The Diary of an Insomniac Olympics Junkie, Vol. 1 | Sports

The Diary of an Insomniac Olympics Junkie, Vol. 1

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As part of our ongoing, comprehensive coverage of the 2018 Winter Olympics, we have assigned chronic insomniac Elizabeth Nelson and brand-new, first-time father Mike V. to turn on the TV and share their reflections whenever they might happen to remember to do so, something we’re calling the INDY’s Exhausted Olympics Coverage™. For our current installment, we transcribe Elizabeth’s first weekend journals, dropped off at the offices early this morning in a breadbox-sized valise.

Friday 10:50 PM EST
I’ve just awoken at an irregular hour. My days have become a permeable thing, confusedly perched between sunlight and darkness. Attribute it to what you will: the phantom back pain, the distance running, the West Coast policy work. It all adds up to no sleep ever. I’ve been a mess. A mess of Winter Olympics fever! I was dead-set on watching the opening ceremonies from Pyeongchang. I set my clock to it and was still three hours late. But not too late for the END OF BROADCAST RECAP!

Just catching up on the recap. Great recap. I loved it. My notes: “So confused. Security problems? One madman in two places?? Yikes. Hologram arena. ‘Doves, candlelight, children and the future’—Katie Couric. Did someone just mention Otto Von Bismarck? No—that was in my mind. Mike Tirico: ‘These are complex times.’ I’ll say. Wait, all of this took place at 12:59 p.m yesterday? And by yesterday you mean the Tuesday of last week’s Thursday??”

And like that, we are in.

Saturday 3:21 AM EST
Still awake, despite the employ of off-brand sleep aidz. Should have sprung for one without the z. Whatcha got, ’Limpics? Better be hot sauce, because I’m tired and cranky. American figure skating favorite Nathan Chen’s debut? Oh hell yes. God, I’m happy I’m up and crazed and watching male figure skating. And Chen! I didn’t know him before just now, but I strongly sense that he is not to be trifled with. A great hope to follow in the footsteps of previous American figure skaters like Scott Hamilton and Oleg Protopopov.

Oh, he just hit the first-ever quad flip in the Olympic Games! Bonne chance! And then, OH NO, he faceplants on a triple axel. Uncharacteristic blunder. Fourth place. You’d think ... you’d think Chen could do better. What time is it? 

Saturday 4:24 AM EST
Re-showing the opening ceremony, with a special emphasis on the soft-diplomacy between South and North Korea and the heavily slathered muscleman from Tonga. Maybe it’s just my current mental state—I’m so exhausted—but I think I really like marching. I love to see the nations of the world marching into the center square, even though it’s not a medaled competition. Then the representatives of Bermuda take the stage in actual Bermuda shorts, despite the wicked weather. I think the Opening Ceremonies are my favorite part of the Olympics, and I wish someone would recap them.

Sunday 2:26 PM EST
Got up a little later then I intended. Missed perspective breakfast and/or brunch with friends by five and three hours, respectively. Don’t care. Eff that noise. What’s on the Olympic channel? Speed skating. Dutchman by the name of Kramer—Sven Kramer—wins his third consecutive gold in the five thousand meters.  I could have told you that was going to happen. Woman’s hockey getting underway. USA beats Finland 3–1. Finland’s Riikka Valila is forty-four! My Olympic dreams are rekindled! Snowboarding now, and as a creature of the slopes in my younger days, I totally get it. I would commit a grisly homicide for some huevos rancheros.

Monday 2:26 AM EST
I’m sad to be up, but I’m happy to be up, too. I’m sad because I’ve only slept four hours in the last year, and that feels unsustainable. But I’m happy because the ladies’ slopestyle is on and popping! Up the ridge they go, those daring damsels touched not by fear of death or biblical reckoning! Up and away, in their nationally specific flight suits! In mythology, winter is a season of hope, whose every cutting blast of chilly misery is a reminder of the special circumstances that lead us to be alive and electrified by the spectacle of the god-like athlete. I love the Olympics! Today is Monday.


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