Friday, February 17, 2006

Bravo pour votre français!

Since I've been on vacation, I've been soaking up the French coverage of the Olympic Games. I've always enjoyed the Olympics, but lately I have found myself glued to disciplines I never would have watched before . . . cross country relay, for example, or the biathlon. 2006 was the first year I watched the opening ceremony, and the first year I watched both the short and free programs for men's figure skating.

Why did I watch both? Well, the commentators in France are amazing, way better than in the US. One is called Nelson Monfort, and he basically falls in love with each participant. Philippe Candeloro is the other. You may remember him from the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, when he won the bronze medal when he took on the roles of the three musketeers in his free program. (That's what I remember him from, anyway!--although he also won a medal earlier, though I don't remember which games.) Imagine: Nelson melts for each new skater, and Candeloro makes snide remarks about their skating and explains everything. Television magic!

On Tuesday night, after our wonderful Mexican meal, Jube and I caught the late-night showing of Turin's free program. Johnny Weir of the US came in 2nd, and Nelson kept enthusing about what a wonderful skater he was. "Oh, Philippe, he's giving us such a show tonight! I'll be so surprised if he's not on the podium come Thursday night!" Philippe was more objective: "And this is a triple flip, well executed. No quadruple jump, though."

After his program, and his 2nd place finish, Nelson kept shouting (in English), "I love you, Johnny! I love you!"

Philippe said, "Look, he's saying, 'Nelson, I love you too!'"

They even had the chance to interview him--which was done entirely in French! Johnny Weir's French was not perfect, but he didn't have a bad accent, and (above all), made the effort. Philippe kept asking about his performance, and Nelson kept congratulating his French. At the end of the interview, Philippe wished him luck for Thursday night's decisive programs.

Nelson said (and I quote!), "Bravo pour votre français!"

To Nelson's great disappointment, Johnny only finished 5th at the Olympics, despite his "nearly flawless" performance (thanks again, Nelson!).


lapetitecourt said...

Isn't Nelson the greatest? Half of the fun of watching the artistic program on Thursday was to hear the commentary. My husband and I particularly loved it when Philippe said that coming in fourth was the "place du con" and insisted that coming in fifth was "encore plus con." You could just tell that Nelson had no idea how to respond to some of Philippe's comments.

Gem said...

I think the best exchange was this one about the "kiss and cry" area:

Nelson: Oh, Philippe, how to translate "kiss and cry"? It is English and means something like "embrassade et pleurs."

Philippe: Why don't you just say "banc de notes" (scoring bench)?

Nelson: But Philippe, Philippe, it's so much more poetic to say 'kiss and cry'!

Jay said...

Ce matin j'ai regardé le patinage artistique, épreuve de valse et Nelson commentait avec une femme, je ne sais plus son nom. Bref, il se trouve que le tour des Italiens étaient venu et du début à la fin, la commentatrice (qui je suppose était une ancienne patineuse) s'est permise de dire que la patineuse méritait d'être première si elle était seule et que le patineur était raide et vraiment nul et qu'il n'avait rien à faire là. Pour suivre... au moment des notations le couple est arrivé en tête et la commentatrice à rigolé comme une tarte en disant que c'était du "n'importe quoi" et je cite, que c'était "ridicule". En + d'être stupide je trouve ça méchant. Quand j'entends ça je me dis que c'est dommage que la télévision Française fasse participer des personnes comme elle pour commenter les exploits sportifs. Nelson est un peu "simplet" mais au moins il à du respect :]
Alors que Philippe est non seulement craquant mais en + vraiment marrant ! :)