Geoff Calkins, Commercial Appeal sportswriter, is the man. Always on the mark, he s been out in Utah doing a thoroughly professional and bang-up job covering the 2002 Winter Olympics, reporting heartfelt stories, like the one about a woman from Memphis who beat the odds to make it to the games to see her adopted son compete in the bobsled competition, and how, even though he didn t win a medal, she was simply elated just to see him compete. And while he and I both know that he is simply vying for that Best Columnist award in a certain local readers poll, I don t hold it against him one bit and, in fact, will cast my vote for him again this year, as I always do. But there are other Olympics stories that need to be examined, and I figure I might as well give it a shot. First of all, there s the controversial figure-skating debacle in which Russian skaters Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze beat out Canadians Jamie Sale and David Pelletier for the gold medal in a judgment call by a French judge who claims she was pressured to vote for the Russian couple in exchange for votes for French athletes. Yes, it was traumatic for everyone involved, but Sale s behavior can be summed up in one word: bitch. Yeah, yeah, yeah, we all know she worked hard and skated well and yada, yada, yada. But she could have been a little more gracious, like the Russian skaters and her own partner. Forget the fact that she shares the same basic physical trait as Nancy Kerrigan -- neither has lips -- and the fact that her eyes are about to pop out; she just acts like a spoiled brat. And one can tell simply by observing her for a few moments that you couldn t get a needle up her you-know-what with a jackhammer. I bet if you put a coffee cup down on a table in her house without a coaster she would lunge across the room and begin clawing your eyes out with her, well, her claws. But enough about her. She s gotten enough ink to last her a lifetime. The person to truly feel sympathy for is Apolo Ohno (an unfortunate last name in his case), the Seattle speed skater who missed winning a gold medal by just a few yards when everyone but one Australian skater went down in a big crash and he gashed his leg but still managed to make it across the line to win the silver. He deserves everyone s warm feelings. And speaking of warm feelings, what about this double luge, which involves one man lying on his back on a sled with another man on his back on top as they whiz around and down the track at speeds faster than 75 miles per hour? Wow. Is there any age limitation on beginning training for this? I heard one luger describe it this way: You do this by yourself for so long that you get lonely and ask your best friend to hop on. This, in my mind, is the greatest sport of all. You have to be really close, I would think, to pair up this way. One luger stated, Let s just say I ve never been more nervous in my life Ó and I don t think I ll ever be that nervous again, to which I would counsel, Don t worry, dude, you ll get used to it. It all seems very funny-weird, if you know what I mean. Finally, did I hear correctly during a new report that it is illegal to order more than one drink in a bar in Salt Lake City and that you have to have the intention of also eating? Is Salt Lake City indeed part of the United States? Are the Mormons that powerful, with their suits and bicycles? Please tell me that I am wrong on this one. I m actually planning a trip there this year to visit a friend and have to plan for things like this. In the meantime, here s a brief look at some of the things going on around town this week. At TheatreWorks, it s opening night of Storm in the Iron Box
, the story of psychiatrist Wilhelm Reich. It s also opening day of the Madonna Circle s Memphis Antique, Garden, and Gourmet Show & Gala fund-raiser
for the Porter-Leath Children s Center that includes lectures, gallery tours, antique appraisals, cooking demonstrations, and a gala hosted by John Calipari and Jerry Schilling. The Memphis Grizzlies
are playing Phoenix tonight at The Pyramid. Saliva and Logic 34
are at the New Daisy tonight. There s a Pickin Party
with Nancy Apple at Kudzu s. There s live jazz at Cafe Zanzibar and music by the Teresa Pate Jazz Trio
at Melange. And The Last Chance Jug Band
are at the Hi-Tone.