Not all of my memories from Olympiads are positive. In the 2002 event (held in Bled, Slovenia), in addition to playing, I was writing about the Olympiad for Chess Life (the national chess magazine). I wanted to interview two of the top young Russian male players in the world, both of whom had been heralded as possible future world champions. I was nervous, especially because one seemed particularly cool—he had big blue eyes, dreadlocks and wore black leather. I was already familiar with his games, one of which had impressed me so much that I showed it to the junior high team I coached back in Brooklyn. ("That game was hot," said one of my students, "can I have a copy?") I approached him at the hotel's dining room and was pleased that he consented immediately to an interview. He wanted to do it right then and there, over dinner where his teammate, the other young grandmaster, was also eating.
It was the most disturbing interview I have ever conducted. One declared that he hated journalists, hated New York, and became annoyed when I asked him about his training routine. His teammate had even worse things to say. America was a horrible place, he said, because the rape laws were stricter than in Russia, where he was used to raping women who are 'too ashamed to go to the police.' He proceeded to use words like lesbian, fat, and stupid to describe American women. As we left the dining hall, one of them asked me to join him and some friends for drinks later that night, as if their outrageous comments were part of a charming routine. I declined. Later, I found out that the two men were bragging to their teammates about how much they upset me with their sexist, anti-American insults.
(*) Shahade, Jennifer, Chess Bitch: women in the ultimate intellectual sport, Siles Press, 2005, ISBN 1-890085-09-X. The passage quoted can be found on p. 217 in this edition.