THE OLYMPICS / WINTER GAMES AT ALBERTVILLE : DATELINE: Albertville

They say politics makes strange bedfellows. If that's true, sportswriter Tommy Hine of the Hartford (Conn.) Courant will not soon be volunteering for his paper's political beat. He's had all he wants of strange bedfellows here at the Winter Olympics.

Hine tells the story:

"It was Saturday night, probably my hardest day, because I covered the Dan Jansen story from speedskating Saturday afternoon and then the Paul Wylie story from figure skating at night. By the time I came back (to the main press center at La Lechere) and wrote my stories and took the long bus ride up the hill to Doucy, where I'm living, it was 4 or 5 in the morning. I was exhausted.

"I crawled up the steps to my little apartment and I opened the door and there were two suitcases in the hallway. I kind of did a double-take and then noticed that the bedroom door was shut, and I'm saying, 'Gee, I never shut the bedroom door.'

"So I opened the door and I looked and there's a man sleeping in my bed. No one I'd ever seen before.

"People can't understand why I didn't wake him up or do something about it, but it was 5 in the morning and all I wanted to do was sleep. So I went to the back room, where there's a kid's bunk, and I took the mattress off the bed and put it on the floor and went to sleep on the floor.

"Having gotten to bed late, by the time I woke up about 9:30, this gentleman was gone. So I never saw him, but his luggage was still there. I looked at the luggage and the tags said, 'Milano, Italy.'

"So I went to the office of the rental agency where I'm living and asked who this gentleman was. They didn't know anything about it. They just said, 'We make our room assignments based on what the Olympic people tell us. We didn't put him in your room. If you have a complaint, you have to go down to the housing office. But this man has already been in this morning to complain about someone being in his room.'

"I said, 'His room! I've been sleeping there 11 days and he just showed up.'

"So I came down and spent about three hours with the accommodations people and no one knew anything about this man in my bed. . . . I did all the complaining I could and went home and gingerly opened my door, not knowing what to expect. The suitcases were gone. He was gone. I never saw him awake, never met him."

Seems someone wrote a song about that once. "Strangers in the Night."

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