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Olympics reach the Turin point

NBC will air more than 400 hours of programming from the Winter Olympics, starting with Friday's Opening Ceremonies in Turin, Italy. That kind of saturation coverage can leave even the most Barcalounger-hardened veteran feeling overstuffed.

To cleanse the palate, may we suggest some blogs that bring some fresh perspective to the Games.

A good place to start is's Olympics blog, hosted by James Martin. Martin is an American writer who visits Italy frequently and runs several travel blogs. His Winter Games site appears at, and also on NBC's Olympics portal,

"There are lots of stories that might interest people that can't be covered by other sources, and blogging gives people a chance to interact, to tell me about what they want to know about the whole Olympics spectacle," Martin said by e-mail. "I'm excited about this interaction."

As a writer Martin has an eye for exotic details among the sports and athletes.

Linking to an article about Sarah Konrad, the first American to compete in two sports at one Winter Games -- cross-country skiing and biathlon -- Martin writes: "Sarah wasn't entirely happy with her cross-country ski performance, so she did what every red-blooded American would do. She picked up a gun and started shooting."

Martin cited a story about special lightweight uniforms that Nike developed for hockey teams to wear during the Games. The Nike Swifts are supposed to cut down wind resistance, enabling the players to skate faster. In several trials runs, however, some of the players complained that the uniforms felt too tight.

"Doesn't intimidation [in hockey] count any more?," Martin writes. "Isn't baggy better? Maybe I should ask a basketball player." will host several other blogs as well, including the thoughts of TV commentators Picabo Street, Scott Hamilton, Dan Jansen and Cammi Granato. For something off the beaten mountain path, turn to the "Bode By Jake" blog, hosted by Jake Serino, who says he is the "chef, chauffeur and childhood friend" of U.S. skiing star Bode Miller (

Serino and Miller travel the European skiing circuit in a recreational vehicle. Serino writes that Miller spends his downtime reading adventure books and playing video games:

"We play Zelda-like adventure games and rally racing games on our PS2. Last year we could not resist buying the new Hermann Maier ski racing game -- it's OK -- and laughing as the other person flailed in the slalom or rag-dolled after a crash in the downhill."

Some other Turin site-seeing:

* Off the Podium ( More flash than depth, but has a fun "20 Questions With" feature.

Kelly Hilliman's home page ( The Town of Tonawanda aerial skier, forced to sit out the Games with a broken thighbone, blogs about her rehabilitation and cheers on her comrades from the aerials team.

* A Day in the Life ( U.S. women's hockey defenseman Angela Ruggiero, and her blogging friends, chronicle their medal quest.

Greg Connors' column about blogs appears on alternate Mondays in The Link. You may e-mail him at

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