If there was a medal for PyeongChang faux pas’, guess who wins gold?
Let’s just say a 15 day diet of choco pies, seriously bad coffee and even more serious sleep deprivation, leads to some surprising slip ups not to mention bad hair days (like the time the Norwegian media guy got into my elevator and called me Tina Turner – uh, do I look like I’m 78? Don’t answer that).
“What other tricks have you got up your arsenal?” was just one of the interview questions I threw at aerialist Laura Peel after her qualifications. Kill me now.
Then there’s that time I tried to get into the wrong room in my hotel, spending minutes wrestling with the door which turned out to be the door of a male Channel Nine reporter who may have thought I had other ideas. Ha, I wish I had time to think such things and, no, I wasn’t drunk, again, time.
I was in for a shock the first morning I arrived when I took a shower and reached for a hotel towel only to discover it was the size of my left buttock and not much more. Australian face flannels are considered bath towels in this country. This may account for the Tina Turner hair comment though not for the $300 a night price tag for handkerchief towels and plastic wrapped cheese slices at breakfast.
We must not talk about the time I called halfpipe athlete Emily Arthur, Tess Coady, and began to ask her about her slopestyle plans or when I asked the waiter at Korean BBQ for a knife because I didn’t realize what the scissors were for. I went one better when he offered me a large plastic bag to store my coat so it wouldn’t smell from the BBQ and I thought he was giving me a bin and proceeded to put my rubbish in it.
Not to mention the moment I filmed a press conference entirely out of focus because I slept in my contact lenses or the time I arrived for an interview sans battery for my microphone and just pretended it was on and shoved it under the athlete’s mouth, hoping the camera would meanwhile pick up the sound (it did).
My sanity wasn’t the only collateral damage either, I left my iPad at Narita airport in Tokyo, my SIM cards are still somewhere in my hotel room in PyeongChang even though I’m now in Hawaii. I misplaced my favourite beanie on a media bus and my brand new bought-for-the-arctic-freezing-conditions-boots split on the third outing while watching the moguls. Never fear, I just stuck a toe warmer over it until someone pointed out it looked like I had a sanitary napkin (clean) stuck to my foot.
Security at the freestyle skiing venue took my packet noodles and cans of gifted beer from my backpack and left the choco pies (go figure). But then they helped me enter a hotel room in a hotel I wasn’t staying in, to retrieve a phone that was or wasn’t mine, without so much as asking me for my name or ID or the name of the person who’s room it was.
I lost my tolerance and filter around day ten since arrival in Korea (the same day I realized I had developed choco pie cellulite on my stomach) with a millennial PR content producer who was sulking that he didn’t have a suite and was instead sharing a hotel room with a colleague. Was it my place to tell him that some of the journalists didn’t have a bed or a door in their room in Sochi let alone plumbing (or that I didn’t go to Sochi)?
But all of this is nothing compared to what actually happened during the Games. A world champion FIS snowboarder won a gold medal in Giant Slalom skiing, a beginner halfpipe skier born and raised in the USA made a mockery of the American elite skiers while competing for Hungary, the women’s snowboard Slopestyle final was held pretty much in a hurricane gale while other events were cancelled, Belle Brockhoff competed without her ACL, so did Jess Rich, and Brodie Summers would have if he could have.
The Kiwis won their first medal in 26 years then they won another one hours later, a Russian won bronze in curling then had to give it up for doping, then other Russians sang their national anthem illegally.
North Korea sent some cheerleaders on Prozac, Ivanka Trump led out a team of USA athletes during the Closing Ceremony, an Aussie impersonating King Jong-un got kicked out of the ice hockey venue and three steel men with dicks for helmets were placed outside the Main Press Centre. Not necessarily in that order.
So who cares that I couldn’t find the Olympic Rings at Phoenix Snow Park in Bokwang because they’d placed them on top of the ski mountain instead of in the village, the same ski mountain closed to public skiing and only open to athletes during February?
Well played, PyeongChang, well played.