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|| News Item: Posted 2002-03-01

SLOC, Schwag and the MMC:
Olympic Slang Explained

By Rod Mar, The Seattle Times

At the Olympics, you better bring your (insert-name-of-credit-card-sponsor-here), and you better bring your slang.

Skating has it's "triple toe loops", skiing has it's "Super-G", and snowboarding and free-style skiing, well they seem to have languages all their own (would you like some "amplitude" with your "dinner roll"?)

In Salt Lake City, the same was true. Of course, Utahans speak English, but as a visiting journalist, knowing the local slang helped to keep an Olympics newbie from getting lost, arrested, or worse, forced to go to the medals plaza to listen to Bob Saget host the nightly show.

For example, the "MMC." is the Main Media Center, which houses the "M.P.C." (Main Press Center) and the I.B.C. (International Broadcast Center).

Pretty simple, so far.

Here's a short primer on some of the more colorful slang that made its way around.

"Mag and Bag" --- the never-ending, patience-wracking time-consuming process of security personnel searching your bags, cameras, computers, tape recorders and everything else you're carrying every time you enter a venue (on average, six times a day). "Mag" -- the metal detectors named "magnetometers" that are used to examine personal items. "Bag" -- whatever you happen to be carrying.

Usage - "Meet you at the MMC? Nah, I'm gonna drop my stuff off at the car first to save time at mag and bag."

"Subcenter" --- no, not where the U.S. Navy is keeping submarines on alert in the Great Salt Lake. Stands for "sub-press centers" --- mini press centers located at specific venues so journalists will have a nice, warm place to drink coffee, read the paper, watch live telecasts from other venues, gripe about how hard it is to have to be at the Olympics while getting paid and living on expense account. Meanwhile, paying spectators are freezing their booties in 10-degree weather sitting on frozen metal bleachers for three hours waiting for competition to start.

Usage -- "Hey, they just delayed the downhill for another hour. Let's go down to the subcenter and get a hot bowl of that angus-beef chili. Boy, do those people look cold, or what?"

"SLOC" -- pronounced "slock". A member of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee. Easily identifiable by the black and purple jackets and clipboards they received as payment for volunteering to stand and direct diesel-spewing buses in the icy cold. They are friendly, helpful, and as ever present as the weather.

Usage -- "If you can't find the right bus, just ask the nearest SLOC."

"Swag" -- pronounced "schwag". Stuff given away for free. Stuff the sponsors give to the accredited press to make them feel special. Cheap stuff with a big corporate name on it. You can always find the swag by looking for long lines of journalists. If it's free, the line will be longer than the line for "mag and bag".

Usage -- "Why do the photographers get all the good swag? All us reporters got is this cheap-o backpack. Do you think I could send it to my wife for Valentines Day?"

Ready to put it all together? Okay, let's go:

"Hey, ask that SLOC where to get my swag mag and bagged at the MMC."

Understand that and now you're a true Olympian.

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