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GOLD to Canadian speed skater Christine Nesbitt for navigating the ice chip moguls at the Richmond skater centre on her way to victory in the 1000-metre race.

GOLD for Swiss goalie Jonas Hiller who carried on a Swiss tradition of stoning Canadian hockey Olympians, making 43 saves in regulation last night and throwing the host country into a wobbly-kneed tizzy.

Although it's the nature of tournament hockey for teams with less firepower to pack the defence and wait for counter attacks -- a strategy that rarely wins tournaments but does keep scores respectable -- as soon as the game was over, the CBC wanted to know: "Is Your Faith In Men's Hockey Team Shaken?" And, by the way, the Canadians won (3-2 in a shoot-out).

GOLD to the Dogwood Initiative for recycling the polar bear. The polar bear on the Canadian Toonie two dollar coin, to be specific. The B.C. environmental group is handing out 100,000 plastic decals that adhere to the coin, changing its message around the bear image to say: "WTF? Save Winter.ca."

The message resonates louder with every slushy landing at the Cypress venue. "Winter gives us pond hockey, skiing in the Rockies and Carnaval de Quêbec," says Dogwood's Charles Campbell in a press release. "Canada's identity as a northern nation is threatened by our inaction on Global Warming and support of dirty oil, particularly the tar sands."

Is commandeering a coin to promote your cause legal? Yes it is, the courts ruled last time Dogwood tried a similar trick.

GOLD to BEST for organizing the Bike Valet service. The Skytrains are crowded so why not take a pleasant ride by bike down to the Spring Olympics, where an attendant will take your bike, give you a claim check (no locks required), then be on your way. How often do bikers get to do that?

GOLD to Frances Bula for entering the lair of the snarky Brit and posting her funny retort to the bad press we're getting there. In The Guardian's Comment Is Free department, she writes, "We were prepared to see visiting reporters hone in on the city's homelessness crisis or its epidemic of gang violence, perhaps even see them criticise the province's decision to spend billions to host the Olympics instead of concentrating on the problems on its doorstep.

"But no one expected the weird coverage we're getting, which has focused instead on broken-down ice machines, the 'too-warm' weather, malfunctioning buses, a chain-link fence around the Olympic flame, some marketing genius's "Own the Podium" campaign, and other earth-shaking events that apparently add up to Worst Games Ever.

"As one woman shopping at my local grocery store was overheard saying: 'Worst games ever? Hello? Munich, anyone?... And as for adopting an aggressive, 'own the podium even if I have to kill to get it' attitude -- have you listened to our medal-winning athletes? They're so sweet, they make Winnie the Pooh look like a charging grizzly."

SILVER to HardWorkinHippy who added this post after Bula's blast [sic!]: "What has hurt the most is the Brit press completely ignoring the stunning sound and light show and the astonishing and passionate performances of Misha Bruger Gossman, KD Lang and Ashley MacIsaac. It made me proud to see that Canadas representaive performers where First Nation, Black and Gay.

"No, concentrate on a tragic death and a few glitches instead and then claim its the worst Olympics ever and to claim that wanting to do well at our own Olympics is unCanadian is just ridiculous.

"There are odd days when I wonder why I left the UK for Canada, but the Brit coverage has reinforced in my mind that a 4 month winter is infinitely better than the culture of snide bitter cynicism that seems to washed over the UK."

SILVER for a bit of Olympic heckling. Mya Brown was doing her usual jog along Ontario Street, taking her past Riley Park and a gaggle of Olympic curlers. "As I ran past, one of the curlers yelled out in a thick Scandanavian accent: 'Hurry! Hurry haaaaarrdd!!'"

BRONZE for a bit more Olympic heckling. At the Battle of Czechoslovakia (i.e. the men's Czech-Slovak hockey game) there was a lot of fast skating and fancy passing, leading one spectator to cry out in the third period, "Would someone please hit someone!"

Bronze for bravery as Stephen Colbert fearlessly wades into a Canadian "polite mob."

Bronze for VANOC top honcho John Furlong for finally addressing critics who said the Opening Ceremonies were too white and the closing celebration should better reflect the true cultural diversity of British Columbia. Schema magazine editor Alden Habacon zeroed in on the issue with this editorial earlier in the week. After the final show, we'll check back with Alden to see whether he thinks Furlong was right.

Tune in Saturday morning for another People's Podium!  [Tyee]

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