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Suomi Россия – Venäjä Финляндия February 24, 2006

Posted by BiB in Uncategorized.
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Talk about divided loyalties in the BiB household. We’re watching the Olympic ice-hockey semi-final between Finland and Russia to see who gets to go for gold – whatever did happen to Henry Kelly? – against the Swedes who, to my (relative) chagrin, beat the Czechs in the other semi earlier today. The Russian is, it goes without saying, rooting for the Russians. I am, naughtily, rooting for the Finns. This is not strictly for the sake of sowing a little bit of enmity chez nous. It is, at least partly, down to a genuine love of Finland and, as someone who doesn’t really get sport at all, for the sake of fairness, as the Finns haven’t won a gold this whole Olympiad whereas the Russians have won a squillion. So go Finland.

Well, unless there’s something of a miracle, it looks like my wishes are going to be granted, at least for this evening. And Finns must be celebrating in the only way they know how at the prospect of a final against their arch-enemies, the Swedes. Indeed, there’s no route to the final a Finn could prefer, I reckon. Beating semi-arch-enemy before, if all goes according to plan, beating arch-enemy in the final.

Anyway, divided loyalties aside, half the joy of watching this match, ignoring work and knocking back red wine on a Friday night, is listening to the (I’m guessing) American-Canadian commentary on Eurosport. There is a Russian player on the ice called Kovalchuk (Ковальчук) – pronounced Ka-val’-CHOOK – being pronounced KO-val-chuck by the commentator, which couldn’t sound less Russian (or Ukrainian, as the case may be). Which is a nice way, at least, of relieving the tension in the BiB household. We can at least snigger while secretly wanting to smack each other over the head with ice-hockey sticks (except I don’t, of course, as the Finns are whooping the Russians’ collective arse).

I’ve been relatively gripped by these Winter Olympics, it must be said. Could be because I’ve been skint and busy and have been forced to sit indoors for god knows how long. But there are spectacles galore and, living with a Russian poof, even ice-skating, for example, has been a staple factor of our televisual entertainment in recent days. Again we had divided loyalties as I whooped for the Japanese lady – again claiming fairness as my main motive; I might need to analyse this – and the Russian whooped for the Russian. (But her hair was ludicrous, so she deserved to fall.) And some of the skills displayed in various disciplines are pretty breathtaking. And the glory. The glory. It’s got to be a sensation-and-a-half getting up on that podium and claiming the Olympic gold. And how often do curlers get the horn, eh? I bet those Canadians were pretty fucking chuffed today, though.

Anyway, a translator’s work is never done (because he’s watching TV). The Finns can now celebrate in style, the Russian and I can exchange frosty glares and my computer can labour further under its own divided loyalties – doing its duty to me while simultaneously resenting being subjected to my very own scorn-filled, translation-weary fingers…

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