My wife's an Olympic junkie

Posted: Thursday, February 07, 2002

"Do me a favor this year, will you?'' she asked pointedly. "Try to get it right this time.''

Always a goal, I replied plaintively.

Sometimes, I even succeed. But you know, don't you, that I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about.

"It's time for your quadrennial Winter Olympics column,'' she responded. "The one you always write about the special appeal of the Winter games to non-traditional sports fans like me.''

That was four years ago, I counter, anxious to change the subject. I can't remember what I wrote four days ago.

"Well, I remember that annoying piece of drivel in which you disparage me and women all over America by saying that your wife, someone who never watches sports and is only vaguely aware of who's playing in the Super Bowl, suddenly watches or tapes every minute of Olympic coverage, knows the names and backgrounds of pairs skaters from Belarus and waxes philosophically about how the Games have never been as interesting since Tai and Randy retired.'' Point well taken. By the way, who is playing in the Super Bowl this year?

"Boston!'' she replied definantly. "And, and ... the guys from the arches.'' The guys from McDonald's?

"Don't start, I know it's New England and St. Louis. I also want it noted for the record that I sat down to watch some playoff games with you this year, and you fell asleep on the couch! And I don't know any of the top European skaters. Not yet, anyway. And I don't tape the afternoon stuff.-- ever since you lost the VCR remote -- and I'm not as addicted to figure skating as you are to "NYPD Blue.1''

OK, I promise, no cheap shots this year. Still, you've got to admit, when it comes to the Winter Olympics, you come dangerously close to being a sports junkie for 17 days. I mean, you're the one who explained to me the difference between a salchow and a lutz.

"Someone had to do it if you're going to cover Todd Eldredge,'' she shot back, hitting where it hurts most. "Besides,'' she continued, "why not get excited about people who aren't overpaid, overexposed egomaniacs like those NFL guys you cover? What's wrong with watching something different from football, basketball, baseball. Yes, I like the bobsled and the luge. It's different. And I like the ski jumping and the slalom and the downhill. "Those folks move better than any of your Chiefs receivers!''

Well, if its new faces you want, there are some people you'll come to like this year. Be sure to check out Apolo Anton Ohno, the short track speed skater with a chance to win four golds and become America's newest hunk. I think Jennifer Rodriguez, the in-line skater from Miami who turned to speedskating at the urging of her Olympian fiance, is a story your kids at school will love. And I

"Cohen doesn't have a chance of knocking Slutskaya or Butyrskaya off the podium even if she nails all her triples,'' she responded, suddenly sounding like Dick Button. "Upsets just don't at this level of international skating. "But who knows? With you in Salt Lake City this year, I might even read some of your stuff for a change. How's that for an upset?''

Rick Dean, who covers the Kansas City Chiefs for the Topeka-Capital Journal and is part of the Morris News Service team at the Winter Olympics, can be reached at

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