When Mishkutienok rolls off tongue, it's time to extinguish flame

February 28, 1994|By Phil Jackman

The TV Repairman:

You know it's time for the Winter Olympics to end when names like Natalia Mishkutienok and Artur Dmitriev dance confidently off the tongue.

* If Nancy Kerrigan is going to become a huge part of our lives via endorsements, commercials, etc., hopefully someone will instruct her to keep her eyes all the way open, stop cleaning her teeth with her tongue and ditch the adolescent shrugs and giggling during interviews.

* Tell you one thing, I'd lose a lot of confidence in any sort of athletic pursuit going against a gent with an intimidating name like Vegard Ulvang.

* It certainly was neat to see somebody lend skater Philippe Candeloro a couple of bucks so he could purchase a shirt to carry France's flag in the closing ceremonies.

* A fun story until they nearly killed themselves sliding down a bob run on their helmets was the emergence of the Jamaican bobsled team a few Olympics ago. I still have the commemorative T-shirt and sweat shirt. Jamaica finished 14th in yesterday's four-man bobsled event, the United States 15th. Now who's the joke?

Speaking of our bobbers, how did you like driver Randy Hill's excuse for his sled doing poorly: "We didn't have cool-weather runners." Completely understandable. See, Randy forgot Lillehammer is situated a John Daly drive from the Arctic Circle.

* Talk show host Maury Povich is correct when he says of those unctuous CBS ads about wife Connie Chung and Dan Rather, "They're unnecessary. Dan does a terrific job, who cares if he meets a guy in a pickup truck?"

The net paid big money to an ad agency to come up with the idea of making the "CBS Evening News" anchors come across as folks you bang shopping carts with at the Bi-Rite.

* How do the Norwegians keep their snow so clean? Is it possible the air there is cleaner than it is here?

* CBS commentator Verne Lundquist might have gone overboard a tad speculating on Oksana Baiul someday matching Sonja Henie's mark of capturing three gold medals in ladies figure skating. Question is, would she have enough tears to cover the quest?

* If you're interested, I'm going to get in touch with John Hancock to find out if the dad said yes to the kid's offer to have grandma move into his room. Some provider he is, telling the old lady to stake out a bench in the park.

* Eric Flaim gushing that a silver medal in a short-track speed skating relay means as much to him as the silver he achieved in the long-track 1500 in 1988 reminds of what Minnesota Vikings running back Dave Osborn said after his team had defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers in the trash sport "Superstars" tug-o-war: "They'll remember this long after the Super Bowl is forgotten."

* Some broadcast dip had the temerity to liken Nancy Kerrigan's loss to Baiul to Debi Thomas losing the gold medal to Katarina Witt in 1988 after both led after the short program. Thomas booted her opening combination, skated lifelessly thereafter and dropped to third. Kerrigan was at her best save for one minor glitch and was passed by the nearly flawless Baiul.

* Imagine how our stock would soar around the world if we could send a team full of Bonnie Blairs to the Olympics, winter and summer. Her quip, "It took Eric Heiden a week to win five gold medals, it took me six years," is a classic.

* Doesn't it seem like at least six months since Team USA tied France in hockey? The guys should have said the shoelaces on their skates broke and pulled out right then and there.

* It'll be great to hear play-by-play man Ron Thulin back on the NBA beat for TNT. Anything to get him off alpine skiing.

* Why do I get the impression that Tonya Harding will someday show up in the helmet and pads of a short-track speed skater? And does she sort of remind you of Linda Blair?

* IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch's inspiring words to end the Games were, "You have presented to the whole world the best Olympic Winter Games ever." Of course, he said that after Sarajevo, Calgary and Albertville, too, and will after Nagano, Japan, in 1998, also.

* This may come as sacrilege to some, but I don't recall ABC grinding out the spellbinding features CBS produced the past two weeks during all its years as the "Network of the Olympics."

* If only one person in a winter-sports-mad country like Norway takes part in aerial skiing, how did this daredevil endeavor make it to medal sport status?

The answer, naturally, is they needed stuff to pad out the program.

* About the time a commercial was cooing about the "harmony and peace present during the Olympic Games," two countries had declared war on short-track speed skater Cathy Turner, who ended up with a bodyguard, a Norwegian ski jumper was hammering a German counterpart for exercising a little gamesmanship on an opponent, and, of course, half the civilized world was screaming about the judging at the figure skating venue. In other words, business as usual.

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