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Oh, Deer, He’ll Miss This Place

Well, everything about Norway and its people turned out to be an absolute delight, including that 27th letter of the alphabet of theirs that looks like a NO SMOKING sign. What kind-hearted and generous individuals they are here, even if they do spell my first name something like Mii&!%jkkke.

I had not known what to expect, having read somewhere that Norwegians were frowners and scowlers who had a high rate of suicide. My perception of a Scandinavian has always been someone whose idea of a good time was watching Max von Sydow play chess with Death.

Instead, what warm hospitality I found here in the North Pole suburbs. I will miss these people, particularly the young woman who asked me what sort of sports awaited me back home. When I told her that Dominique Wilkins was now living in Los Angeles, she replied, “Really? Does she ski?”

I will miss Norway’s creatures, too. I will miss the reindeer. They have reindeer here like we have cats. There are reindeer here, reindeer there, reindeer everywhere. Reindeerkeep fallin’ on my head.

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I will miss moose. This is my first experience missing moose. Well, actually it’s my second experience missing moose. Yesterday I missed one, but I was in a Volvo.

I also will miss the king. I saw the king a lot. I saw the king at hockey, at skiing, at skating, at sledding and in a sleigh. I think I saw him in line at the sno-cone counter once. This King Harald really gets out of the castle a lot. I became a veteran Harald examiner.

As for the Winter Olympics themselves, they commenced with Tommy Moe in the snow, continued with Tonya Harding joining us in mid-show, then concluded with Alberto Tomba on the go. It was 16 days of Tommy, Tonya and Tomba. With a lot else in between, which we’ll be bringing you next on CBS, right after these 99 trillion words from our sponsors.

In hockey, Sweden defeated Canada, either in a shootout, with a penalty shot or in an Ugliest Uniform tiebreaker, I forget. Sweden’s hockey uniforms were yellow. They should have gotten two minutes for clashing.

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In biathlon, the guys with guns defeated the guys without guns, 3-2.

In bobsled, Americans were asked to take their sled, Rosebud I, and stop shoving it. It seems somebody put illegal runners on the bottom of the sled--possibly those Ginsu runners you’ve heard so much about.

In luge, Italians and Germans were the winners and Americans were the lugers.

In speedskating, Bonnie Blair brought her big family from south of Chicago, da Blairs. She won again and again, winning over everyone with her ability, her durability, her dedication, her work ethic and her wonderful person-next-door quality.

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In speedskating, the sequel, Dan Jansen skated the lap we’ve all been waiting for, a victory lap.

In speedskating, the final chapter, one Johann Olav Koss, the Nordic Air Jordan, won races, won money and won respect around the world for donating every penny of his prize to Olympic Aid for Bosnian relief.

In skiing, Sports Illustrated’s Olympic preview issue reported that the U.S. team would have difficulty beating Switzerland’s cows, much less Austria’s skiers. Sports Illustrated is better with issues in which people wear fewer clothes.

In cross-country skiing, somebody passed a tree, then another tree, then another tree.

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And in figure skating, uh, let’s see, figure skating, figure skating, uh, did they have figure skating? I can’t seem to . . .

Oh, yeah. Now I remember. In the men’s competition, Brian Boitano came out of retirement long enough to wish that he hadn’t come out of retirement. Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean ice-danced the most superb, beautiful, skillful, tasteful, seamless routine that ever got judged third-best. (You were golden in my book, you two.) And barely-old-enough-to-drive Oksana Baiul overcame obstacles galore and Nancy Kerrigan’s brilliance to win the women’s gold with effort and grace. Ya got guts, kid. But watch out for Michelle Kwan next time.

In other news Sunday, Kerrigan and Harding said absolutely nothing.

I leave you now with two last thoughts.

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One, Lillehammer has been nominated to possibly host these Olympics again in the 21st Century, and, by all means, it should. Norway, hooray.

And two, if you really want to feel old, at the 2002 Olympics, Michelle Kwan will be 21.


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