My company writes software for the communications systems used by many broadcasters, including NBC, who use a large system for covering the Olympics. This is my 5th trip to the Olympics providing support to NBC inside the IBC, and these are my ramblings on what's going on in Torino and at the Games.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

See you in Sochi!

It is that time again! I am heading off to Sochi on February 1st, and once again, I will be keeping a blog of my time at the Olympics.

You can visit my new blog at Sean's Sochi Olympic Blog. I hope you'll come follow me around for my first time in Russia, it should be an interesting experience!

Cheers - Sean

Saturday, June 23, 2012

London Calling

Can't hardly believe it, but, I am heading off to London on July 21st, and once again, I will be keeping a blog of my time at the Olympics.

You can visit my new blog at Sean's London Olympic Blog. I hope you'll come follow me around for my first time in London, it should be a fun time!

Cheers - Sean

P.S. - I have recently just restored all my Torino blog photos (they had all disappeared when Geocities died). Hope you have a chance to look at them if you haven't seen them before.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Sean's Vancouver Olympic Blog

Yes, it's that time again! I am heading off to Vancouver on February 7th, and again, I am keeping a blog of my time at the Olympics. You can visit my new blog at Sean's Vancouver Olympic Blog.

I hope you'll come follow me around Vancouver, it should be a fun time.

Cheers - Sean

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Beijing or Bust

Hi Again! And Welcome Back! In a few days I leave for Beijing, again working for NBC at the Olympics. Drop by Sean's Beijing Olympic Blog to follow along with what's going on at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing!

Cheers - Sean

Monday, February 27, 2006

Torino - Signing Off

It's been a long haul. The Closing Ceremonies are over and we are just packing up and getting ready to head home. Thank you all so much for reading my blog, and for your supportive comments and emails.

I've never had a smoother Olympics from the COMM's point of view, and although NBC had some issues with the extensive use of High Definition (HD) programming, I think in general they are very pleased with how things worked, and the ratings for their network and cable shows.

Because there are so many "day part" shows on the various NBC channels, and there so many people involved in getting these shows on the air, they spread the closing credits out across all channels. Obviously, the most important people get their credit at the close of the Prime Time coverage. This year, the Engineering and Maintenance staff got their credit on the USA channel (at 6pm EST yesterday).

Tony's friend Nick, who I went to the hockey game with, is now back in the US and used TIVO to capture the closing credits, and sent us this image...


As usual, NBC managed to screw up my name, but at least they got it right on the Sports Emmy award I received last November for NBC's Technical Team Studio during coverage of the 2004 Summer Games in Athens.

We also have been receiving a series of encouraging emails from NBC Sports and Olympics Chaiman, Dick Ebersol. Here is a copy of the last one...


Lastly, I want to thank all the members of the COMMs crew here in Torino...


From left to right, me, Tony Kremer, Chuck Roberts, Bob Gilmartin, Jess Heimlich (Project Manager), Craig Slayton, and Jeff Baker. Jeff has also been posting of his Torino adventure on his web site (which I list in the links section of my side bar).

These are all great guys, and fun to work with. We all bring some expertise in various areas which is part of the reason that things run so smoothly in COMMs.

Thanks again for reading. Looking forward to seeing you all at home.

Susan, Connor, and Caitie, I miss you lots and I'll be home soon.

Love you! - Sean

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Torino - The Penultimate Post

The competition is over, and the Closing Ceremonies are in full swing. There is a presentation from Vancouver 2010, and the Mayor of Vancouver takes the Olympic flag from the Mayor of Torino. Vancover's Mayor is a parapalegic, having broken his neck in a ski accident at age 19. He said, to Jimmy Roberts of NBC, that it was kind of ironic that they sent "Vancouver's worst skier" to represent the city, so he obviously has a sense of humour.

This has been the best Winter Olympics ever for Canada, finishing in third place in the medals with 24 (7 more than in Salt Lake, and only one fewer than the US). We should be in good shape to do our best in Vancouver in 2010.


I've been impressed with the City of Torino, after a kind of dull start, I've come to appreciate what they have to offer. They have been working on developing a tourism industry, and it is obvious that they still have some work to do. There are treasures to be found here, but finding them is difficult, and there is rarely any English signs or literature. They also seem to have missed a large economic opportunity as there is very little merchandise to be found (case in point, going to the hocky game, and finding that there were no flags, T-shirts, or any memorabilia for the teams playing).

Torino is the largest city, at 900,000, to host the Winter Olympics. There are over 2600 atheletes (and an equal number of coaches and officials) from 80 countries, participating in 15 disciplines (a total of 84 events). The media contingent numbers over 10,000 (including about 3000 from NBC alone).

There were some great moments in sport: a Norwegian coach giving a pole to Canadian cross-country skiers, enabling them to stay in the race and get a silver; a Kazakstan skier missing a gate during the slalom, stopping, climbing back up to the gate, and then finishing the race (43 seconds behind the leader), rather than be disqualified; Jeff Bean losing BOTH skis during an aerial run; and of course, American Joey Cheek, donating his speed skating, gold medal, USOC prize money of $25,000 to the Right to Play charity.

And some not so great moments: the American snowboarder who lost the gold by falling during a "hot dog" move when she had a huge lead; the feud between American speed skaters after one pulled out of the team relay to focus on his own race (in which he won gold); plus all the falls, crashes, and injuries in luge, bobsleigh, downhill, and figure skating.


I meant to get this part in earlier, but never really found the right place, so here is a brief history of Torino. Torino was home to Europe's oldest dynast, the House of Savoy, who ruled over the region and expanded their territory through marriage rather than by traditional conquests. The city was once a Roman outpost, guarding the gateway to Gaul (France), and was also the first capital of a united Italy, when the Dukes of Savoy first became Kings of Sicily and Sardinia, an finally all of Italy in 1861, after Vittorio Emanuelle II helped unite all the Italian states into one nation.

My lasting impressions will be of the grand piazzas and glorious churches scattered through the city, oh yeah, and the chocolate, gelato, pastry, pasta, and pizza!

Torino - Mountains and Mole-hills

Ok, I never did get out to the mountains, and unfortunately, the weather this past week has been miserable, and I never did get to go up into the Mole Antonelliana. The forecast for this morning was also lousy, and I decided to sleep in rather than try getting out again.

However, when I woke up, it was partyly sunny, and I hurriedly got up to head downtown. I made my way to the Mole but it was 10:30am by the time I got there and found a large line waiting to get inside. Then, I got a call from COMMs on my cell about a problem that I could have talked them through, except that my cell phone battery promptly died. So, I had to scratch the Mole off the list, and head back into work. Some things are just not meant to be.

The Mole Antonelliana was supposed to be a Jewish synagogue, started in 1863, but purchased by the City of Torino, and completed in 1889. At 549 feet, it is the tallest brick and mortar building in Europe. It also houses the Museum of Cinema (a strange pairing).

Let's start back at Monte Dei Cappuccini, in the hills on the east of the river Po. From the observation deck, you get a nice view of the river, and the most famous of the bridges that span it...


Looking out across the river, you can get a terrific panoramic view of the entire city...


Zooming in on the Mole, you can also see the Cathedral of St. John the Bapist (where the Shroud is kept) in the upper left corner. On a clear day (which we didn't get many of) you can also see the Alps in the background (which would have made this a spectacular shot...


Walking down from the hills, and across the bridge back into the downtown area, I had another great view of the river Po...


Finally, here's a close-up shot of the Mole from the street where the entrance is, and taken this morning, just before I had to head back into work...

Mole 2

Torino - More Beautiful Churches

In Athens, there were hundreds of churches, pretty much on every corner, some of them dating back to 1100AD. They were beautiful, but most of them were small. In Torino, most of the churches are huge, and elaborately decorated on the inside, even if sometimes the outside looks rather plain.

It's funny, you can get so used to seeing such beauty, that you might walk into a 500 year old church and just think, OK, here's yet another gorgeous churh (yawn)...

Earlier, I had shown a photo of the twin churches of San Carlo and Santa Christina. Here's a closer look at the facade on the front of Santa Christana (one of the few churches I have seen with a lot of attention paid to the outside of the building)...


Around the back, there is an enormous statue and fountain, presumably of Santa Christina herself (although it seems odd to show a Saint in the nude?). You can't really get a good idea of the scale from this photo, but her arm is about the same size as me...

Christina 2

Inside the Santa Christina, the church is spectacularly decorated from floor to ceiling...

Christina 3

Next door is San Carlo, which has a similar statue and fountain at the back. It's facade is less elaborate that Santa Christina, but the inside is comparable in beauty...

San Carlo

Further east, and across the river Po, there is the Chiesa della Gran Madre di Dio (Church of the Great Mother of God). It is a commanding looking building at the foot of the bridge facing the river...


The inside is cavernous, and more sedately furnished than the twin churches...

Madre 2

From the Gran Madre, you can walk up into the hills on the east side of the river. Whereas the west side of Torino has the downtown and many, many apartments, and blocks and blocks of portico'd shopping districts. The hills on the east side are more sparsely populated, and contain many more standalone houses (BIG houses), so this appears to be the affluent suburbs (kind of like the Hollywood hills, I would guess).

On the way up into the hills, there is the Monte dei Cappuccini (Cappuccino Monks) and the church of Santa Maria del Monte...


The church is lit up at night (you can see the glowing discs suspended in the air in the picture), and the inside is, again, bigger than you might expect, and just as beautiful...

Monte 2

The church is attached to a museum dedicated to the mountains, and the history of the exploration of the alps. There is an observation deck on top of the museum that has spectacular views of the city (see my next post).

Here's one last photo of a pretty good looking church...


OK, that one's not in Italy, it's Trinity United Church in Newmarket!

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Torino - Canadians Rock!

It has been another very good couple of days for Canada here in Torino. First the Women's Curling team won their bronze medal match, and the next day the Men's Curling team won the gold by defeating Finland (scoring 6 points in one end)!

Then today, in the Women's 5000m Speed Skating event, Cindy Klassen set an excellent pace and was leading going into the final pairing (guaranteeing her a record 5th medal in Torino). The final pairing had Clara Hughes of Canada (bronze medalist in this event from Salt Lake) and Claudia Pechstein (gold medalist in this event in 2002, 1998, and 1994, with a bronze in 1992 for good measure)!

They were 3.5 seconds behind with two laps remaining, but Cindy had struggled through her final two laps, and Clara powered past Claudio to win the gold, while Cindy was pushed down to the bronze.

Two storys: Clara Hughes is only the fourth Olympian to medal in both the Winter and Summer games (in cycling), and is the only one to have done so twice! Cindy Klassen is Canada's most decorated Olympian ever, and used to play hockey, only turning to Speed Skating when she was devastated by not making the Women's Hockey team for Nagano in 1998.

Canada is having it's best Winter Olympics ever with 24 medals so far, including two more silver medals in Short Track tonight.

It was a good day for me too! Jamie Salé and David Pelletier were in the studio with NBC host Jim Lampley, and I walked over with my camera when they were done. Out in the hall, Jim introduced them to his daughter, while I waited patiently in the background. He lamented that he'd love to get a photo of them with his daughter, but that he didn't have a camera. Smelling opportunity, I piped up that I had a camera, and could email him the picture, which also gave me the perfect chance to ask for my own photo...

Jamie and David

Jamie and David are working here for NBC on the show Olympic Ice hosted by Mary Carillo, which has been very good, and fun to watch. They were married last year, and I heard them talking with NBC Producer Molly Solomon about "twins and triplets". I'm not sure if that means what I think it means, but if it does, you heard it here first!

Later, Jim had figure skating analyst Tracy Wilson in for an interview. Tracy Wilson and her partner Rob McCall won the bronze in Calgary in 1988. I've heard people talking here about how she is always in a perky good mood, and she was certainly very nice with me today...


Torino - Would You Like Fries With That?

No more pictures of pizza, I promise, but I have to talk some more about the food. Almost all of my meals have been in the NBC commissary (by necessity), but this time that hasn't been a bad thing. The catering has been awesome! And we didn't just have pasta every night either. The food has been quite varied, and a lot of it isn't Italian in nature. One of the best lunches I had was a "BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich", on a bun, with coleslaw (IN the sandwich) and, at the recommendation of the head cook, a couple of shots of Tabasco for good measure.

Some of the best meals have been Italian, though. The manicotti, lasagna, and canneloni were very good, and the fish and veal have also been terrific. Here's a shot of the NBC Grill, where the pizza, wraps, burgers, and quesadillas are made...


The commisary also has the NBC Cafe, where you can get tea, coffee, cappucino, espresso, hot chocolate and other concoctions. Fresh off my coffee success story with the Bicerin, I got over-confident and thought I could handle a cappucino. Yuck! I'm just not cut out for coffee. However, the cioccololao con panna (hot chocolate with cream) is outstanding. The hot chocolate has the consistency of warm pudding, and like Chunky Soup, you can eat it with a fork or a spoon! It pours like liquid honey. On it's own, it has a very heavy, almost bitter, chocolate taste, which is why I like it "con panna", with a big heap of whip cream on top.


To the right of the Cafe, you can see the Pastry bar, just as you can see the Gelateria at the left end of the grill. I've basically thrown in the towel on trying to be good with my eating habits here. There's only a few days left, and the food is just too good! Here's what I'm up against...


The photo doesn't show it, but they often have fruit flan tarts and cheesecakes too. The ice cream and gelato is heavenly, especially the Hazelnut ice cream and Strawberry gelato. This photo isn't from the NBC Gelateria, but was taken downtown in Piazza Carlo Felice, and it shows how good the gelato looks...


... and you can imagine how good it tastes...


Then, just when it couldn't get any better, or weirder, I ran across this on my way through Piazza Castello...


OK, I lied, one more picture of pizza, but if you look closely, you see that there are French Fries on the pizza! I had to try this, as a matter of principle, but it really wasn't that good. But that can't spoil the otherwise excellent food experience of these games.

Hopefuly on Monday, the day after the games, and the day before I head home, I'll be able to get a couple more meals outside the NBC commissary, just to experience the ambience of some real Italian restaurantes.


Friday, February 24, 2006

Torino - A Walk Downtown

Someone noted yesterday that we are living the movie Groundhog Day here. Every day is the same; so much so that there are photocopied signs posted on the walls in the IBC daily that say "Today is Friday, February 24th", just to remind us, as it is so easy to forget. In a scary turn of events, someone else posted a sign today that read "Only 895 days to Opening Ceremonies" (in Beijing).

More groundhog imagery... every morning we get up and hope to see our shadows (meaning there is sunshine). Sadly, it was raining again this morning. Jeff and I went to see the Biblioteca Reale (Royal Library) where there was an exhibition of some Leonardo da Vinci drawings and a carving by Michaelangelo, but we were unable to take photos (even as Giornalistas). It was very interesting.

When I first got to Torino, I said it was old (and kinda ugly), but when you walk around downtown, there are many beautiful buildings that just pop-up out of nowhere as you walk down a road and come unexpectedly to an open piazza. The piazza (plaza) is the centre of the Italian city life, and even some of the "ugly" rectangular buildings often have "hollow" centres with a park inside.

I'm going to take you on a pictorial walk downtown, starting from the train station, which is where the bus from the IBC lets me off in the morning...


Note the portico (arches into a covered walkway) that runs along the front of the station. This architectural feature is ubiquitous here. It allows the public to walk and shop in shelter from the rain, snow, and sun.

The train station faces north into Piazza Carlo Felice, which contains a grassy park (unlike many of the piazzas, which are open squares), where I found a nice Torino 2006 sign...


At the north end of the piazza begins the most famous shopping street in Torino. Via Roma is home to the high-end stores for clothing, shoes, and leather goods. Note that the walkways on Via Roma are laid with marble...


Here's a typical store on Via Roma selling leather goods. Even the smallest wallet here costs about 40 Euro ($55 CDN)...


Via Roma opens up into Piazza San Carlo, a huge piazza where the TODAY Show set is located. The centre of the piazza contains a statue of Emmanuel Filaberto, and the entrance from the piazza to Via Roma is flanked by two beautiful churches...

San Carlo

The two churches are San Carlo, and Santa Christina (I will have pictures of both on Sunday). Santa Christina has the more elaborate facade, and was originally the church for nobility, while San Carlo was the church for the servants (who had mass before sunrise, so they wouldn't be late for work).

Via Roma continues north of Piazza San Carlo, and terminates in Piazza Castello, which is where the Medals Plaza is located during the Olympics. This piazza is where I sampled the Barolo the other day, and also home to numerous shops with some beautiful jewellry (Susan, that was foreshadowing, hint hint). The east side of Piazza Castello contains the Palazzo Reale (Royal Palace), which is supposed to be beautiful inside, but is closed to the public during the Olympics (I think because the entrance is inside the Medals Plaza)...


The palace is also attached to the library where we saw the da Vinci exhibit this morning. I've spent most of my time exploring the outsides of these buildings by walking around (and the insides of churches when I can), but I've been told that the inside of these buildings are also something to behold. Based on my experience at Canada House (also located in a former Palace), I'd have to agree. Here is a picture of the ceiling in the stairwell at Canada House...


I still have yet to visit the Mole Antonelliana, because the weather hasn't been conducive to seeing anything of the city from an aerial view, but I do have some nice city shots from the hills on the east side of the city (across the river Po) that I'll save for another post.

Torino - Square Pegs

Ok, this is just a collection of photos that didn't really fit into a post of their own, but that I thought were interesting enough to write about (showing some of the craziness that surrounds the Olympics).

First up, if you've watched any of the Speed Skating, you'll know that the fans from the Netherlands are insanely supportive of their team, and always dress in orange (despite their flag being red, white, and blue), as the original royals were from the house of Orange. I ran into some fans on the street...


NBC did one of their "Chevy Moments" on the Orange Dutch fans, and afterwards, Tony slipped into the studio to put on the crown that Bob Costas had been wearing...


Things are going very well here, and everyone is starting to get a little stir-crazy. We have six television monitors on top of our COMMs equipment rack and they are difficult to control because they all use the same remote control, and they are located so close together that changing channels on one, often changes one or more other sets. The guys on the overnight shift usually find something creative to keep them going through the night, and came up with this solution...


Note the stylish detailing on the side, and the sighting scope on top! There's even a plastic diffuser cap on the end, and, incredibly, the thing works very well!

I'm beginning to be able to find my way around the city and have been using the public transit system. As I was heading downtown a few days ago, I came across the Olympic mascots in a piazza where I changed buses...


When I got downtown, I stopped by the set of NBC's TODAY Show, to check in with their COMMs manager and talk about a small problem they had the day before that appears to have been solved by swapping out one of their VOIP cards. Yes, I have another dorky hat...


Lastly, as I headed back into the IBC, I ran into another "celebrity" (well, I recognized him, even if nobody else here knew who he was, even after I told them his name)...


Do any of you recognize him? I will provide clues in the comments if no-one can guess. (No, it's not Borje Salming).

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Torino - Italian Wine

As some of you may know, Susan and I used to make wine from kits at home before we moved to Newmarket. We had always stuck to the familiar; Chardonnay, Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon, etc... But one day while looking for a new varietal to try, the store owner suggested a wine called Barolo, about which I knew nothing, but that he raved about. I thought that before spending $80 on a kit, I would buy a bottle to see if I liked it. Well, the cheapest bottle at the LCBO was over $40, so I decided to skip the bottle and make the Barolo from the kit.

It turned out to be the best wine we had ever made, and became my favourite red wine. Barolo is known as "the king of wines, and the wine of kings". It's expensive because it comes from a very small region in Italy, which just happens to be Piedmonte, which is also where Torino is located. I actually didn't know this before I got on the plane to come here, but read about it in the Delta airline magazine.

In addition to Barolo, this region is also famous for Barberesco, Barbera, and Dolcetto. I have been able to sample the Barbera and Dolcetto (from vintner Fontannafredda, the official Olympic Wine Sponsor) at the Media Village bar, but had not yet had a chance to try the others. My gift package from TOBO (the Torino Broadcasting Organization) included a coupon for a free glass of Fontanafredda Serralunga d'Alba Barolo at the Piedmonte Food and Wine pavillion downtown in Piazza Castello (which is where the Medals Ceremonies take place).

This morning, at 11:30am (which is when they open), I went in to try their Barolo and was blown away. It is such a full tasting wine, without puckering you up with too much tanin. I am not a wine snob by any stretch, and certainly am no poet in describing the taste, but I've always tasted dark chocolate in the Barolo, and sensed vanilla in the aroma.


Fontannafredda used to be a very good winery that had been founded by the son of the first King of Italy. It had fallen on hard times, but was rescued by a Bank which now runs the winery. Recent wines from Fontannafredda have had good reviews, as evidenced by this review of a 1999 Tenimenti Fontannafredda Barolo "La Rosa".

I was thrilled to find a bottle of 1999 Tenimenti Fontannafredda Barolo "La Villa" (a gift from TOROC) in my room at the Media Village a few days after arriving, but I am saving that for Susan and me when I get home.

Torino - Galleria Sabauda

It was raining again yesterday, so I had to find another indoor site to visit. When I visted the Museo Egizio (the Egyptian Museum) last week, I didn't have time to visit the art gallery on the floors above it. Jeff from COMMs suggested that it was probably worth a visit, so that's where I ended up.

When I arrived, camera in hand, they told me that no photography was allowed (unlike the museum, which allowed photos without flash, a policy I understand). I showed them my accreditation, said "Giornalista?" as a question, after which we had several minutes of mis-communication.

At first they were prepared to show me the door, then suddenly, somebody else came out (who still didn't speak English), talked with the others, looked at my credential, and then asked for my passport. I think they photocopied my passport, but when they came back, they said, "OK, photos, but NO flash, and NO tripod".

I think I got quite the scoop here, because apparently nobody else here was allowed to take photos either, and I was (sometimes not so) subtlely followed by a docent for my entire visit. I could even hear them talking on their radios about the "giornalista".

The Galleria Sabauda is a group of art collections from various benefactors that orginally came from the collections of the House of Savoy (Italy's earliest monarchy). The dates of the works range from the early 1300's right through to the 1800's, with most of the works in the 1400-1600 range.

Here's a mid 1300's, Byzantine-like, egg tempera and gold leaf on wood, icon of the "Madonna con Bambino" (Madonna with Baby) which was quite the popular subject in many of the works of art at the gallery...


Most of the earlier works of art were religious in nature, and while many of the early paintings were on wood rather than on canvas, some of the works of art were actually wood carvings...


As the we got into the 1400-1500's, we started seeing the more traditional paintings on canvas (did I mention that there were a lot of Madonna con Bambino paintings?) ...

Madonna 2

There were some very strange images as I progressed through the gallery; a semi-clad women standing on a turtle? hunting dogs tearing apart a fox? One of my favourites was this painting of a what looks like a Cherub Royal Rumble...


The were also many paintings of what appeared to be a woman named Lucretia stabbing herself. I found that there are references to this in history, mythology, and opera, where Lucrezia is assaulted, and commits suicide rather than live with the dishonour...


In fact, there was a propensity towards paintings showing acts of violence as I continued to progress through the gallery. Here's one showing the martyrdom of John the Baptist...


Another image I found interesting was one called "Il padre eternale" (The Eternal Father?), which apparently shows God himself looking down on creation. This was the only image I saw in which God was portrayed...


Later in the gallery, there were many, many portraits of Italian nobility (mostly unexciting, if you didn't know who they were), and then, lastly, some ecclectic collections of art from a more recent donor that included statues, jewellry, paintings, copper plates, and this frieze...


Some of the paintings were enourmous, taking up entire walls to themselves (I'm talking 8 feet by 20 feet on some of them), and I have plenty of other photographs that I took of paintings that caught my interest, but I'll save those for when I get home.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Torino - Golden Girls!

In a huge surpise today, Chandra Crawford won the gold in the Women's Cross-country Sprint, in a race that saw Beckie Scott place fourth. The sprint is a series of races where you have to qualify and work your up to the 4 person final. Chandra was dominant today, also winning her quarter-final, and semi-final heats before winning the gold.

In less of a surprise, Cindy Klassen won the Women's 1500m Speed Skating event, and was joined on the podium (more unexpectedly) by Kristina Groves, who won the silver.

This is Cindy's fourth medal of the games, making her the most decorated Canadian female Olympian ever. She and Anni Friesinger of Germany hold the 9 fastest times ever recorded in this event, and one or the other has held the world record for the last 7 years. Cindy set the current world record in November of last year.

Tonight, Canada took the silver in the Women's Short Track Relay. One of the members of this team is Alanna Kraus, who was also on the team for their bronze medal in the same event in Salt Lake City. I met Alanna at Canada House in Salt Lake, and remembered her to be very nice, so I was rooting hard for the team tonight.

The Men's Curling Team has also won their semi-final, so they will move on to play for the gold, but the women lost their semi-final, and will play for the bronze.

Curling, by the way, has been a big hit here in Italy, just as it was in Salt Lake. I always have fun educating the people here about the finer points of curling (especially the lingo), and I enjoy listening to the director and others in the control rooms trying to figure out what's going on, and then having them build their enthusiasm for the game as the days wear on.

Meanwhile, the Men's Hockey Team plays Russia in their quarter-final, and the US was eliminated by Finland in another quarter-final earlier today.

Torino - Pizza of the Week!

Ok, it's Wednesday, and Barry has been pleading with me to take pictures of the pizza, so here are this past week's contenders in order of preference leading up to the winner.

6th place: Chicken, Basil and four cheeses. Interesting, but not that exciting...


5th place: A standard pepperoni and mushroom pizza, nothing special, except that the mushrooms are amazing (as evidenced by last weeks mushroom and onion winner)...


4th place: Eggplant, spinach, and toma cheese. I'm not a fan of eggplant or spinach, but this was actually pretty good...


Bronze: A classic; meatballs, green peppers, and sweet onion...


Silver: Missed winning by a very narrow margin. Sausage and padano cheese, wow, this was very, very good. The cheese tastes kinda like sharp, old, white cheddar, and the sausage (I think) is the same as what I was raving about in my previous post about food...


Gold: This week's winner (and this is strange coming from a carnivore like me) was a vegetarian pizza that had brocoli, tomato, red pepper, sweet onion, and gorganzola cheese (I think it was the cheese that won me over)...


Are you happy now Barry? The cooks in the commisary think I'm nuts, but at least they expect me to show up with a camera at lunch time now.