The Italian Job

OK, now this is what we're talkin' about. Remember how you said that you wouldn't be watching the Winter Olympics? You pointed out, as we recall, that American Idol was kicking the Olympics' ass in the ratings, and that watching luge was about as exciting as observing avocados ripen. Well, what if the Winter Olympics could guarantee the following:

• A doping plot is uncovered.
• Police stage a raid on the only group of athletes whose event requires them to carry guns.
• A high-speed car chase through the Alps.
• Olympic coach smashes through road block.
• Mysterious disapperance of two biathletes.
• Only 24 hours remaining to find and defuse the bomb!

We made up the last one, but the rest are true. On Sunday, banned Austrian ski coach Walter Mayer bolted the Turin Games after a doping raid on his team, and made for the Italian border, speeding through northern Italy in a minivan. He crashed a police road block before being apprehended after crossing the border into Austria. Evidently, you take your chances with the cops, but you do not want to mess with the IOC.

Their suspicions aroused by Mayer's presence at the Games because of his previous link to blood doping, Italian authorites staged a late-night raid Austria's lodgings at the Olympic Village on Saturday and carted off six skiers and four biathletes to be tested by the IOC. Test results are pending, but two biathletes Wolfgang Perner and Wolfgang Rottmann were kicked off the team after leaving the Olympics following the raids. Both had been implicated in previous blood doping. Then, according to NBCSports.com:

Mayer got out of town sometime Sunday, driving at least 250 miles from Turin before stopping to take a nap on the roadside in the mountains of southern Austria. When officers arrived on the scene to wake him up, Mayer sped away, striking and slightly injuring an officer, police said. Authorities parked an empty police vehicle across the highway as a roadblock, and Mayer slammed into the squad car, totaling both vehicles, police said. He sustained minor injuries.

We can't help it, we just love any Olympics where spike strips are involved.