After some early negativity, the Sochi Olympics are being showered of late with superlatives by the media.
But fragrant is not among the adjectives as the games enter the final week.
Sochi is knee deep in dirty laundry, and we’re not talking about soiled reputations that gossip columnists normally write about.
I checked in with my Sochi correspondent, Las Vegas-based Associated Press sports columnist Tim Dahlberg, the first to, umm, air concerns about what he calls an “unfolding” drama.
“Some chuckles here over laundry, which always seems to dominate the discussion around this time of the games,” Dahlberg said in a message Saturday. “In our apartment complex, there’s a room on the second floor tucked in back of a building with no sign or anything but word got out it was a laundry of sorts.
“I brought mine up there the other morning, and the woman laughed at me and held up four fingers. I’m hoping four fingers means four days, but might be four weeks. Meanwhile the laundry at the media center has lost more than they’ve washed. They invite people to walk through and search for their stuff.”
Dahlberg, a 1971 graduate of Western High School and a former Review-Journal reporter, is covering his 13th Olympics. His string started with the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.
When Dahlberg mentioned his dwindling wardrobe crisis on Facebook, one of his AP colleagues responded, “There’s a gaudy Vegas shirt for sale on Sochi bay. Is it yours?”
It could be a long week, comrade.
WITNESSING A BEGINNING
Longtime local entertainer Gary Marshall, a former radio personality in London, witnessed the dawning of the Beatles.
Marshall was working as an emcee for a BBC show called Pop Beat in the fall of 1962.
The show’s producer would bring in budding talent for an interview with Marshall and have a song or two showcased.
Marshall had no idea who was coming one day, but he found it odd when he saw a moving van backing up to unload at a BBC docking area.
“I had never seen anything like it because most of the guys came in with a guitar. They came in with amps and all sorts of gear,” Marshall recalled.
Paul McCartney was one of the Beatles interviewed by Marshall. The Beatles played “Love Me Do,” which they released a short time later, and it became their first hit.
Marshall arrived in Las Vegas in the spring of 1964. He became one of the stars of “Vive Les Girls,” which consisted of singers, showgirls, nudes, dancers and a band.
The show became wildly popular. One night Marshall looked down at the front row, and there was actor Cary Grant. Liberace “was there a lot,” Marshall said.
Several months into the show, Marshall was heading home after three shows through the casino when he heard “the unmistakable voice and unmistakable accent” of McCartney hollering at him from a blackjack table.
They had a handshake and a chat. The Beatles, just months into their conquest of the United States, were in town to perform at the old Convention Center.
Marshall went on to become the original leading man in the hit production show “Hallelujah Hollywood” for four years. He also starred in “Jubilee.”
He’ll be emceeing today’s Las Vegas Jazz Society concert, featuring the Swinging Saxes, at the Winchester Cultural Center at 2 p.m.
Los Angeles Lakers guard Jordan Farmar, having Valentine’s Day dinner at Crush (MGM Grand) on Friday with his wife, two children and a family friend. … Herschel Walker, the 1982 Heisman Trophy winner, checking out a Super Bowl ring Friday at Gold & Silver Pawn, home of the “Pawn Stars.” … Washington Nationals slugger Bryce Harper, getting a final session in with therapist-to-the-stars Matt Smith on Friday. From there he went to the UNLV-Central Michigan baseball game to say farewell to his former coach, Tim Chambers, before heading for spring training in Florida. … Lance Bass and fiance Michael Turchin, celebrating Valentine’s Day with friends at Surrender nightclub (Encore at Wynn) on Friday. … Caesars headliner Shania Twain, taking in dinner and the show (Vegas Nocturne) at Rose.Rabbit.Lie (Cosmopolitan) on Friday. … Steve and Andrea Wynn, celebrating the one-year anniversary of Andrea’s. Dinner guests included Wynn Las Vegas President Maurice Wooden, Roger Thomas, Larry and Camille Ruvo, Marc and Janie Schorr, Leora and Justin Blau, and Sheldon and Stephen Cloobeck. The celebration included a performance by five-time Grammy nominee Skylar Grey.
THE PUNCH LINE
“Medals would be bronze, silver, and gold lame.” — From David Letterman’s Top 10 Ways the Olympics Would Be Different If They Were Held in Las Vegas
Norm Clarke’s column appears Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. He can be reached at 702-383-0244 or email him at email@example.com. Find more online at www.normclarke.com. Follow Norm on Twitter @Norm_Clarke. “Norm Clarke’s Vegas,” airs Thursdays on the “Morning Blend” on KTNV-TV, Channel 13.