Almost exactly eight years ago, I wrote this satirical Olympic profile. It was during the Salt Lake City games, and I was tired of the overly dramatic journalism that makes every athlete into a hero and a saint who overcomes all odds. This essay was in my first book, Better Than Crying: Poking Fun at Politics, the Press & Pop Culture. I'm not really selling the book anymore because I'm much funnier and a much better writer now, but all the Olympic coverage inspired me to dust off something from the old school files. Enjoy Baratunde 2002!
Olympic Profiles in Courage
Rather than provide video coverage of events, sports analysis and other boring things you don't care to see, NPTV has decided to be truly original and bring you some of the amazing life stories of the individuals participating in the Games. It's a little something we like to call God Himself Couldn't Have Written This. So sit back, relax and enjoy the impossible.
Name: Yevgeny Krispykremakov
Birthplace: Somewhere in the Himalayas
Events: Men's Super-G Downhill, Men's Slalom, Men's Ski Jump
Yevgeny Krispykremakov is not your average world class athlete, but that's part of what makes him one of the best. You see, Yevgeny was raised by a pack of wild wolves in the Himalayan Mountains. For the first 10 years of his life, "Krispy" as his wolf family calls him, had no human contact. He hunted with the wolves, slept with the wolves and yes, he even danced with the wolves. There's a rumor floating around Chechnya that Krispy even sired a litter of wolfmen during his crazier days. It was this wolf life, walking around on all fours, which gave Krispy his low center of gravity and made him the envy of the competitive downhill skiing world.
On his 11th birthday, Krispy could no longer be satisfied living on the lamb, both literally and figuratively. After his adoptive father and uncle were poached by fur traders, Krispy decided that he would leave the pack behind and search for his real, human, parents. In order to keep up with his wolf family on hunts, Krispy had devised a primitive form of what we in the civilized world call skis. And it was on these "skis" that Krispy set out on June 3, 1905.
For 80 years Krispy skied from mountain to mountain in search of his roots. He evaded many a hunter who sought the legendary wolf-man. He survived the concentration camps at Auschwitz as well as both atomic bombs in Nagasaki and Hiroshima. When he wasn't enduring the worst suffering inflicted by man this century, Krispy was busy clearing mine fields in half a dozen war-torn countries around the world.
Then, on June 3, 1985, exactly 80 years after he began his search, Krispy was discovered by famed Russian wrestling and downhill ski instructor Boris Adonikov. Although Adonikov was not Krispy's father, the Russian treated the aged wolf man as if he were a long lost son. The then-120 year old Adonikov took Krispy under his wing and taught him everything he knew or didn't know about skiing and wrestling. Krispy was soon winning every major skiing and wrestling competition he entered. He was named Athlete of the Century by Sports Illustrated and even considered moving to the States to play professional basketball. Krispy was destined for the top. But God, it seems, had other plans.
On December 13, 1987, as he and father-figure Adonikov were rescuing abandoned wolf-pups from a frozen-over Lake Ladoga, tragedy struck. A group of American exchange students, heavily intoxicated with Smirnoff Ice, killed Adonikov with an intercontinental ballistic missile – an intercontinental ballistic missile intended for Krispykremakov.
Wracked by guilt, shame, sorrow, loss, fatigue, despair and diarrhea, Yevgeny Krispykremakov vowed never to ski again. He sold his skis and moved out of his cardboard box under the Blue Bridge in St. Petersburg. His neighbors were crushed.
Neighbor Idonna Givadamavic:
"I can't really say I miss him. He was this smelly old man who howled a lot. He did try to sell me some skis once, but I declined when I realized they were just meter sticks he had stolen from the local grade school and glued together. I reported him to the police. I hope he got help."
But help was nowhere near Krispy's postal code. He spent his days crying and his nights crying even louder. When he wasn't crying, he was drinking or whoring himself for a few kopeks at the local mine. Yevgeny Krispykremakov was living in Hell.
What Kremakov didn't know, and what defies all credibility, plausibility and possibility is that Hell was just warming up. The mid-1980s was not a good time to be a geriatric wolf-man from the Himalayas, and Krispy soon discovered that his fellow humans were none too happy about his existence. As he crawled toward the homeless shelter from another lonely night turning tricks, a group of drunken American exchange students shot Yevgeny in the leg... with none other than an intercontinental ballistic missile – the same intercontinental ballistic missile that killed Coach and Almost-Father Adonikov. Fate had stabbed Krispy in the back with a rusted knife and twisted it.
Because of a loophole in his healthcare policy, Krispykremakov's HMO denied him the reconstructive bionic surgery he needed to repair his leg. Left with nowhere to turn for medical assistance, Krispy amputated his own infected right leg... at the hip... with a Swiss army knife.
At 100 years old, with no family, no skis and only one leg, Yevgeny Krispykremakov had given up on life, but fortunately for the world of international downhill skiing, life had not given up on Yevgeny.
One Tuesday evening in January 1991, as Krispykremakov was wallowing in his own waste, a newborn baby drifted down the sewage canal where he lay. Krispy could not allow this innocent baby to die. On that day, he resolved to raise this baby boy, to be a father to this child that he himself had always wanted. He named the child Alexei Bornin Crapakov, which in English, roughly translates to "Alexei born in feces."
Little Crapakov became Yevgeny's new raison-d'etre. He cut way back on the drinking and the whoring, turning his attention instead to improving the plight of children worldwide born in sewage canals. He founded the world renowned Center for Children Born in Human Waste, and has dedicated 99 percent of his energy toward making it a success. With the other one percent of his energy, Yevgeny learned to ski again in order to honor the life of Boris Adonikov. For the past eleven years, Yevgeny, inspired by little Crapakov, has practiced his unique one-legged skiing in the Caucus Mountains. He returns today a changed man. Ninety-seven years after leaving the wolf pack, Yevgeny Krispykremakov aims for the gold in Salt Lake City.
God himself couldn't have written this.