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An Olympic Athlete With No Tragic History? That Won’t Do!

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Posted on Feb 11, 2006

By Andy Borowitz

A member of the U.S. Olympic ski team was disqualified from competition today when it was learned that he did not have a sufficiently compelling human storyline to exploit on the NBC telecast of the worldwide sporting event.

Tom Klujian, the expelled skier, was not raised by a single mother, never had a career-threatening injury, and did not overcome a personal tragedy of any kind before making the Olympic ski team, U.S. Olympic officials revealed today.

“Had Tom been involved in an organ donation, as either a donor or a recipient, that would have been acceptable to us,” ski team spokesman Sandy Harnofsky told reporters. “However, he was not.”

According to sources close to the ski team, Mr. Klujian had concealed the fact that he comes from an intact middle-class family who never lost their home to a flood, tornado, or typhoon.

But what may have sealed Mr. Klujian’s doom, sources said, was his utter lack of a gravely ill family member to win a medal for.

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“Tom did his best to hide his background from team officials,” one source said. “But when the truth came out, he was finished.”

Speaking to reporters in Salt Lake City, NBC Sports Chairman Dick Ebersol was even less charitable, terming Mr. Klujian’s actions “a reprehensible betrayal.”

“We do our best to check out all of the athletes to make sure that their backgrounds are full of compelling human drama, but we can’t catch everything,” Mr. Ebersol said. “This is a case of one really bad guy exploiting the system.”

Elsewhere, scientists discovered the earliest known ancestor of Tyrannosaurus rex at the halftime show of Super Bowl XL.

Award-winning humorist, television personality and film actor Andy Borowitz is author of the new book “The Borowitz Report: The Big Book of Shockers.” To find out more about Andy Borowitz and read his past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.


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By Deborah Warcken, February 19, 2006 at 1:24 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This is one reason I rarely watch the Olympics (or other televised sports). I used to enjoy them because I like to see the competition and the athletic excellence. Now it’s all about their little dramas. I did watch a bit this past week and, actually, NBC is better than ABC was. It was ABC who started all this in the first place - remember “up close and personal”?

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By Roberto, February 15, 2006 at 1:59 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This is very hard to believe. Did the athlete make up a bio-story and Olympic officials found him to be lying? B/c that is different (like lying in a job application).  I cannot believe that in lieu of excelling the most at a sport comes second to an after-school-special-life to qualify for the Olympics. Does any one know the facts? The story is suspiciously one-sided.

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By Richard Mahler, February 14, 2006 at 2:48 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Americans must lead such sad lives that we are compelled to feed off the lives of overpaid athletes and film stars. No matter how truly remarkable their accomplishments and talents, why is it we are mostly obsessed with their personal lives, their problems and their behavior? And if their behavior is sociopathic, we are absolutely mesmerized! What matters is how they perform and not why they perform or how they are able to perform. I tune out television interviews with celebrities because I don’t need to know what they eat, how they amuse themselves, what clothes they wear, who they go out with, who they married or divorced, how amazing their children are, what habits or health problems they overcome; I know about ordinary non-celebrities who deserve more credit for living their lives the best they are able. Nothing disgusts me more than seeing a reporter shoving a mic into the faces of victims of tragedy with the requisite phrase, “How do you feel about ...” Too bad our real heroes aren’t doctors, scientists, social workers, philanthropists, teachers, researchers and that most rare of human phenomenons, an elected official who works for and cares about the people whom he/she represents. Let’s get a grip on life - real life!

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By angeldust, February 13, 2006 at 11:52 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Or his mother insisted on using the monies earmarked for his trip to the Olympics to pay off Leo the Snark for her gambling and his father’s drug dealer. They re-gained some of the money back from his sister’s prostitution ring but then had to pay it for his brother’s bail.
Meanwhile he has been suffering from post traumatic stress in being denied the opportunity to carry the flag and now finds himself suffering unbearable headaches blurring his vision & balance. Further adding to this stress is the recent USOC’s ruling against dancing monkeys in the athletes’ dorms as ordered by his Dr. Drea.
And now his age has Michael Jordan refusing to even consider talking to him because he is too old.
His religious beliefs prohibit him from committing murder or suicide without an appropriate fanatic bomb. Life Sucks!!

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By Francois Lafleche, February 13, 2006 at 8:05 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Good one.
Also please notice that with the delayed broadcast if a relatively unknown foreign competitor is shown by NBC, he/she is sure to medal. God forbid they would show anything close to an entire event in which an American is not winning, choking under pressure or else crying…. all leading up to the fascinating interview later on. Will Shaun White ask Sasha Cohen out ? Thank you Bob Costas ... and after the break we will talk about stuff 25 year old Bode Miller may have said last year.

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By mookie, February 11, 2006 at 7:51 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Very funny and apt description of a telecast that makes me vomit.  Do I care if Michelle Kwan can’t compete cause she has numerous injuries or the fact she is feeling the ripe ol age of 25?  Get the zamboni out and clear her from the ice…move on. The olympics have ceased being about competition. I do NOT care one rats ass about a competitors life away from the field of play. NBC searches for canned drama to shove down our throats in the hope we will stayed glued and watch thru the commercials that pay their salaries. Shame really..there is plenty of drama during the competition.

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By Eleanore Kjellberg, February 11, 2006 at 6:46 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Very funny—Yes, every athlete needs a story or least a manufactured one—Tom might have even been selected by his compadres to hold the American Flag during the “Opening Ceremonies,” if he only could have spun a convincing tale—and I thought that was part of a world-class athletes professional training— how to create a newsworthy biography.

Now that’s a job,  James Frey, might be interested in—composing fiction/nonfiction bios for Olympic athletes.

Think of what Tom could have said;  his mother was suffering   from premature Alzheimer’s, one of his sibling was blind and the other one was death, his father recently lost his job in an auto factory accident when the engine accidentally fell on his back.  The family’s catastrophic health insurance benefits were exhausted and the bank was reposing their trailer—but Tom’s strong faith in God allowed him to endure and while going to church one snowy Sunday morning a month prior to his Olympic trials he slipped on ice ripped his cartilage in his right knee and was diagnosed with a meniscus injury.

With the bible still clutched in his hands and his unyielding faith in tact he began a course of physical therapy which remarkably healed his knee and allowed him to compete for a winning spot on the Olympic team. Unfortunately, just before leaving for Italy he found out that his medical bill was not going to paid for by his insurance company.

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