It’s a little misleading.
The 1994 Winter Games were in Lillehammer, Norway. But really they were sort of all over a 75 mile radius of Lillehammer. Kind of like events at a “Memphis Olympics” being held in Dyersburg and Tupelo.
The Vancouver Games haven’t been in Vancouver only, but also at nearby mountains and other venues around Vancouver. So it’s not so much a host city as it is a host area.
One day while I was in Lillehammer for the Olympics, my new friend Doug — who I’d met a few days earlier on the train from Oslo — and I took a bus the 60 or so miles south to the city of Hammer to the figure skating venue. Figure skating is already a very popular event and the ’94 Games had the added drama brought on by Tonya Harding and her thug husband.
This particular day it was just practice for the skaters, but even their practice sessions were popular! I met Nancy Kerrigan there — very sweet and friendly to everyone — and might have met Tonya too. But Tonya was aloof and stayed away from the fans. Plus, she looked like she might’ve been packin’ heat.
I met Katarina Witt, the German Olympic Gold Medalist! (Katarina is maybe the hottest woman to ever lace up a pair of ice skates! I could be wrong about that, but that’s my story!) She was in the stands as a spectator and I just walked up to her and the small group of friends she was with and said, “HowUdooin?” She smiled and immediately called out, “SECURITY!!!” hahaha Not really! She was class and elegance, beauty and charm and invited ME to sit with them! Sweeeeeeeeet!! I was a little star struck, I have to tell you. OK, I was a LOT star struck! (A beautiful athletic woman with depth, passion, and grace … how could I possibly resist?)
After the practice sessions that evening, Doug and I went in search of a bus to take us back to Lillehammer. But somehow my friend from Georgia and I got on the wrong bus. Of course we didn’t know it was the wrong bus until it stopped about half way to Lillehammer in the middle of no where and the driver deposited us out on the side of the road at about 9 PM. How could this remote outpost possibly be a bus stop??
This turned out to be the last stop and the bus was empty except for the two of us knuckleheads. Doug and I desperately tried to explain to the driver that we needed to go on to Lillehammer, but apparently our English and caveman-like gestures made no sense to him. So out we went into “the land of the ice and snow” … and there we stood like a couple of idiots watching the bus drive away.
And so there we were.
I started to imagine the obit in my hometown newspaper: “Tony Ludlow, local boy who done good, died in Norway yesterday. Found frozen like a fudgesicle in a forest.”
Standing there in the dark, on the side of a snow covered road, in the middle of who knows where, somewhere in snow covered freezing cold Norway, we tried to come up with a plan. Since Lillehammer was north of Hammer, and there would be no other buses coming, Doug and I figured we’d start walking north. What choice did we have?
We’d trudged along for about 30 minutes in the dark, no houses in sight, no sounds, no cars, no signs of life … when at last we heard the sound of a single car coming up from behind us. I guess we looked lost and pathetic out there all alone walking in the Norwegian countryside.
The car, a Toyota van, stopped and the driver, a middle aged Norwegian man who looked like a Viking, spoke to us in pleasant sounding Norwegian. Inside the van were two other people. Doug and I pleaded, “Does anyone speak English?”
“Oh yaahh, vee kunn owl spekk English.” the driver said excitedly. “Whare du yew gou?”
We explained our predicament and he told us to get in, that they were also going to Lillehammer! WOW! What luck, I thought. A ride back to a warm hostel, a hot shower, and some vending machine snacks for dinner.
But that’s not what happened.
Instead, Eyvandar and his wife Aleund and daughter Hedda took us to their home in Lillehammer and fed us, got us a little drunk and then robbed us.
NO! They didn’t rob us! They fed us until we were completely stuffed. We had reindeer, cheese, breads, jams, beer and a variety of all sorts of things I’d never heard of but found to be really tasty.
Eyvander looked just like your quintessential Viking, needing only a horned helmet and a battle axe to complete the look! Aleund and Hedda, a college student, looked like all pretty Norwegian women, long blond hair, rosy red cheeks, and crystal clear blue eyes. Their home was warm and comfortable and looked like a chalet with exposed oak and pine walls and floors. There was an awesome fireplace that warmed the large room that was part kitchen, part dinning room, and part den. Our new friends asked us questions about America, the Olympics, and what our impressions of Norway were. They were so proud that the world had come to their doorstep!
Sometime after midnight, they drove us to our hostel and as we were getting out of their car thanking them and saying good night, Doug and I saw the most amazing sight! There in the northern sky was the aurora borealis, the Northern Lights! It was absolutely breathtaking!
What an incredible and amazing night! What an awesome unintended adventure!
Doug and I were a couple of lost, cold, hungry, and slightly worried guys dragging ourselves along on the side of the road, in the dark, in a foreign country … and three wonderful people drove up and took a chance on us. With nothing to commend us to their generosity or kindness, they extended themselves beyond anything we could have asked for and then seemed hurt when we tried to offer them money for their trouble. It was no trouble, they protested. It was their pleasure.
There’s an interesting verse in the Bible that goes like this: “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.”
I’m pretty sure that Doug and I were the ones entertained by angels.
Good luck in Vancouver Team Norway! I know there’s a wonderful family back home cheering you on!
BOOT CAMP DISCOUNTS AND FACEBOOK EXPERIMENT!
The hottest buzz in internet marketing is the use of social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.
Beginning right this minute, right this very second, while you’re sitting here reading this on your computer, you Boot Camper Facebookers have an opportunity to help me conduct a fun social networking experiment … AND — get ready for it — YOU’LL GET BOOT CAMP DISCOUNTS!
Here’s the experiment:
For every status update (not writing on my wall) that you make that references “USMC Fitness Boot Camp,” “Sgt. Tony’s Boot Camp,” “Tony’s Boot Camp,” or something similar, you can take $2.50 off your reenlistment fee! Up to $20 off for any given month!
Your status update has to be a specific reference to USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP. So, “I love boot camp!” wouldn’t work cuz there are lots of fake boot camps out there! Any reference to me and my boot camp will work. “Great Boot Camp workout with Sgt. Tony this morning!” is good! “I love USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP!” is good! “I love Sgt. Tony and his Boot Camp ROCKS!!” is REALLY good! hahaha You get the idea! Use your own wording and personality, just include the specifics.
Oh, and for you haters, the reference has to be POSITIVE! “Sgt. Tony is mean!” or something similar, wouldn’t really work! But, “Sgt. Tony is wonderfully mean and kicked my butt at boot camp today!” does!
Have fun with this! Be creative! You can even poke a “little” fun at me too!
And try to restrict yourself to just one of these status updates per day, please. You don’t want 8 status updates in a row going out on the same day! That would not be in keeping with the experiment!
The deal gets better …
If one of your Facebook friends, who isn’t a boot camper, goes to the website (www.usmcfitnessbootcamp.com) because of YOUR status updates and contacts me through the boot camp website, you get an additional $5 off your next enlistment for a max of $20, just for going to the website and sending me an email from there. Your friend has to actually contact me through the website, not through Facebook. This will help to measure traffic to the website directly from Facebook.
AND … if someone joins because they learned about us through your status update, your next monthly enlistment is FREE!
You could get up to $40 OFF for one month and the next month after that could be FREE, simply by making a few Facebook status updates!
So get started right now! This also applies to Boot Campers who’ve taken some time off to hibernate for the winter! You know who you are!
Log on to your Facebook account and say something like, “Sgt. Tony is the most awesomest man in Memphis!” And your discounts begin!
LOSE THE WEIGHT – The Body You Want in July Begins With a Strategy Today!
Take Shape For Life – weight loss program is simply amazing!
The program calls for you to daily eat 5 Medifast replacement meals (soups, shakes, bars, puddings, oatmeal, and even brownie bites!) and one “lean and green” meal that you prepare or have at a restaurant. I had mine at Humdinger’s last night — tilapia, zucchini, and asparagus.
Take Shape For Life …
* It’s simple
* It’s scientific (Johns Hopkins endorsed)
* It takes the guess work out of the process
* It’s goof proof
* It’s very affordable!
* IT WORKS!
* It’s delivered right to your front door!
* You’re not hungry!
* You learn the habits of long term weight loss. No yo-yo’ing!
* And best of all, you get ME as your coach!
You can go directly to the Take Shape For Life website (below) and poke around there. Plenty of detailed information. You can also sign up there as well. Or feel free to call me. 901-644-0145.
Go to: www.combatchallenge.tsfl.com .
If you’ve got questions, join us tomorrow night at 7 PM at Panera Bread for a casual get together and information gathering of Sgt Tony’s Take Shape For Life Battalion. No stress or obligation! Just fun and support!
I’m really excited about Take Shape! The success that those who are on the program have had has been awesome!
MAKING A FACE!
Several of you need to move up in your weights. Many are using the same dumbbells that you started with. MOVE UP! You should be making a face during the last few reps of most of our exercises. So it’s time to increase your dumbbells!
Be bold, my friends! Keep your eyes on the life you want.
To your continued good health and fitness!
Sergeant Major Tony Ludlow
USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP, Commanding
Mailing address: 4888 Southern Ave., Memphis, TN 38117
Cell Phone: 901-644-0145