In 1994, the Winter Olympics were held in Lillehammer, Norway, which meant that events were long over by the time they were broadcast in prime time television here in the States. Avoiding news about the results of various events was virtually impossible, but for the most part, I didn't get too fussed about it, because my interest in many events was fleeting. I was curious to know if an American had won the Biathalon or what teams made it to the Curling semi-finals, but I didn't necessarily need to watch it all play out. There was, however, one particular event that I want to experience with absolutely no prior knowledge: the ladies' figure skating final.
Yes, I'm talking about figure skating. Roll with it, I'll be talking about Mass Effect 2 in just a minute.
In January 1994, American skater Tonya Harding hired a thug to attack her rival, Nancy Kerrigan, hopefully taking her out of competition. That didn't happen. Though Kerrigan had to pull out of the U.S. Championships, she recovered in time to represent her country in the Olympic Games. She went on to win the short program, which put her in serious contention for the gold medal. I was already interested because I'm a figure skating fan, but now everyone else was, too. Trailer trash Tonya - who also earned a trip to the Games - versus picture-perfect Nancy was the kind of drama that makes TV stations drool. Nancy Kerrigan was the story of the Games, all anyone talked or seemingly cared about. The day the final was scheduled to air, I went into a complete media blackout: I shielded my eyes when I walked past newspapers, I didn't listen to the radio, I fled the room when coworkers so much as mentioned the Olympics. It took some doing, but I managed to get through the entire day without discovering the outcome of the ladies' long program. As I was crossing the parking lot to my car, two women from a nearby office were saying goodnight. Just as my hand touched the door handle, one called to the other, "So did you see that Nancy won silver?"
I didn't actually punch her square in the face, but I sure thought about it. Spoilers suck.