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Saturday, February 25, 2006
My awards for Torino's best

By Brian Church
Special to

One day left! Time to hand out a few Olympic medals for great performers on the streets of Torino.

Most Sensitive Attempt to Blend in With Local Architecture
British Columbia-Canada Place in the center of Torino made a huge effort with matching colors, traditional brickwork and nothing flashy. (To be fair the other side was a log cabin.)

Never Seen So Many ...
Small dogs. Torino is the world capital for our canine friends under 50 centimeters high.

The British Columbia-Canada Place in the center of Torino.

Bad Organizers ...
Putting the main tourism office inside the sponsors' village was idiotic. Anyone wanting simple directions faced an irritating queue to get through security.

... Good Organizers
Laid-back atmosphere, great venues, Italian style. Holding medal ceremonies in city center frustrated true fans up in mountains, but made money. Nice touch: Relaying live concerts to large screens in nearby (and free) squares.

Profiles in Courage for Bad Weather
Sometimes it was very cold as seen with these Voice of America journalists interviewing a tour guide at Sacra San Michele monastery. Fans felt the freeze, but loved sport too much to care.

Greatest English Butt-kicker
Italian ruled these Games. Linguistics is study of language and Stalinguistics the study of forcing foreigners to speak your language. Torino 2006 proved local cultural rights can transcend global demands for knowing where the restrooms are. English got gold in one area -- music.

Most Common Graffiti on Steep Mountain Bend
"NO TAV" protests against a high-speed train (Treno Alta Velocita) involving boring a tunnel through local mountains.

Worst Press Conference During Games
Organizations involved in the March 10-19 Paralympics. Some 11 people spoke -- but not one current athlete. Ominous.

Best Star-Spotters
This Italian newspaper named after a violent sportsman said George and Brad were here.

Couldn't Live Without Them
The volunteers were superb at venues, but appeared shy to help on streets of Torino.

Great Italian Food?

Best Winter Games Ever?

Brian Church is a columnist with the Athens News in Greece. He will be contributing to throughout the Olympics.