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Diversions

Sleepless in Turin

Members of the media board a bus to the press center in Turin, Feb. 8, 2006. Getty Images hide caption

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Members of the media board a bus to the press center in Turin, Feb. 8, 2006.

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Horses, I understand, sleep standing up. We do that at the Winter Olympics as well. Because reporters, cameramen and women, producers, editors — we have to get sleep where and when we can. Snuggling into bed at 10 or 11 and setting the alarm clock for 7 a.m. isn't done that much here. It's more like collapse on your bed at 3 a.m. and then up at 7... unless you have to get up earlier to hit that two- to three-hour bus ride into the mountains.

Some of the real drama at the games doesn't involve supremely fit, supremely rested athletes. No... some of the drama happens at the transportation hub near the Main Press Center — the spot where the buses congregate to take journalists this way and that.

You want excitement? Imagine an out-of-shape reporter sprinting across the parking lot trying to make the 2 a.m. bus back to his housing. That reporter, let's call him "Tom Goldman from NPR," made the sprint lugging two bags of equipment the other night... and got to the bus at 2:02 a.m. Problem was, the bus left two minutes before. The agony of defeat. I had to stand in the early morning chill... waiting until the 2:30 bus showed up. Just lost another half-hour of sleep. I gazed across at the athletes' village — dark and peaceful. Inside their rooms, athletes undoubtedly were well into their sleep cycles or... judging by the stories you hear about the constant shortage of condoms... well into other activities. I didn't dwell on it however — it would've made the morning that much colder. So I stood and let my eyes droop. And dreamed of carrots and hay....

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