Gritty and determined, stories will flow

February 10, 1994|By Dave Barry | Dave Barry,Knight-Ridder News Service

As we approach the XXCVXIXXIML Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, some questions that are very much on our minds are:

1. What is the Official Lip Balm?

2. Which one is Norway, anyway?

3. Is it the same as Sweden?

4. Will the Buffalo Bills be involved?

Also, we are all on pins and needles about what will happen next in the saga of Tonya Harding, who every day seems to be implicated in more and more things (the FBI is now saying that she can be clearly seen in frames 189 and 190 of the Zapruder film).

The question is: Should she be allowed to skate? Or should she be kicked off the team? Or should there be a compromise, under which she is allowed to skate, but she has to wear a giant squirrel costume?

This is only one of the thousands of Human Interest stories that will transform this Winter Olympics into an event that will seem to go on for at least seven months.

During that time, we will see thousands of gritty and determined competitors who will compete in a wide array of events, including snow skiing, ice skating, snow shoeing, ski jumping, ice dancing, sled riding, snow jumping, shoe dancing, ski skating, snow shoveling, car starting and mixed doubles caribou grooming.

Between events, CBS Sports will bring us many heartwarming "behind-the-scenes" stories of personal determination and grit involving athletes who have been getting up every morning at 3:30 a.m. for the past eight years to go to their town's ice-skating rink to practice, only to discover, day after day, that their town doesn't have an ice-skating rink.

And still they go, because that is the kind of grit it takes to be an Olympic competitor. We are also going to see historic videotapes of some great moments of past Winter Olympics, such as gritty little Olga Korbut's perfect score in the biathlon and the unforgettable moment in 1980 when the U.S. hockey team, in a display of courage that left huge mounds of grit everywhere, drove the Russian troops out of Afghanistan.

The current Winter Olympics promises to have some great moments of its own, and to make sure that you don't miss a single one, I am personally going to go to Lillehammer.

Really.

In fact, as you read these words, I am probably on an airplane winging its way westward, or possibly eastward, to Norway. Upon arrival there, I will locate some Norwegians and use advanced professional journalism techniques to get the whole story.

"Pardon me," I will say. "Can you Norwegians tell me which way is the Olympics?" I am assuming they speak English over there. If they don't, I will make it my business as a journalist to find out why.

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