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Welcome to The Tyee's People's Podium, where daily we distill the best and the worst of the Olympics into a concise, utterly unscientific assessment of who conducted themselves gracefully, whose best efforts ended up a face plant in the snow, and who earned time in the penalty box.

We invite you to use our commenting thread to offer your own choices.

And if you'd like to share your digital photos with the Tyee community, click here to learn how you can contribute to our Flickr photo pool. Every day we'll pick a number of images from the pool for our lead-off photo essay.

And now, the awards...

GOLD goes to kd lang for the heartfelt rendition of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" at the opening ceremonies, showing those lip-stinkers Brian Adams and Nelly Furtado what it looks like to perform.

GOLD for Vancouver police working Friday night, who reportedly faced off against a crowd of 1,500 protestors outside BC place. . . and just stood there, doing nothing, never breaking up the protest, but letting them protest peacefully as long as they liked. This is exactly what riot police ought to do: create a safety barrier that protects protest rights and protects the rights of the spectators at the same time.

GOLD to the dancing flash mob that at 4 p.m. on Saturday suddenly materialized by the hundreds at the corner of Robson and Bute and broke into a joyous, tightly choreographed routine to "Dancing in the Streets." Watch it here:

As we reported on The Hook, "The flash mob was the result of an elaborate planning process by a group called Imagine1day, a nonprofit organization that aims to provide access to schools and a primary education for all children in Ethiopia, Africa. They organized the event and four warm ups through Facebook, where about 3,000 people had confirmed their attendance to the final performance."

GOLD to Tyee commenters who invested much thought and time contributing well over a hundred posts following our weekend story Arrests, Beatings as Saturday Protest Turns Violent. The multi-perspective debate over the morality and effectiveness of property-damaging protest was mostly civil and always provocative, a mini-seminar in social change theory.

GOLD to Alex Bilodeau for the first Olympic gold medal ever earned on Canadian soil.*

SILVER to The Carnival Band, which horned its way into some pretty tense protest scenes and blasted some joy and celebration of the human spirit into the air. The Carnival Band is a long-time institution within the Commercial Drive scene. So, when the torch relay came that direction on Friday, and masked protesters assembled to block its path, the band was there, too. One musician told The Tyee that many dissenters, as well as torch run fans and even the police, they appreciated the positive energy the band added to the protest

SILVER To Shane Koyczan and VANOC, or whoever booked Koyczan into the opening ceremonies for the risky, edgy choice of a slam poet who gained his deserved reputation at local slam poetry joints like Café Deux Soleil on Commercial Drive, but the performance echoed the old Molson "I am Canadian" beer commercials. Just find a version of Move Pen Move for proof that he is more than that.

BRONZE to Rebecca Belmore, whose way to kick off the Cultural Olympiad was to fill a bar with First Nations people and keep everyone else out. Her conceptual art piece was a lot of fun if you were in the bar, not so much if you weren't, which was a point made every minute that the throat got wetter or more dry. The setting was the Candahar, a Belfast bar installed upstairs at the Playwrights Theatre Center on Granville Island, where different performances are scheduled nightly during the Olympics. On Friday evening, after about an hour, the burly bouncer began allowing whites into the bar, and a film director was overheard inside arguing with a First Nations patron. The white director was slagging the Opening Ceremonies as badly staged, a discredit to First Nations people. "What are you talking about?" replied the native guy, who loved the show. Very postmodern, eh?

FACEPLANT for whoever helped craft the slogans for the radical protestors. You have seven years to dream up a clever line, a chant, any sort of cohesive message. And the most memorable things the protesters come up with are "f--- canada" and "f---the cops." You hear wittier word play on the playground.

FACEPLANT for the decision to transform the Opening Ceremonies into the reality TV show game: "Find the Cauldron on the Back of a Truck with Wayne Gretzky," or VANOC for turning the inside of BC Place into the inside of Superman's arctic headquarters, or the gimmicky snowboard trick that started the game jumping off what looked like a left-over monster truck ramp.

FACEPLANT for the 'Black Bloc' anarchist protesters whose stated goal was to show people we have too much police repression in Vancouver. When a bunch of people in all black wearing balaclava's sweep down the street and begin bashing windows, most people in the vicinity can't help but feel glad there are police about. We're criticizing not the outrage against injustice here, but rather the way it was expressed. If you were trying to win people over to your clearly expressed outrage, sorry, you're headfirst in the snow.

PENALTY BOX to Sliding Centre officials who knew the track was faster than planned, knew that new world records were being broken there, but waited until after the death of the Georgian luger to extend the plywood safety wall and put padding on the metal posts. Photos of them putting big pads on the posts were lame beyond belief.

OK, that's how we saw it. Tell us your nominations for Gold, Silver, Bronze, Faceplant and Penalty Box. Feel free to include links to social media, youtubes, whatever you'd like. *Story corrected 16 Feb. 2010.  [Tyee]

Read more: 2010 Olympics

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