There’s no keeping L.A. superfan out
BEIJING -- For years Jimmy Goldstein, the Los Angeles superfan with the wild wardrobe -- he’s especially fond of snakeskin, so if you’ve ever seen him, you’d remember him -- has been courtside at every big NBA game, whether the Lakers or Clippers were involved, not to mention sitting in on the postgame news conferences -- without credentials.
However, he just pulled his masterpiece.
Jimmy turned up at Tuesday’s Spain-China game -- having just flown in and come directly from the airport, he said.
Unfortunately, they don’t have courtside seats here, no matter how much you offer, so unless he knows President Hu Jintao, he’s out of luck on that one.
Nor was there any way Jimmy was going to get into the news conference without a credential at this event.
If you haven’t heard, they’re a little security-conscious here. A friend of mine just went to an event with some chewing gum, four pens and a bottle of Advil in his bag. Security people threw the gum away, had him write with all four pens and made him take one of the Advil.
Media credentials are applied for and approved months ahead of time, with passport numbers attached. I can’t remember if I was fingerprinted and required to furnish a DNA sample because it was so long ago.
So Jimmy is up in the stands, yelling down that he can’t get into the news conference.
“You know,” I yelled back, “you can get locked up for that stuff around here!”
Meanwhile, NBA officials, who are here with the U.S. team, were celebrating, having never been able to keep Jimmy out of a single event in their entire careers.
Five minutes later, Fran Blinebury of the Houston Chronicle told me, there was Jimmy in the news conference.
We’re not worthy.
-- Mark Heisler
No way out
About five hours after the gymnastics competition ended at National Indoor Stadium, it was time to leave the National Indoor Stadium.
Not so fast. Getting out wasn’t easy.
The entrance the media normally takes was locked. So was the next entrance and the next and the next. A lonely volunteer saw me and pointed at me. I said, “Out.” She told me, “Venue manager” which I believe was the only English phrase she knew.
After some pantomimes and me leading her to each of the locked exits the light dawned. And I was led down hallways and through tunnels until I came to one, small, unlocked door that led to a super-secret entrance/exit for volunteers. I volunteered to leave from that exit. It was allowed.
And when I got outside for the first time in 10 hours, the sky was blue! Who knew?
Making the escape seemed important because the concrete stairs and passages at the National Indoor Stadium seemed to be even harder than the bed at the hotel. Barely.
-- Diane Pucin
Watching the televised diving on the Olympic network in Beijing, it is obvious the directors are going for one thing, and one thing only.
After every dive, the cameras follow the divers to a shower behind the diving boards. There, while still wearing their suits, the divers spend several seconds in the shower, sometimes using a washcloth, other times rinsing their hair.
There has been a Internet buzz about the televised scenes, with most folks either celebrating their allure or complaining about their lack of taste.
Televising them is nothing but a weak excuse to stick sex into the Olympics while exploiting the athletes who are just trying to get loose.
There must be a better way.
Isn’t that why they invented beach volleyball?
-- Bill Plaschke
Katie Hoff was smiling again, about 15 hours or so after she looked spent after a missing a spot in the final of the 800-meter freestyle.
She said she pretty much shut down after about 500 meters.
One question on Friday morning in the mixed zone, in particular, by my colleague Bill Plaschke, brought forth the most telling response from her the morning after she and her coach Paul Yetter chose not to speak to the media.
Plaschke asked about America’s obsession with gold medals and how anything other than that is perceived as a bust. Was it fair?
“I don’t think it’s really fair,” she said. “I think Michael [Phelps] is doing what he’s doing and it’s incredible, but it kind of makes the rest of us look like, if you don’t win a gold medal, it’s not . . .”
Would have been interesting to hear the end of that sentence.
-- Lisa Dillman