndalen.
Bjorn Daehlie won 12 medals during his Olympic career.
Bjoerndalen has won five.
For that reason, on his Olympic biography sheet, Bjoerndalen lists Bjorn Daehlie as one of his sporting idols. He also "gargles with spirits to keep his body in shape and to ensure good health and keep away colds" and "enjoys cappuccino for breakfast before a race." Not sure what Bjorn Daehlie likes for breakfast.
Finishing well behind Bjoerndalen Saturday was American Jay Hakkinen in 13th place. Before Hakkinen, no American had ever finished higher than 14th in an individual Olympic biathlon competition.
"To see that curse broken is a huge achievement," Hakkinen said.
Ah yes, the Famed American Biathlon Curse of 14th Place.
"The only thing better," Hakkinen added, "would have been a medal."
Well, either that or 12th place. Or 11th place. Or 10th place. Or...
NEWS FLASH!!! IOC says it will award the second pair of pairs gold medals to Sale and Pelletier Sunday night! NBC says it will find out how Sale and Pelletier feel about it!
Look at this. It says here that, nine days into the Games, Austria has one gold medal, Fritz Strobl's in men's downhill. How can that be? Only one gold medal for the Bronx Bombers of Alpine skiing? How did this happen? Why weren't we alerted?
As Pelletier was telling us Saturday, we do need to get out more.
NEWS FLASH!!! Another skating controversy at the Salt Lake Ice Center! This one involving another Canadian! And AN AMERICAN! Paging Mr. Cinquanta!
Ah, but this is short-track speedskating. Different discipline. Different rules. No judges around handing out suspect 5.9 scores.
So when a violent four-man collision on the last turn of the men's 1,000-meter final leaves only one man standing ... and that man, Australian Steve Bradbury, goes from a distant pre-crash fifth place to easy post-crash winner ... and Chinese skater Li Jiajun is disqualified for his role in the crash ... and the prohibitive favorite in the race, American Apolo Anton Ohno, receives stitches for a deep thigh gash caused by a skate slash, what do these skating officials do?
Gold medal to Bradbury. Silver to Ohno, who climbed up off the ice, slipped again and used a desperate hook-slide to edge Canada's scrambling Mathieu Turcotte to the finish line.
Ohno received his medal after being pushed to the podium in a wheelchair.
That's something Sale and Pelletier didn't do.
"This was the best race of my life," Ohno said. "I skated the way I wanted to. Unfortunately, I fell in the last corner, but this is the sport that I live for. I got a silver medal and I cannot complain about that."
That's another thing Sale and Pelletier didn't do.