SOMEWHERE IN ITALY — We thought tonight would be a good time to talk about where we are. Not that we're not sure, but there is some confusion. For example, all the Olympics coverage on the Associated Press is marked with the dateline: TURIN, Italy. That's what it says on most maps. But how does that explain NBC's coverage of the “Torino Olympics?” Well, today we started asking around.
Wearing my company-issued Torino Olympics jacket, I met with David Whitley of the Orlando Sentinel, who wrote a whole column recently about NBC's insistence on calling this place Torino.
“When you go outside you're in Torino,” says Whitley. “When you speak to any Americans in here, they call it Turin. People asked me three things when I was coming over here: Is Michelle Kwan going to be healthy enough to skate? Is Bode Miller going to be too drunk to ski? And Turin and Torino — are they two different cities?”
Well, we found both. Two different versions, right here in the city of Turin — or Torino.
One local linguist we interviewed chose his favorite, pronouncing it Tur-een.
Then again, an Italian journalist begs to differ.
“[It's] Torino,” says Paolo Mastrolilli with La Stampa.
Many of the people of this city were more than proud of whatever name they choose for their city.
The story behind the confusion: NBC Sports Chairman Dick Ebersol, during his first visit here years ago, loved the way “Torino” rolled off the tongue. So, Torino it is. Besides, there's no changing all those logos now. NBC's Olympics host Bob Costas seems to know where his bread is buttered.
“The New York Times and many other responsible publications still call it Turin,” Costas says. “However, it says Torino behind me. Who am I to fight City Hall?”
It was the newspaper guy, David Whitley, who decided to make this a personal issue — invoking some of America's best-loved stars.
“[Why not] go all the way and for the next two weeks call Katie Couric Sophia Loren?” Whitley asks. “Call Al Roker Enzo Ferrari. You could be: Brian Williamso.”
“We are in Torino, and before the games are over, I'm looking forward to getting a glimpse of that Shroud of Torino, which is of great historical note,” Costas adds.
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