SLAM!Sports
February 20, 2006
Cabin butt of jokes
Good luck charm from B.C. is lost in translation
By ERIC FRANCIS -- Calgary Sun

SESTRIERE, Italy -- Very few people in Turin speak English, making it all the more amusing for locals who visit the log cabin assembled downtown to promote the Vancouver Games.

The centrepiece of the cabin is a 240-year-old piece of wood found in Bella Coola, B.C., which organizers are encouraging people to rub for good luck.

Organizers were unsure at first why the stream of visitors found the good luck charm funny until they were informed Bella Coola in Italian means 'nice butt.'

TURIN TIDBITS: Speaking of butts, smoking appears to be the national pastime in Italy. So much so there's talk the Olympic flame will not be extinguished next Sunday so Italians have an exciting new way to light up ... Not sure if it helps or hurts the sport when a guy born in Egypt, raised in Lebanon but living in Dallas with a thick Texas accent is sliding in the skeleton for Lebanon. Patrick Antaki, a 41-year-old computer whiz who made plenty of money helping develop the age-old Atari 2600, spent $200,000 of his own money the last four years to travel the skeleton circuit so he could be here and "try something different." He finished 26th of 26 competitors, nearly eight seconds behind the winner ... Only those who take the two-hour bus ride into the mountains had seen snowfall at the Winter Games until yesterday. It was 14C in Turin Friday ... Because of the time difference it's not uncommon for North American journalists to be in the media village press centre, tapping out stories well past 3 a.m. It's also not uncommon for them to move from there to the pub on site, where Canadian scribes are almost always the last to leave. Or so we've heard.

AND ANOTHER THING: Just a question for Don Cherry: Is Cindy Klassen still a "disgrace?" ... Duff Gibson and Jeff Pain's success here may have just become a parent's worst nightmare as thousands of young Canadian kids will now feel the urge to start tobogganing head-first ... Mere days after yet another spectacular opening ceremony, many here are already wondering about the wisdom that will see the Vancouver 2010 Games open indoors at GM Place. It would be an Olympic first ... The very definition of puzzlement has to be sitting in a press centre, listening to the collective cheers and moans of European journalists while watching the shooting portion of a biathlon competition.

PARTING GIFTS: Two memorable phrases from waiters in town: "The rum is over" and "We don't do that here." The second sentence came after patrons tried to leave a tip ... It's official: The only thing more annoying than someone speaking on a cellphone too loudly is someone doing it in a foreign language ... Coming soon to a Calgary bar near you: Gold-medal skeleton hero Duff Gibson's band, which includes former speed skaters Neal and Mike Marshall ... Truism No 1,456: No one wants to -- or dreams of -- winning a B Final ... Further emphasizing the importance of reading the small print, a Canadian TV crew of five rented a house here for the Olympics only to find the deal didn't include the family vacating the premises. The dog, the daughters, the folks and the guests all seem to be getting along fine so far.


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