Stitched inside the jackets of the United States Olympic snowboarding team is a handy guide of English-to-Korean phrases. Some of them seem reasonable and handy: “Do you speak English?” and “Can you help me?” Others — “Do you want to sing karaoke?” and “What is your zodiac sign?” — seem, uh, less reasonable and handy. There’s also “Hello. I love you.” Ostensibly, that one is for anytime a snowboarder asks the aforementioned zodiac question and gets the response, “I’m a Pisces.” Of course, if that response comes back in Korean, chances are good that the snowboarder will have no idea what was said to them anyway.
A noticeable issue with the phrase guide is that the Korean translations aren’t written phonetically. Assuming the entire United States snowboarding team didn’t take the time to learn Hangul before shipping out to Pyeongchang, that means to use this phrase guide an athlete would have to approach a Korean person, unzip their jacket, and point to their sentence of choice. At which point it seems safe to assume that the Korean person will have already fled because that’s what you should do if a person saunters over to you and starts unzipping their jacket to show you what’s underneath. Plus, the only phrase U.S. Olympians should really be asking in Korean is, “Why do those statues outside the ski jumping center look like giant silver penises?”