U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team responded to comedian Paula Poundstone’s recent tongue and cheek assessment of the state of the U.S. women’s cross-country ski team on Twitter.
The whole thing started on a recent episode of NPR’s popular quiz show “Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!” The conversation veered to the Olympics in a game called “Who’s Bill This Time.” The premise being, legendary journalist Bill Kurtis reads a line ripped from the headlines while a caller tries to correctly identify the story.
In this instance, Kurtis’s clue was “No flag for you,” which led to “Wait Wait” host Peter Sagal to ask the question, “That was USA Today summing up the International Olympic Committee’s response to what country that was banned from the Winter Olympics for doping?”
Panel member P.J. O’Rourke, editor-in-chief of the web magazine American Consequences, chimed in when discussing the safety concerns over the Olympics being held in South Korea, “Glad I don’t cross-country-ski.”
Which led to the following riff by comedian and fellow panel member, Paula Poundstone.
Poundstone: No one in the U.S. really does, either.
Poundstone: You know…
O’Rourke: In fact, no one on earth does. That’s what snow mobiles are for.
Poundstone: The Nordic countries kick our asses so badly. I remember watching – you know, by the way, cross-country skiing is not really a spectator sport, either.
Poundstone: It’s very hard for it to be covered. I mean, it’s boring as hell to look at. And they go by.
O’Rourke: I mean, at least with curling (laughter)…
Poundstone: Yeah. You can at least continue to watch. But I remember, I did happen to watch some the last Winter Olympics. And, you know, all the Nordic women were – because that’s how they go get their bread and stuff, for heaven’s sakes.
Poundstone: You know, but – you know…
O’Rourke: Reindeer steaks.
Poundstone: The U.S. women were, like, way back. They were texting each other. And they weren’t…
Poundstone: They weren’t really even trying. They just gave it up for the – yeah. We don’t seem to take those kinds of sports as seriously as we might.
So far this season, Team USA’s Sadie Bjornsen has been off to a hot start winning a silver and a bronze on the World Cup. The most-decorated U.S. cross-country skier, Kikkan Randall (13 World Cup wins, 29 podiums overall and one World Championship win), picked up her first medal – a bronze – last week.
As jokes are often rooted in truth, Poundstone’s jabs were not without basis. Norway does hold the record for the most cross-country medals won at an Olympic Games. While on the other end of the spectrum, the U.S. has not won an Olympic cross-country skiing medal since Bill Koch won the first and only for the U.S. back in 1976. But hopes are high for the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics with the U.S. women showing they can hang with the world’s best in recent competitions.
After the U.S. Ski Team’s tweet went out, Poundstone graciously responded to say, “Nice work! Keep going!”
Even “Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!” made nice on Twitter.
But “Wait, Wait’s” host Peter Sagal summed it up best.