Tuesday
July 22, 2014

The right white stuff

Monday, February 10, 2014

Yogurt spat throws off routines of US Olympians

By Pablo Toledo
For the Herald

U.S. Olympians will have to make do (*) without the team’s official yogurt — denying them a source of protein and potentially disturbing their daily routines as they prepare for the biggest competition of their lives.

Some 5,000 cups of Greek yogurt from Team USA sponsor Chobani isn’t getting to Sochi because of a customs (1) dispute with Russia.

U.S. halfpipe skier Aaron Blunck said Friday that to travelling athletes, getting food from home is part of feeling fit and healthy. ‘And having the yogurt there, that helps you, gives you protein, gives you nutrition,‘ he said.

But teammate Lyman Currier said part of being an elite athlete is dealing with the unexpected.

‘We all have different routines before competing but I think that part of the sport is adapting,‘ he said. ‘So whether we have our yogurt or not, we’ll be able to adapt.‘

The U.S. Ski Team is not staying in the athletes’ village in Krasnaya Polyana in the mountains above Sochi. The US athletes have their own place, with their own food and private chefs.

U.S. Alpine skiers Steven Nyman and Marco Sullivan said they were fine without yogurt.

‘Our setup’s pretty good. I can get my Greek yogurt when I get back home,‘ Nyman said.

Sullivan noted that oatmeal (2) was also missing from the breakfast menu; there was rice pudding (3) instead. ‘I don’t really care about it, but I noticed it,‘ he said.

Russian authorities say the U.S. Department of Agriculture has refused to provide a certificate that is required for dairy products (4) under its customs rules.

‘US officials know what the requirements are, and I do not understand why they stood to the side and waited until the situation reached this point,‘ said Alexei Alexeyenko, an official at the Russian Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance. ‘This question can be resolved very quickly.‘

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer this week implored the Russians to let the shipment through (5) and said export trade rules should have nothing to do with it, since the yogurt isn’t for sale and is to be eaten only by U.S. citizens in Sochi.

U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul said Friday the trade dispute goes back four years and that he’s been working on it ever since he arrived as ambassador in 2012.

‘Unfortunately, with this particular shipment, it came to an impasse (6),‘ he said. ‘We are still working it, we would like our athletes to be able to have the US yogurt.‘

Adapted from a story by Karl Ritter for the Associated Press


(1) Customs
You've probably seen this at airport signs as you waited in line to have your bags inspected: customs are the taxes on goods that enter the country, and the government department that checks passengers and cargo for the presence of elements that should pay.

(2) Oatmeal
Oatmeal is the US word for what the British call “porridge”, a typical breakfast meal prepared by boiling oats in milk or water.

(3) Rice pudding

A classic dessert made with milk, rice and sugar, often with cinnamon and raisins. If this sounds like our arroz con leche, there is a simple explanation: it is the same dish! (actually, it is a favourite in many countries around the world)

(4) Dairy products
“Dairy” means made from or connected with milk. Dairy products are products made from milk, like cheese or butter.

(5) To let through
To let something through means to let it pass – an interesting example of how a verb combines with a preposition to create a whole new meaning.

(6) Impasse
An impasse in an argument or negotiation happens when disagreement is so serious and fundamental that no more progress is possible.

(*) Make, do, make do

Oh, the magic of English collocations! Spanish has the verb hacer, but English has both “make” and “do” for a similar role (and uses them a lot more often!). To make matters worse there are rules... but they are vague and full of exceptions.
We use “do” to talk about daily activities or chores (the washing up, laundry, homework, etc.), indefinite activities (something, anything), or before verbs ending in -ing (shopping, thinking, etc.).
“Make” usually refers to actually creating or constructing something (a cup of tea, a speech, a comment), as well as plans or decisions and also certain reactions (to make someone happy/sad).
But that's not the end! We also have the expression “to make do”, as in the phrase in this article. To make do with something means to manage with the limited resources that you have. Confusing, huh?

@destierrado

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