February 18, 2006
Nesbitt now free to talk
KATHY RUMLESKI -- Londn Free Press

TURIN, ITALY -- Londoner Christine Nesbitt's Olympic silver medal will be a highlight for the Forest City for years to come.

Nesbitt was very excited about sharing the experiences with her fellow Londoners, via the media.

"Maybe I'll be a hometown celebrity," she said, moments after winning silver in the women's long-track speed skating team pursuit Thursday night.

She said she would be happy to show her medal around London when she gets home.

While Nesbitt is quite willing to talk to journalists, team managers have really limited her opportunity to do so.

Thursday was the first day journalists could interview Nesbitt since Feb. 8.

The long-trackers held a press conference on that day and then all media access to the athletes was cut off until after their competitions.

Nesbitt couldn't even talk to reporters following her preliminary round in the team pursuit Wednesday.

Many other Canadian teams are taking the same approach. They say it's so the athletes can focus on their competition.

That's understandable, but I'm sure readers would have enjoyed reading even one story about how Nesbitt was feeling after training and before her competition.

Her managers, at the very least, should have allowed access to her after the team pursuit preliminary round.

Amateur sports usually long for any story they can get on the sports pages, rife with news from the NHL, NFL and NBA.

Now's their big chance, but sadly, many of them only want the story on their terms.

* * *

No snow. No rain. No sleet. It's pretty easy for the letter carriers in Turin to go about their jobs.

There hasn't been any precipitation since the Games began.

Today, several groups, including unions and environmentalists, have organized a bicycle rally to protest the increase of automobile traffic during the Olympics.

"We wish you rain, wind and snow. Without them, Torino's air is very bad," said a news release, mainly in Italian.

The groups claim 300 people die each year in the region due to smog-related illness.

* * *

A room in the media centre where news conferences are held is called La Mole. I'm sure there are more than a few moles around.

* * *

Whenever Italy does well in a competition, the media centre erupts in cheers and much clapping.

At the pairs figure skating competition the other night, Russian journalists were applauding the gold-medal performance of countrymen Tatiana Totmianina and Maxim Marinin.

Even jaded journalists are getting into the Olympic spirit.







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