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Saved by Mario, yet another valiant bus driver

Shauna Farnell

A sad note to end on, that Olympic slalom. Well, unless you’re Austrian … in which case you have probably already become a bit indifferent to your team’s bionic power and medal-hogging prowess.

I felt a bit sorry for Bode Miller after his full-on Olympic flop. He was, after all, the only American Olympic name recognizable to the average man on the street in say, Arkansas. So many expectations. None of them his, which he was quick to point out in an interview with the Associated Press after he made a speedy getaway following his missed gate that ended his 2006 Olympic run, a series in which he walked away with one fifth place in downhill, a sixth in giant slalom and three DNFs.

According to AP, Miller’s Olympic experience was fruitful mainly due to his rockstar partying.

I have to wonder if he said these things just to wind people up again, since that seems to be all

he’s good at these days.

Speaking of winding people up, I can’t believe the outpouring of rage that continues to flow after Jacobellis’s dastardly screw up in boardercross.

All this talk about eliminating freestyle snowboarding from the Olympics …

Are the people who are saying this aware of what snowboardcross is? Have you actually seen a boardercross event? Ever?

It’s a race. There’s nothing freestyle about it, which is why Jacobellis shouldn’t have thrown her little grab that cost her a gold medal.

Personally, and it’s not just because I’m a snowboarder (and for those of you lifting your eyebrows, treating this as a piece of insight and fond of lopping people into boxes, also know that I’m a skier), I could understand Jacobellis’s explanation that she was “caught up in the moment.”

I can’t (because I don’t like to generalize) say that this is an American mindset, but some of us seem to think that a good thing doesn’t matter when we missed out on something better. I.E.:

Once we think we have gold and it vanishes, a silver just doesn’t mean anything.

I feel sorry for Jacobellis. For as long as she lives, she’ll never be remembered as a silver medalist, she’ll always be the girl who —-ed up in the Olympics. I hope she comes back and takes gold in 2010.

I promised Mario the bus driver that I would issue him a “bravo” in today’s blog.

After being assured by the transportation “help” desk here in Sestriere that the last bus to San Sicario would leave at midnight, Mario showed up and turned off the engine at 11:30 last night. He showed me the schedule (not available to those of us who depend on buses every day) which clearly said that the last bus left San Sicario at 11 p.m. and stopped.

After some pleading, Mario revved up the engine again and drove me, in a snowstorm, up and down the icy switchbacks of the bike path they call a highway to San Sicario. Mario is the same guy who gave me the Pocket Coffee. I’m not sure if this favor would have followed without that transaction ” our deep history together.

I have concluded that Italians are either wonderful or horrible, depending on who it is. They’re either doing you extraordinarily thoughtful, unprecedented deeds in the middle of your most desperate hour or mindlessly causing you hour after hour of unnecessary desperation.


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