Belly to Belly
So here’s little Jimmy working at the Winter Olympic Games in Whistler. I’m employed as a media liaison guy with Olympic Broadcasting Services. One of the menial roles I played was to work in the ‘mixing zone’, where the athletes come through after competing, to get interviewed by the various interested media. This is at the biathlon venue, so there are a lot of European broadcasters because the sport is dominated by European countries. In this particular instance, I was standing at an exit gate in the zone, to make sure no one snuck in or out. The ‘sneakees’ could be coaches, broadcasters and even athletes, trying to avoid the media. You can imagine the press of people wanting to get into the Zone, if ‘their’ athlete had medaled in the competition. Here come the Russians! One of their athletes had done well in this particular race and their coaching staff was determined to get into the media zone – illegally – to congratulate him. “No way!’, says I, following my instructions. “Only rights-holding media come in here”. Well, the Russians all seemed to be HUGE, with glowering miens and they were about to abut up against all of 5’6″ (On a good day) Jimmy! So there we where; belly to belly. Except my belly was probably at knee level for the head coach. Despite the size differential, there was no way these guys where getting through here on my watch! They tried the old, ‘sneak around, while distracting him’ tactic. They tried to intimidate (“No speakada Rooskie”, I says). They tried pushing, but I was well dug in. Yelling, threats, insults (I think), arm waving, none of it budged Mount Jimmy! I was actually enjoying this, but then my Irish started to kick in. “EVERYBODY BACK!”, I finally yelled, which brought the supervisory types scurrying to the gate. And this is how I found myself. Surrounded by tall people, a virtual forest of waving arms and raised voices from above. Well, the Russians did not get in and that was the last time I was asked to work that position. Turns out my diplomatic skills are somewhat lacking apparently . . . ..