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Bar Packed for Live Figure Skating

By Evan G. Stein

More than 100 people packed the Crimson Sports Grille yesterday afternoon to watch live TV coverage of a sports event, but it wasn't the high contact fare usually shown on the bar's big screens.

People came to see Olympic figure skating-specifically Nancy Kerrigan's fairy tale like pursuit of a gold medal-and the irony of the Grille hosting such a graceful event was too much for some.

"We know figure skate scoring," said Arthur Gondalfi a Grille patron and first year graduate student in economics. "It's scary."

Just seven weeks after being clubbed after practice in an attack orchestrated by the husband of her rival Tonya Harding Kerrigan won the silver. That result, and the special live broadcast in the grill seemed to please those in attendance.

"It's in French but it's live," said Eryk Rotondo, a Grille regular.

The broadcast at the Grille was actually intended for a Montreal television station, CFTM CBS which is airing the Olympics did not show the competition live, waiting for a tape delay broadcast in prime time.

But as Grille manager Matthew Kline said, the broadcast could be legally picked up by the bar's satellite dish.

And the language barrier didn't seem to bother anyone. "Kerrigan and Harding" sound the same in any language .

Kline said he found the winter Olympics transmission while "Satellite surfing."

Anyone can get it," Kline said. "It's not listed in the books. I just clicked and found it."

When the skating began at 2 p.m. there were only 50 people in the bar. But by the time Kerrigan took the ice at 4 p.m., the number had grown to more than 100.

Employees and regulars were stunned by the crowd.

"I've never had to work here on a Friday afternoon, said Grille bartender Michael Meyer '94 who was waiting tables yesterday afternoon because of the extra business. "It's usually dead here."

Some customers said they were brand new to the Grille. These were people who had come just for the skating.

"I've never heard of the Crimson [SportsGrille] before," said Susan Monroe of Salem. "ButI'm staying until I see it live," she said, wavingan American flag she brought for the occasion.

Connie Hoar, also of Salem, said she enjoyedthe live broadcast as well.

"This is so much better than CBS," Hoar said."Just as you get into it they change events or goto commercial."

While Harding came into the performance withouta chance at a medal, Kerrigan and her rival werestill the talk of the bar.

"We've got a slanted view of the controversyhere in Boston," said Windsor Rose '95, referringto favorable local coverage of Stoneham, Mass.native Kerrigan. "It's like a chick fight."

"But Harding would probably win in a realfight," added Jonathan Ponusuk '95.

Ponusuk said he's a Kerrigan fan.

"Hockey's out," Ponusuk said. "[Speed skater]Dan Jansen's done. She's all that's left."

At 3 p.m., Tonya Harding skated on to the ice,and the Grille crowd became relatively silent.

The bar seemed confused after Harding hadproblems with one of her skates and left the ice.

But a Grille regular, French national NicoSchneider, translated what the announcers weresaying and told the crowd Harding would bereturning later.

"I'm just here to see the French skater, [SuryaBonaly]. She's going to bring the only gold medalthis year," Schneider predicted, inaccurately.

The bar was silent for much of Kerrigan'sroutine, until the local favorite had a slightstumble.

"That's a tenth [of a point deduction],"newly-minted skating expert Gondalfi said toRotondo.

When she finished the routine, chants of"U-S-A" filled the bar. But the Olympic Judges inNorway couldn't hear. In the end, she finishedsecond.

"I think she skated beautifully," said formerfigure skater Sara Mulholland '95. "And now Nancyand her good friend Paul Wiley ['91] each havesilver medals to share.

"I've never heard of the Crimson [SportsGrille] before," said Susan Monroe of Salem. "ButI'm staying until I see it live," she said, wavingan American flag she brought for the occasion.

Connie Hoar, also of Salem, said she enjoyedthe live broadcast as well.

"This is so much better than CBS," Hoar said."Just as you get into it they change events or goto commercial."

While Harding came into the performance withouta chance at a medal, Kerrigan and her rival werestill the talk of the bar.

"We've got a slanted view of the controversyhere in Boston," said Windsor Rose '95, referringto favorable local coverage of Stoneham, Mass.native Kerrigan. "It's like a chick fight."

"But Harding would probably win in a realfight," added Jonathan Ponusuk '95.

Ponusuk said he's a Kerrigan fan.

"Hockey's out," Ponusuk said. "[Speed skater]Dan Jansen's done. She's all that's left."

At 3 p.m., Tonya Harding skated on to the ice,and the Grille crowd became relatively silent.

The bar seemed confused after Harding hadproblems with one of her skates and left the ice.

But a Grille regular, French national NicoSchneider, translated what the announcers weresaying and told the crowd Harding would bereturning later.

"I'm just here to see the French skater, [SuryaBonaly]. She's going to bring the only gold medalthis year," Schneider predicted, inaccurately.

The bar was silent for much of Kerrigan'sroutine, until the local favorite had a slightstumble.

"That's a tenth [of a point deduction],"newly-minted skating expert Gondalfi said toRotondo.

When she finished the routine, chants of"U-S-A" filled the bar. But the Olympic Judges inNorway couldn't hear. In the end, she finishedsecond.

"I think she skated beautifully," said formerfigure skater Sara Mulholland '95. "And now Nancyand her good friend Paul Wiley ['91] each havesilver medals to share.

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