The gold medals for best mobile Olympics sites go to...

The 2010 Winter Olympics are well under way and the question on everyone's mind is: how do I keep track of the pivotal Canada vs. Sweden curling match on Wednesday from (pick one): [ work | grocery store | dentist | bus ]?

Luckily the power of 3G and the mobile Web guarantee you will never be more than a few smart phone clicks away from all of the schedules, scores, stories, photos and videos you could ever want from Vancouver.

We reviewed about two dozen major sites covering the 2010 Winter Olympics and narrowed it down to five that, together, should fit the bill for any sports fanatic. The criteria included content, design, usability and utility. These are all true mobile Web sites and were tested on an iPhone, but should work on any smart phone with a Web browser.
A few bonus apps are also included at the bottom for Android and iPhone fans.
So, with the caveat that these are mostly U.S.-centric and totally subjective, the gold medal winners are:

Best Overall Content: NBC Olympics
As the official U.S. broadcaster for the games NBC has an advantage in the category and it stays ahead of the pack with a solid presentation burnished by a huge amount of mobile-friendly video. Like most of the other sites represented, NBC offers stories, schedules, medal counts, photos and alerts.

Best Reference: Yahoo Olympics
Yahoo has probably the best looking mobile site we reviewed. The home page is topped by a medal count chart and overall the experience is highly data-driven but very user friendly. The best feature: a search box at the bottom of the home page lets you find your favorite athlete, review her medals and get a list of her upcoming competitions.

Best Schedule: Vancouver 2010
The official host site has an absolutely great schedule tool. It provides a full day-at-a-glance including time, sport, competitors and whether or not it is a medal event. Once an event is completed, the results with a box score are also included. There is a simple drop-down menu to allow instant selection of any date. Just keep in mind the times displayed are all PST.

Best Local: Vancouver Sun
The Sun is covering the Olympics as a hometown story and has a great mix of event coverage and local impact stories. On Tuesday, alongside results from hockey and snowboarding was a story about a chain link fence surrounding the outdoor Olympic flame, and another detailing the automatic 20 percent gratuity some local restaurants are adding to their bills. If you are in town for the games, you will want to bookmark this one.

Best Read: Washington Post
Something about the design and mix of stories makes the Post site very clickable and readable. We looked at a fair number of major metro newspaper sites and found this one the most satisfying. It is also the category most likely to draw disagreement, so let us know in the comments what your favorite is.

The Apps
These were not reviewed as part of the competition, but if you are on an iPhone or Android user there are a few Olympic-related apps worth checking out:
> Winter Olympics 2010: The iPhone experience (TUAW)
> 5 Android Apps for the 2010 Winter Olympics experience (Androinica)


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