Friends and people I’ve just met often ask about my Olympic experience, and much of what I do on these exotic trips is the kind of high-level fun you would expect. This is The Big Daddy of Sporting Events, more diverse and intense and surprising and thrilling than any other.
But it’s not all excitement. I spend three to five hours a day on buses. This is true in Sochi. This was true in Athens, Beijing and London.
Most of the time, these journey offer a break from the action, a chance to stare out the window or take a nap. Or work. I’m typing these words while descending the mountain after watching Mikaela Shiffrin compete in the giant slalom.
On Sunday, I was settling into my bus seat and planning to take one of those breaks from the action. In a flash, a 275-pound European sat next to me. He’s a big dude who needed both of the compact seats. That was the first bad news.
The second part of the bad news is Big Euro Dude had not showered during these Olympics. He might not have showered in this calendar year.
And he was my bus companion for the next 65 minutes. I’ve heard from other American sports journalists who have encountered Big (Smelly) Euro Dude. My long, long ride to the coast is one of those memories I’ll bring back home, along with covering big events and gazing at the snow-capped mountains and standing beside the glistening Black Sea.
The Olympic Experience is mostly terrific, a ride I’ll never forget. But not every slice is terrific. And not every ride. Trust me on that one.