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How the world sees the Games



Whistler and Vancouver took a drubbing in the world's media last week.

Successive articles published in the UK's Guardian newspaper alternately pre-judged the Olympic Games a financial disaster and a catalyst for the dispersal of Vancouver's homeless population.

This week was a little kinder. The Canadian Press published a glowing story about the flame's arrival in Whistler Village, describing in brief its journey through the Olympic venues, along the highway and finally to Whistler Mountain, where Julia Murray handed it to Crazy Canuck Steve Podborski.

The story, however, stopped just short of covering the whole event. It ended with Podborski being handed the flame and that was that. Podborski's torch lit Tyler Allison's torch and Allison lit the cauldron in Whistler.

Other news saw the Australian Olympic Team in a head-to-head battle with the International Olympic Committee over a "boxing kangaroo" banner hanging from their balcony at Vancouver's Olympic Athletes' Village, a tradition at every Olympic Games.

The IOC ordered that it be taken down because it's a registered trademark until Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson interjected and said he wanted to see the banner flying somewhere in the city, although he left the decision up to the IOC. The committee later relented and allowed the banner to keep flying, provided the boxing kangaroo logo be adopted by the Australian Olympic Committee.

Twitter, meanwhile, was a-flutter with talk of the dress rehearsals for the 2010 Opening Ceremonies. It's believed that 27,000 people attended a Feb. 8 rehearsal at B.C. Place Stadium. The details of the ceremonies have been kept secret for months but little pieces slowly came out via leaky Tweets.

First Nations are believed to play a big part in the ceremony. The world is allegedly welcomed to Vancouver by a couple of ice-like Totem poles at centre stage. And like at most opening ceremonies, fireworks will light up the sky around the stadium.

The leaks came despite reports of a non-disclosure agreement in which every attendee had to agree not to spill the beans on the massive show, which happens for real Friday.

In other news, California Gubernator Arnold Schwarzenegger will carry the Olympic Torch through Vancouver's Stanley Park at 8 a.m. on Friday. He'll hand the flame off to Sebastian Coe, chair of the London 2012 Organizing Committee. Other torch-runners that day include Walter Gretzky, Stan Smyl, Bob Lenarduzzi and Lui Passaglia.

Elsewhere in the world, BBC has begun running promos for its Olympic coverage. One of the latest has an Inuit man wandering a perilous black-and-white landscape on a snowboard, skis and skeleton sled, dodging hungry wolves before he comes to an ice wall that he shatters with a throw of a curling stone.