The news is inundated with stories of Canadian downhill skier Manny Osborne-Paradis’s bout with bed bugs in his lodgings at the Vancouver Winter Olympics.
He might or might not win Canada’s first medal of these Olympic Games when the real racing begins Saturday with the men’s downhill 2:45 p.m. ET, weather permitting, but if he doesn’t it won’t be because the pressure got to him. Because nothing seems to get to him except, maybe, those damned bedbugs.
There was Osborne-Paradis on Thursday, after squeezing in another training run on a shortened version of the Dave Murray Course, laughing and joking with reporters again, this time about the bedbugs that have nested in the private local condos where the Canadian skiers are staying. No one is giving out the top-secret location, naturally, except perhaps to a fumigator.
Earlier this week, he woke up with the itch and was scratching away even as he stood at the start gate for a training run. So he has washed the sheets and taken precautions and perhaps wondering why he got the lucky bed and teammate Robbie Dixon, sleeping five feet away, escaped the critters. He thought it wise to add, in case others were listening, “I have a girlfriend. I want to make it clear I’m not going around sleeping in any other rooms.”
Let’s not forget that it was in Vancouver that a public health officer suggested a link between promiscuity and bed bugs. (Well, there is a link, but only if you do the hanky-panky in the presence of bed bugs.)
Meanwhile, CANWEST NEWS SERVICE said,
No[t] even the Tuesday night attack of bedbugs, cleared by a changing of sheets the next morning, could shake Manny. Nobody else was affected, he said Thursday, not even [teammate Robbie] Dixon sleeping just a few feet away.
Note to the Canadian press:
One service you could provide Canadians and visitors alike is to point out correctly that everyone who is bitten by bed bugs does not react to bed bug bites. Robbie may also have been bitten and may react in a few days, a week, or never.
Also, it would be useful here to point out that changing the sheets will not eliminate bed bugs from a bed or a room. Unless, that is, you are somehow lucky to have one bed bug hanging out on your sheet. (Good luck with that.)
It may be amusing for the press to turn an Olympian’s bed bug bites into soundbites, but let’s remember there’s a real hazard here: it is a certainty that visitors to this year’s Olympics will return home with bed bugs. The question is, how many.
I have a feeling that six months down the line, we’re not going to hear follow-up stories on the Olympians, journalists, vendors, and tourists who brought bed bugs home from Vancouver.
An ounce of information for their benefit would not go amiss.
Note to Everyone at the Olympics:
It’s not too late to avoid tracking bed bugs home. Search your lodgings, take preventive measures! See our travel FAQs for tips on prevention and detection (including how to search a rented room), and what to do if you think you’ve encountered bed bugs on your trip.