|| It's not always easy getting noticed at an
Olympics held in a city where every other person is wearing a USA
team jacket or something else with the name Roots on it.
In a city where people seem to take pride in blending in,
though, there are ways to stand out.
Other than body surfing in the mosh pit at the Olympic medals
plaza or showing off multiple piercings in Temple Square, here are
some of the best ways to attract attention during the Winter Games:
Wear a Silly Beret: Put on one of these Canadian-made U.S.
berets and see how many looks you'll get -- except everyone else is
wearing one, too. They're sure conversation starters, though, with
proud wearers trading stories about how many hours they spent in
the freezing cold outside the Roots clothing store waiting to get
in to buy one of the precious $19.95 head toppers. They're also
available on the Internet, but the odds are few people would want
to be seen in their hometowns with these on their heads.
Be a skating judge: France's Marie-Reine Le Gougne might be the
most famous judge since Lance Ito. And she didn't even have to wear
a beret to get noticed. All Le Gougne did to get attention was vote
for the Russian pair over the Canadian's in pairs figure skating,
then make a dramatic proclamation that she was under pressure to
vote for the Russians. Le Gougne, of course, later denied it all
and flew back to France where it's considered completely acceptable
to wear a beret.
Be a skating official: Ottavio Cinquanta got more air time in
the Olympics than Bob Costas. As the skating soap operas played
out, the International Skating Union president kept holding news
conferences to explain figure skating judging. Unfortunately, he
was about as understandable as the judging itself.
Skate carefully: Become Australia's first Winter Olympic gold
medalist by skating merrily along waiting for everyone else to
fall. It worked for Steven Bradbury, whose legs were so shot by the
semifinals of the 1,000-meter short track speedskating final that
he was praying for a crash. The strategy worked so well he used it
in the final, where the only one behind him on the last lap was the
Zamboni driver. Then Apolo Anton Ohno and the others crashed and
Bradbury crossed the finish line to win the gold. Americans
wouldn't know him even if he walked down the street with his gold
medal around his neck, but Bradbury became an instant sensation
Get on TV: Here's the deal: Wake up at 3 a.m., gather the family
and drive up the mountain to Park City. Once there, make up some
silly signs to get noticed, then stand shivering in the pre-dawn
darkness and wait for Katie and Matt to come out. The reward?
You'll be able to invite all your neighbors over to watch the
videotape that proves you were on national TV for a split second of
Have a large family (See get on TV): NBC loves Olympians with
large families. On the "Today Show," they usually stack them all
up in front of a fireplace and go around the room asking how it
feels to be (name an athlete's) mother, father, sister, brother,
uncle, aunt ... etc. It helps if your athlete is a perky
16-year-old named Sarah Hughes who goes on to win a gold medal.
Hold an M-16 (or any other weapon): Nothing gets more attention
at this Olympics than a gun. A Japanese cross-country coach found
that out when he made the mistake of pointing an unloaded biathlon
rifle in a hotel room in Heber City. The problems was, there were
police next door who thought Kazunari Sasaki had evil intentions.
Weapons drawn, they burst into Sasaki's room and he turned to them,
still holding the rifle. Sasaki said he heard later that police
could have shot him. "I'm so glad that they didn't," he said.
Be a skeleton racer from Ireland: It's hard to miss an athlete
wearing an orange, green and white racing suit with a large green
shamrock on his backside. That was Clifton Wrottesley, a skeleton
racer from Ireland, who spent his own money to get to Salt Lake
City but had the time of his life. Wrottesley finished fourth,
barely missing Ireland's first Winter Games medal ever. He did show
some ingenuity later by finding a way to get a pint of Guinness in
Salt Lake City.
Be hairy: Colored hair usually works, especially if it is red,
white and blue. Tristan Gale streaked her hair with the colors of
the flag, added some sparkles and then streaked her way to a gold
medal in skeleton. Russian hockey player Katia Pashkevitch did the
same, though hers was white, red and blue for the Russian flag.
Don't overlook Apolo Anton Ohno's soul patch on his lower lip,
which is becoming so trendy in his hometown of Seattle that people
were lining up for fake ones in his father's styling salon after
his gold-medal speedskating win.
Carry a broom: Nothing beats a sport where you can buy your
equipment at Home Depot. And, for medal-starved Britain, nothing
beats the four Scottish housewives who swept their way to a gold
medal in curling. The curling queens, as they have been dubbed, are
the first British winter gold medalists in 18 years and are taking
the nation by storm. One of the nation's biggest supermarket chains
is even offering them a contract to promote floor cleaning
Look like Harry Potter: Simon Ammann of Switzerland, who won two
gold medals in ski jumping, bears a striking resemblance to the
fictional character. "It's true we do resemble each other. But I
don't think there was a fairy wand waved over me," he said.
Yell a lot (or blame Canada): It worked for the Russians, who
threw a temper tantrum and huffed and puffed that they would leave
the Olympics. They didn't, of course, but all the bluster did take
the country's mind off the fact it was having a miserable Olympics.
Skate the program of your life: Hughes did just that Thursday
night, charming the country with the enthusiasm of a teen-ager who
had nothing to lose. Even the skating judges couldn't mess this one
up, giving Hughes a gold medal that thrilled everyone but some
-- The Associated Press