Torino 2006 Winter Olympic Games

The Torino 2006 Winter Olympic Games, the 20th instalment of the Winter Olympics, took place in Torino, Italy, from 10 to 26 February 2006. This was the second time Italy hosted the Winter Olympics after the first time at Cortina d'Ampezzo in 1956. Italy also hosted the Summer Olympics in Rome in 1960.


Time and Place: Torino (Italy); 10 - 26 February 2006
Other candidates: Sion
Participation: 80 countries, 2,508 athletes
Number of sports: 15 sports, 84 events
Fire lit by: Stefania Belmondo (cross country skier)
Games opened by: Carlo Ciampi (President of Italy)
Olympic oath: Giorgo Rocca (alpine skier)
Motto: Passion lives here


Trivia from the Torino 2006 Winter Olympic Games

Two new events were introduced in Torino, the speed skating team pursuit and snowboarding boardercross. Torino was selected as the host in 1999,  beating Sion (Switzerland) in the vote with 53 votes to 36.  Voting was carried out under new rules, introduced by the IOC after corruption scandals plagued votes regarding the 1998 and 2002 Games. 


Olympic heights


Latvia won its first medal in the history of the Winter Olympic Games.  Canadian skeleton competitor Duff Gibson became the oldest gold medal winner at age 39 and American Shani Davis became the first black man to win gold at an individual event.


A record 2,508 athletes took part in the competition and won medals for a record breaking 26 countries. Austrians dominated alpine skiing, winning 14 of 30 available medals. South Korea similarly won 10 of 24 medals in short track speed skating with Sun-Yu Jin winning 3 gold medals and Hyun-Soo Ahn winning 3 golds and a bronze. German biathlete Michael Greis also won three medals. Speed skater Cindy Klassen won a total of 5 medals in six competitive events and Claudia Peschstein won gold and silver, becoming the first athlete to win a total of 9 Olympic speed skating medals during her Winter Olympics career.


The most successful country at the 20th Olympics in Torino was Germany which won 29 medals, including 11 golds, followed by the USA with 25 and Austria with 23 medals. Austria thus surpassed its previous record from Lillehammer. 84 events were scheduled at the Olympics, more than ever before.


In cross country skiing, Norway coach Bjornar Haakensmoen showed true sportsmanship by lending Canadian Sara Renner his own ski pole after she broke hers. His pole was 12 cm too long, but it enabled the Canadian team to win silver in the team sprint and took away the Norwegian team's chances of a medal as it finished fourth.  


Slovenian competitors did not win medals at Torino, the closest was Petra Majdič who led the 15 km double pursuit at the halfway point but lost the lead in the freestyle second half and finished 11th. She also missed a medal in the 10 km classic by about 10 seconds. There were some disappointments and surprises but perhaps the greatest disappointment was the result of the ski jumpers who barely made the top thirty. The home favorite Tina Maze also failed to come in the top ten.