Saturday, February 11, 2006
Turin, Italy It's not unusual to find two guys in Italy with vowels at the end of their names. There's something a little different, though, about Bode and Apolo.
Both are two-time Olympic medalists with high expectations and higher profiles. Skier Bode Miller, who recently confessed to SWI (skiing while intoxicated), inserts his feet into his mouth as often as his ski boots. Short track speedskater Apolo Anton Ohno, with his trademark wisp of facial hair and bandanna, enjoys rock star status among his fans.
Today, the pair will get their first taste of 2006 Olympic action: Miller in one of the games' top attractions, the men's downhill, and Ohno in the men's 1,500 short track speedskating. They're already trailing the U.S. team's first gold medalist, speedskater Chad Hedrick, who captured the 5,000 meters on Saturday.
Oddly, both Miller and Ohno were uncharacteristically silent before their Turin appearances. Miller blew off reporters Saturday after his final training run, while Ohno told reporters that his spartan existence in Italy includes only eating, sleeping and training.
And that's despite the presence of his girlfriend, short track skater Allison Baver.
NBC is hoping for more from both Olympians, whose events anchor the prime-time schedule as the first weekend of the Turin Games wraps up. A marathon 4 1/2-hour evening session, the network's second longest during the games, is set for tonight.
The afternoon coverage runs from 3 to 6 p.m. with the women's 3,000 meter speedskating, cross-country pursuit and men's luge -- where American Tony Benshoof is in position to become the first U.S. singles luger ever to capture an Olympic medal.
The late-night programming, from 12:05 a.m. to 1 a.m. today, features preliminaries in women's short track speedskating.