Well, this was probably the most inevitable column of the Olympics: Bill Plaschke, harshing Lindsey Jacobellis's mellow.
What else would you expect? The guy is a one-man Woman's Christian Temperance Union. He's a finger-wagging bore and self-appointed guardian of middle-class virtue who has constructed a moral universe for himself out of single-sentence paragraphs and a copy of The Kid Who Only Hit Homers, and now here he is, writing about athletes who are genetically, temperamentally, perhaps even psychotropically disinclined to give a schussing fuck.
Cripes, having Bill Plaschke cover the snowboarders is like sending Carrie Nation to Mardi Gras. Witness:
Lindsey Jacobellis' ride for Olympic redemption slid off the Cypress Mountain course in the first turn of the snowboard cross semifinals Tuesday, but she still grabbed the last word.
The last two words, actually.
Remember how four years ago in Turin, Italy, Jacobellis blew a gold medal when she attempted a trick on her final jump, eating snow and finishing second? Remember how she was criticized for putting snowboard style ahead of gold-medal substance?
Well, on Tuesday, she finished with another trick, clutching her board during the final jump of her disqualified run, finishing her eventually fifth-place Olympic performance with something called a "truck-driver grab."
Eighteen wheels of defiance.
For whatever reason, Plaschke is still well-regarded in certain journalism circles. This confounds me. At his best, he's just Rick Reilly with a worn-out return key, and at his worst, well ... eighteen wheels of defiance? Who writes like that? I mean, besides the guy who did poster copy for Over the Top?
Fun? The world's most decorated female snowboard cross racer fails to win a gold medal twice in two Olympics and still insists on showing everyone she's having fun?
Jacobellis, 24, whose blond curls and blue eyes overshadow her granite jaw, wasn't finished making a point.
After the semifinals, unlike virtually every other Olympian in the world who has just competed in a medal event, she walked past several dozen media members waiting and shouting for her in the snow beyond the finish line.
Not only didn't she stop, she didn't even look, pointedly walking away from the kinds of folks who ripped her four years ago, folks who she believes will never understand the culture of her game.
Officials from the U.S. Olympic Committee, who refreshingly demand accountability from their athletes, coaxed her back into a news conference, but it wasn't easy.
"I found all my friends and family. . . . I was anxious to go see them. . . . I had the doping control. . . . I kind of wanted to get all that done with," Jacobellis explained of her media snub, even though she could have finished her mandated interview in five minutes.
In its 12th year at the Olympics, snowboarding continues to grow in ways we never imagined. It is now officially a bratty kid who is convinced we will never understand it.
Sportswriters like Plaschke love to bang the high-chair tray over "accountability." To be "accountable," in their world, is to engage in a sort of Maoist self-criticism ritual whereby the athlete steps in front of a microphone and affects whatever emotion is deemed appropriate to the hour. Lindsey Jacobellis lost again, and she wanted no part of that ritual, and neither would I, and neither would Bill Plaschke, and for Plaschke to demand that she or anyone else for that matter conform to his ridiculous standards of behavior is, I'm sorry, 18 wheels of stupid.
Snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis remains defiant in clutch after slide [Los Angeles Times]