Rings and rinks: Joubert, Ohno and Valentine's Day

Behind the scenes at the Winter Games in Vancouver

Brian Joubert on the ice during a practice session last February in Vancouver.
Brian Joubert on the ice during a practice session last February in Vancouver. (Getty Images )


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By Linda Przygodski and Lynn Rutherford
(02/14/2010) -'s team on the ground in Vancouver, Linda Przygodski and Lynn Rutherford, pen all the tidbits from the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.

Oh No
Myself (Linda), Lynn (Rutherford) and U.S. Figure Skating's Interactive Media Manager Mickey Brown took a break from skating Saturday night to do -- guess what? -- watch more skating!

We headed over to PAC (Pacific Coliseum) and checked out the short-track speedskating events.

While we didn't really know what was going on -- totally should have taken a "rules" cheat sheet -- we all enjoyed watching Apolo Anton Ohno become the most decorated Olympic short-track skater in history with six medals from three Games with his silver medal winning skate.

Not that anyone really cares but we'll all be giving our take on curling later this week. Don't worry we've studied up on the difference between the Lead, the Second, the Third or the Vice-Skip and the Skip.

Curling rules makes IJS look like seventh grade math homework.

Valentine's Day Love
Emmanuela Gaggin Roberti, a reporter for Italy's RSI TV, was so overcome by affection for Stephane Lambiel that she stormed the podium during his press conference to plant a kiss and present him with a stuffed toy.

Speaking in voluble Italian, the middle-aged Roberti thanked Lambiel for all his wonderful performances over the years and wished him happy Valentine's Day. The Swiss surprised her by answering in Italian.

"I didn't know he spoke the language!" Roberti said.

Kerrigan in Vancouver
Olympian Nancy Kerrigan is taking a time out from the tragedies of the last few weeks to serve as a special correspondent for the entertainment news program Entertainment Tonight. is happy that Nancy has the opportunity to be here to celebrate the games with the U.S. team.

Joubert on quads
You really can't have an international competition without asking Brian Joubert about quads -- I mean the press corps always does right?

So, here you go: "I think the quad is the future of figure skating," said Joubert in a French team press conference Saturday. "I remember Elvis Stojko doing the quad-triple and it was extraordinary.

"In 2002, 15 skaters were doing the quad, now there are about six. This is because of the new [judging] system. But I think the quad will make the difference in the Olympic title."

Red mittens
OK, I have to admit, we've been obsessed with the red torchbearer mittens for about three months.

Word was that they were sold out all over town well before we got to Vancouver. I am happy to report that a "rerun" of mitten production seems to have happened and they are once again available for purchase for about $10 Canadian dollars.

Naturally, we've bought a few pairs.

Where's Sandra Bullock when you need her?
The media bus from the Main Press Center to the Pacific Coliseum was stymied by a Chinese New Year's celebration on the streets of Vancouver.

We are going to say this as nicely as possible, but the area in Vancouver from the MPC to PAC is in a pretty seedy neighborhood. We passed at least two dozen homeless shelters while the driver tried to egg us into a media sing-a-long to "Incense and Peppermints."

Best moment: An international media member from the back of the bus shouting out "Hey, can you drop me off at the Detox Center."

Men's draw highlights
All of the top men's skaters did their own draw for the men's short program with the exception of Evan Lysacek, Johnny Weir, Jeremy Abbott and Patrick Chan (U.S. Figure Skating's Senior Director of Athlete High Performance, Mitch Moyer drew for the U.S. team and Debbi Wilks did the honors for Chan).

Interesting morsels
Brian Joubert is not staying in the athlete's village -- he is in a house about 15 minutes from the Pacific Coliseum (where the skating events are): "I made this choice because I didn't feel so well in the village in my first two Olympic Games."

Evgeni Plushenko looking fabulous and fit with his wife at the men's short program draw.

Lynn (Rutherford) clothes-lined Tomas Verner in the media center. We fear if he skates poorly she will be cursed by a Czech gypsy.

Meryl Davis and Charlie White are scheduled to shoot a segment with Olympic Champion swimmer Summer Sanders for the Rachael Ray Show Monday in Vancouver. They will be preparing their favorite snack. Stay tuned for the air date.

Peggy Fleming and former bobsled champion Vonetta Flowers were both slightly injured in a traffic accident Sunday while riding in Vice President Joe Biden's motorcade at the Vancouver Olympics.

Fleming and Flowers were taken to a hospital as a precaution and released, spokesman Jay Carney said.