Dating for gold
In some Olympic events, carrying the torch is a bad thing
by Kris Frieswick
It's a beautiful evening here in Sydney, and I'm just thrilled to be your
commentator for the first-ever finals in the newest Olympic event: Olympic
dating. I'm Cindi Baxter, with ZBC Sports.
And I'm Jim Watson, and you're right, Cindi. It couldn't be a more perfect
night for the premiere of the dating event. You know, Cindy, as with any new
sport, there was a swirl of controversy surrounding the addition of competitive
dating to the Games this year. The traditionalists felt that dating is not a
sport and has no real place in the Games. In fact, several prominent
International Olympic Committee members filed formal written protests about the
decision. Well, I'm betting those guys have forgotten what it's like to be on a
third date, sweating over a menu written entirely in French. Now that's what I
call facing the agony of defeat.
From what I hear, Jim, those IOC members aren't having any problems getting
dates these days anyway.
So right, Cindi, so right. Now, up to this point, the semifinal action has
been fierce, taking place over the past four Friday and Saturday nights. The
field has been whittled down to just eight finalists, four in the women's
category and four in the men's. The competition thus far has gone like this:
the Olympians are sent out into a major metropolitan area, in this case Sydney,
to procure dates. The competitors are judged technically on a series of
compulsory events, including restaurant and clothing selection, but they are
also judged artistically on style, conversational substance, and, most
important, whether the date leads to a meaningful relationship or, barring
And what a competition it's been, Jim. Originally, there were more than 50
competitors from 22 countries. The Italian men and women seemed very strong
going into the semifinals, with all having secured third dates, but the entire
men's contingent was eliminated during the last round, coincidentally for the
same rules violation: uninvited groping. The Italian women were eliminated
during the most recent round as well, and post-date interviews revealed that
nearly all their dates said the Italian women were lovely, complex creatures,
but in the end, the men just didn't, and I quote, "understand what the hell
they were talking about half the time."
Wow, rough break for the Italians. And it was tough going for the Germans as
well, Cindi. Not one German competitor was able to secure a second date. A
review of the date-replay films indicated that the Germans' dating style,
typified by a certain cold, regimented aloofness, left their dates utterly
unaware that they had actually been on a date. So it looks like that team is
going to be heading into some serious training before next season. Could we see
a coach change there, Cindi?
I wouldn't doubt it, Jim. They've obviously got a lot of personal work
to do before they're ready for this level of world-class dating. This brings us
to the finalists: four French, two Americans, and a real surprise here at these
games, two Australians, obviously the favorites to win this one.
The Australians are definitely a surprise, but they do have the home-court
advantage. Tonight, we'll be following the play-by-play on a date between Paul
Robideaux, a strong contender on the American team, and his lady friend, a
woman named Regina, from a small suburb just west of Sydney. They've already
been out together four times, and they appear to enjoy each other's company.
Paul, a dentist, is 34, and has never been married. Regina, 28, is a graduate
student studying natural-resource management. Their date earlier this evening
was really quite a spectacle.
Jim, as I watched Paul pick Regina up at her flat, his execution of the
compulsory car-door-opening maneuver was just outstanding. You can see why he's
such a strong contender here today.
Absolutely, Cindi. Again, some IOC members had a problem with including that
move in the compulsories, saying it was archaic and sexist, but it's turned out
to be one of the highlights of the competition. As has the compulsory
compliment section, which can be extremely tricky if not executed
And again, watching Paul compliment Regina on her perfume was just stunning. It
was subtle, and used just the right amount of offhandedness without being
lecherous. Truly a gold-medal performance there, Jim. Now, as we review the
tape from their dinner, we can see that Paul had a few stumbles during the
optional "questions about the family" section. This is not a compulsory
section, and it's clear that Paul is really pushing things here to impress the
judges. Do you think he pulled it off?
Well, things definitely got dicey when Regina revealed her alcoholic-father
situation. Paul is an experienced competitor, and he should have known better
than to bring family into it so early on. I'm not sure he pulled it off, but it
looks like he may have made up for it with the deft handkerchief offer when
Regina's eyes welled up. Nicely done.
Paul's performance during the wine/food-matching compulsories shows just
how hard he's been training for this competition. A Pomerol with the foie gras
appetizer . . . pure genius. He could be bringing the gold home to
the US this year.
Absolutely. Did you notice Regina's hair-flip/lip-lick combination when Paul
placed that order? The judges just love the interplay that these two have
created. It's electrifying chemistry.
Let's not get ahead of ourselves. In order for Paul to be a medal contender,
the judges want to see some indication that this relationship is going
somewhere. Paul has consistently steered clear of taking any kind of initiative
in this area, and both the judges and Regina are eagerly waiting to see whether
he makes his big move here tonight.
We join the date as Paul is dropping Regina off at her flat. They've had
some great food and conversation, lots of laughing. He's walking her to the
door, he's bending down to kiss her. She's responding. Things look good.
Jim, it looks like Regina's hands are grabbing Paul at the base of his spine, a
very positive sign for Paul. It looks like Paul is moving his arms around to
the front of Regina's blouse, and. . . .
Oh, wait. It looks like Regina is backing away. She's backing away. Oh,
that's got to be a crushing blow for Paul. He's trying to recover with a
heartfelt apology, but I don't know if he's going to be able to land it after
this gaffe. Regina looks like she's having none of it. She's opening the door
to her flat, and . . . she's going in. She's going in. Not even a
final peck on the cheek. Looks like this turkey's cooked, Cindi.
What a heartbreaking development for Robideaux, Jim. Fortunes turn just that
fast in the dating competition. One false move and all the years of training,
hoping, working toward a goal . . . all right out the window. Looks
like the US will have to turn its hopes elsewhere for gold this year. Well,
that's it for us here in Sydney. I'm Cindi Baxter. . . .
And I'm Jim Watson. For ZBC Sports, thanks for joining us.
Kris Frieswick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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