Meet Isabelle Gulldén, Bill Simmons’ Olympic handball crush. Yes, The Sports Guy has discovered handball. And he loves it. Simmons started his Olympic trip looking for a “goofy” sport like “handball or badminton.” He got more than he bargained for when he “lost his Olympic virginity” to women’s handball. There were pretty ladies jump through the air like Steve Nash and a penalty box! Of course, the handballer who stands out and could easily make handball the top sport in America is Isabelle Gulldén of Sweden.
You’ll be shocked to hear that the stands were packed for that one — it’s like they sent out an Emergency Pervert Alert through the streets of London. Even though there were a few lookers on each team, Isabelle Gullden was the one who jumped out: an attractive blonde who doubled as Sweden’s version of Nash, someone who was as talented as she was pretty. (Here, I’ll save you the 25 seconds you were just going to spend frantically YouTubing her.) Thanks to her, Fitzy and I practically broke our ankles jumping on the Swedish women’s handball bandwagon. In the first half, Sweden’s coach kept subbing offense/defense for Gullden — even if he was resting her for the second half (when she never came out), we decided the coach just wanted to sit next to her on the bench. We couldn’t blame him, either.
That reminds me — those occasional long outlet passes and fast breaks in handball are way more exciting than you’d ever expect. I found myself yelping, “Ohhhhh!” and “Whoa!” more than I expected, to the chagrin of at least one serious handball media member sitting in our row. (Whatever.)
Remember, there’s no cheering on press row. Unless you are falling in love with a new sport that has only been around since the late 19th Century. In that case, feel free to make a wanking motion at whatever snooty foreign scribe is there doing his job. And then suggest ways to make the sport better. Handball is America’s new soccer. No one denies this.