We return to the eponymous bobsledding, but this time the women's side for the two-person event. One of the more odd stories of the games harkens back to grade school, when the spoiled bully might say at a pick-up game when not getting his way, "It's my football and I'm taking it home." And it conjures up, as well, the famous unexpected Jamaican Bobsled Team, which had the movie, Cool Runnings, made about it. This tale concerns the Jamaican Bobsled Team, as well, 30 years later, though the women's team. The other day, they demoted the team's coach Sandra Kiriasis, and she got upset that this removed his access to the competition. And so she said, "It's my bobsled, so I'm taking it home." Really. It wasn't precisely hers, but she had signed for it. You see, given that bobsledding isn't the biggest sport on the Caribbean island, they did own a bobsled, let alone have a backup like most teams. They rented theirs. And the coach had been the one who rented it. And took it back. Jamaica probably have fought the action -- Kiriasis was acting as an agent for the country -- but time was more important, and there wasn't any. What happened is that the Jamaican brewing company, Red Stripe, heard about this and sent out a tweet to the team,offered to buy one for them. Again, really.
Actually, the story isn't even that easy. First, the company didn't know how much a sled was and had to check it out before making the offer. (It's about $50,000.) And they had to check that it wouldn't break any Olympic rules against athletes promoting products during the games. (It doesn't. But while an understandable rules, it's pretty odd given how much promotion of products occurs before and during the games. I suppose that if an athlete makes an ad before the games, that's okay even if it doesn't run until during. Though exactly why "during" is so much worse than "before," I don't know -- or why its okay for a clothing manufacturer to promote its logo on team clothes, but then who knows what the rule exactly is. But I digress.) A bigger challenge was that the Jamaican team wasn't able to send a Direct Message to Red Stripe. And so, they sent a reply tweet explaining that. The company tweeted again with a phone number to call...and all's well. They actually bought the same sled and wired the money four days ago. And the team had its first run this morning.
And another women's bobsled story is that there is now a Nigerian Bobsled Team. But making that all the more nice, at least for professional basketball fans, is that the uncle of the team's pilot, Seun Adigun, is former NBA Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon.
And you thought it was just bobsledding and could be overlooked! Tosh. And the four-man competition of Olympic Dreams is still to come...
I've grown to really enjoy biathlon, in part because it's such an odd but weirdly-understandable combination of skills, but also because the competition tends to be so strong and often comes down to the wire after such exhausting efforts. And today's was an added treat for being a bit off-beat -- not just a relay, but mixed relay. The Slovakia team was in the running for a medal, but got knocked at the first break for shooting -- their athlete missed all five shots. When that happens, you have to stop using the rifle's magazine and have to manually load bullets one-by-one. And two of those three shots were missed. So, the penalties were devastating. The race was close to the final tag-off, but the French team had Martin Fourcade running their last leg, the man who had just won a Gold Medal in that photo finish days earlier. He started 25 seconds behind, but won running away. Still, being biathlon, there was a near-photo finish for the Bronze, with Italy getting it by .4 seconds -- and even that was more exciting, because it got challenged by the Germans, claiming they'd been cut off with 30 meters to go. But the result held up. By the way, I've noted how NBC's cross-country analyst Chad Salmela gets maniacal when a race gets active -- and he did so here, but it was the play-by-play announcer Steve Schlanger who went a bit crazed during the race a few times. Most notably, it showed up once after an exciting shooting break when he shouted out, "Biathlon, it's the best! Turn the wheel!!!!" I have absolutely no idea what that means. Perhaps it has to do with flipping the targets, but who knows...
I love Leslie Jones' enthusiasm and think it's fun that NBC has been using her. But to use Leslie Jones yelling with enthusiasm and doing little bits, and not having Mary Carrillo do her tremendous pieces (and she's there in Pyeongchang) and only one piece by the great Jimmy Roberts is unacceptable.
This below isn't from any of those people and isn't even about the current Olympics and isn't by NBC and is nothing more than an ad, but it's a terrific one from Ancestry.com and concerns the famous "Miracle on Ice" hockey team that beat Russia in 1980. Among that team's players who you hear in the ad are Dave Christian, team captain Mike Eruzione, John Harrington, Rob McClanahan and Buzz Schneider