Postcard from Richmond

Bob de Jong

Bob de Jong (left), a spokesman for designated drivers, celebrated his bronze at the Heineken House. (Luke Winn/SI

SI’s Alexander Wolff is stationed on the far fringe of the Olympic scene, covering long-track speedskating. He’ll be filing regular blog dispatches from the edge.

To judge by the video and images Luke posted here last week, speedskater Bob de Jong of the Netherlands is a world-class wastrel. His wild black hair gives him the look of someone freshly emerged from a session in an Amsterdam coffee shop. And while presiding over the bacchanalia in Richmond’s Holland Heineken House on Tuesday night, de Jong seemed well-acquainted with the title sponsor’s product.

BOB

The BOB keychains.

Turns out that de Jong, the accidental medalist in the 10,000 meters after countryman Sven Kramer’s disqualification, is something of an ascetic. He lives in a spartan garret in Berlin and devotes himself obsessively to his athletic craft. That wild hair is cultivated, he says, so the hood of his speed suit will puff up in just the right, aerodynamic way. In fact, the Dutch know Bob as spokesman for BOB, a nationwide campaign against drunk driving. BOB is an acronym for Bewust Onbeschonken Bestuurder — literally, “conscious non-drinking driver,” or designated driver. Pass a breathalyzer test at a random checkpoint in the Netherlands, and you’re handed a BOB keychain.

It’s not an Olympic medal. It’s not even an Olympic pin. But as a token — dare I say “Bob-ble” — of my fortnight in Holland-on-the-Fraser, I want me a BOB keychain.

  • Published On Feb. 27, 2010 by lukewinn
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