Snowboarders often speak their own language, and Team USA gold medalist Sage Kotsenburg is no exception. He's a 20-year-old from Utah whose normal vernacular includes words such as "sick" and "stoked."
They're not exactly uncommon words here in the U.S. Snowboarders, skaters and surfers have made these quite mainstream. But that doesn't help Russian interpreters who had a few head-scratching moments Saturday during Kotsenburg's gold-medal press conference after his upset win in men's slopestyle.
When Kotsenburg said he was "stoked," the interrepters said he was drunk. C'mon, isn't it enough that he looks like Jeff Spicoli?
Al Jazeera America explains the lost-in-translation issue::
“In Russian, a ‘grab’ is a grab, ‘cab’ is like cab, and even though there’s a Russian word for rail, we say, ‘rail.’ But jump is ‘tramplin,’ and a spin is ‘vraschenije,’ and flip is ‘salto.’”
What about “stoked”?
After a pause and some prodding, Yakimenko admitted, “We used the word for ‘under the influence of alcohol’ which is kind of like, ‘under the fly.’”
Lesokhin mostly noticed that Kotsenburg “said ‘sick’ a lot.” The Russian word for sick, bolnoy, “is bad, like you have a disease or something,” Yakimenko said. But there are plenty of Russian words for crazy, so the duo substituted “bezumny,” “kruto,” or “sumasshedshy.”
What did this mean, realistically? Well, it gives new meaning to this quote from Kotsenburg's press conference:
"I heard it's going to be crazy. I'm definitely stoked to be a part of it," he said. "Obviously I'm stoked to get gold and take whatever comes with it."
It's a good thing Kotsenburg didn't go too much deeper with his snowboarder vocabulary. We don't want to know how the interpreters might have mangled "gnarly."
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