Short track skater Katherine Reutter appeared as a guest on last night's episode of The Colbert Report, and The Ringer was behind the scenes at the New York studio. Reutter professed her support for the Colbert Nation sponsorship of the U.S. speed skating team, and gave him pointers for his upcoming race against Shani Davis.
"I just want to be careful of something," Colbert said toward the end of the segment. "Do you have regular drug testing?"
"Yes, we do," Reutter said.
"OK, Snoop Dogg is on the show tonight. I want to make sure we're keeping you on a separate floor from him."
This was not a joke. Reutter was actually backstage on a separate floor from Snoop -- the show's staff made sure to keep Reutter safely away from Snoop's greenroom, for reasons that were obvious to anyone within one block of the studio. The scent managed to leak to the sidewalk, where it was noticed by members of the studio audience who were waiting to get in. Fans who arrived without knowing who Monday night's guest was were momentarily confused, until they heard the lineup.
Another confusing moment came during the show, when Colbert held up what he said was the new issue of Sports Illustrated. The cover, featuring Colbert wearing a Lycra speed skating suit, seemed initially like a joke. Incredibly, this also was not a joke. Stephen Colbert is on the cover of the latest issue of Sports Illustrated, with the cover line "Stephen Colbert and his nation save the Olympics."
When Colbert first announced on Nov. 3 that Colbert Nation would sponsor the U.S. speed skating team, reactions ranged from excited to outraged. Not even two months later, Colbert has raised more than $250,000 for the team. He's started a feud with Canada about ice time. He's invited skaters on as guests. He's featured other Olympic sports, so far skeleton and bobsled, on the show. And now he's on the cover of Sports Illustrated. He hasn't mocked the athletes, except a little bit for having "billboard thighs" (practically a compliment) and wearing Lycra -- hardly damaging to the team's image. Reutter even asked Colbert to sign her billboard thigh at the end of the segment - which was entirely her idea, and seemed to catch him off guard. Colbert might not be saving the Olympics, but he's certainly not destroying them, either.