Anthony Stavrinos writes:

The 2006 Winter
Olympics are about to get underway amid reports of organisational chaos.

The major concerns are a new subway system
in Turin which the Italians had planned to be a
key means of transport to venues. But work on it is not yet complete and certain services won’t reach the venues.

Bus drivers
recruited from around Italy don’t know their way around and apparently no-one
is respecting the special Olympic lanes, with traffic chaos ensuing. “For the rap
Athens got, it didn’t have this degree of problems,” says the editor of
Olympics news publication Around The

But organisers say the Games are ready with only small details left to complete and
“nothing structural” that needs attending to.

The first day of competition begins
tomorrow, with warmer than expected conditions in the host city
and two Aussies in the spotlight – Cameron Morton in Biathlon and Manuela
Berchtold in Moguls freestyle skiing. Neither are considered medal contenders.

The earliest medal chance for Australia
will come on Monday when Torah Bright competes in the women’s half pipe, with a
few secret manoeuvres reportedly up her sleeve.

Australia’s Moguls
star Dale Begg-Smith, overshadowed by Canadian Alexandre Bilodeau in his last competition before the Games,
will begin his bid for a medal next Wednesday.

And it won’t be until Sunday, 19 February,
that we’ll see our other medal contenders in freestyle aerial skiing – Lydia
Jacqui Cooper and Alisa Camplin. Meanwhile, 31-year-old Camplin has just
been announced as the Australian team’s flag bearer at Torino’s Opening Ceremony tonight.

Australia’s record 40-strong team will compete in ten of the 15 disciplines. Click here for further details.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey