The emblem shows a stylized profile of the Mole Antonelliana, drawn in ice crystals in white and blue, signifying the snow and the sky. The crystal web also portrays the web of new technologies and the Olympic spirit of community.
The 2006 Winter Olympics, officially known as the XX Olympic Winter Games (French: Les XXes Jeux olympiques d'hiver) (Italian: XX Giochi olimpici invernali) and commonly known as Torino 2006, was a winter multi-sport event which was held in Turin, Italy, from February 10 to 26, 2006. This marked the second time Italy hosted the Olympic Winter Games, the first being the VII Olympic Winter Games in Cortina d'Ampezzo in 1956. Italy also hosted the Games of the XVII Olympiad in Rome in 1960. Turin was selected as the host city for the 2006 games in June 1999.
The official logo displayed the name "Torino", the Italian name of the city; the city is known as "Turin" in both English and the local traditional language, Piedmontese. The Olympic mascots of the games were Neve ("snow" in Italian), a female snowball, and Gliz, a male ice cube. The official motto of the XX Olympic Winter Games was "Passion lives here".
Turin was chosen as the host of the Olympics on June 19, 1999, at the 109th IOC Session. This was after the IOC had adopted new election procedures during the 108th Extraordinary IOC Session in light of the corruption scandals surrounding the votes for the 1998 and 2002 Winter Olympics.
Since IOC members were forbidden from visiting the candidate cities (in the interests of reducing bribery), the 109th IOC Session elected a special body, the Selection College, to choose finalist cities from the pool of candidate cities after each had made their final presentations to the full IOC Session.
The full IOC Session then voted on the cities chosen as finalist cities by the Selection College. Although six cities launched candidacies and made presentations to the full IOC Session, the Selection College chose only two cities to go forward to be voted upon by the full IOC Session: Sion and Turin. The candidacies of Helsinki, Finland; Poprad-Tatry, Slovakia; Zakopane, Poland; and Klagenfurt, Austria were dropped by the Selection College after all six candidate cities made their candidate presentations.
The selection of Turin over Sion came as a surprise, since Sion was the overwhelming favorite in part because the IOC is based in Switzerland. Media speculation was that the choice of Turin was due to the IOC's desire to retaliate against Switzerland for the whistleblower role played by IOC member Marc Hodler in the revelation of the 2002 corruption scandal. Turin's selection came two years after Rome's unsuccessful 2004 Summer Olympics bid. Those games were ultimately awarded to Athens, Greece.
The cost of the Games was USD4.1 billion (in 2009 dollars). The cost overrun was 82 percent in real terms. This compares with an average cost of USD1.7 billion (in 2009 dollars) for other Winter Olympics over the past 50 years for which data are available and an average cost overrun for these Games of 135 per cent. Cost here includes only sports-related costs and thus does not include other public costs, such as road, rail, or airport infrastructure, or private costs, such as hotel upgrades or other business investments incurred in preparation of the Games, which are typically substantial but which vary drastically from city to city and are difficult to compare consistently.
The Games featured 84 medal events over 15 disciplines in 7 sports. Events that made their Olympic debut in Turin included mass start biathlon, team sprint cross country skiing, snowboard cross and team pursuit speedskating. The classical men's 50 km and women's 30 km distances, which were held at the previous Winter Games in 2002, were not held in these Games, as these events were alternated with freestyle events of the same distances. Most of the cross country skiing events at these Games involved different distances from those in Salt Lake City. The following are the sports and disciplines that were contested at the games. The numbers in parentheses after each sport discipline indicate the number of events contested.
The first gold medal of the 2006 Games was awarded in the 20 kilometre biathlon, won by GermanMichael Greis on the first day of competition. Ice hockey began with the women's competition; Sweden defeated Russia 3–1 in the first match while Canada's team opened with the second most lopsided win in Olympic history by beating the host Italians 16–0.
On February 12, Latvia won its first winter Olympic medal when Mārtiņš Rubenis took the bronze in the men's luge. Armin Zöggeler's win in that event gave Italy its first gold medal of the Games. Both the Canadian and American women's ice hockey teams posted their second straight shutout wins.
Chinese figure skating pair Zhang Dan and Zhang Hao, trailing a dominant Russian pair, attempted a throw quadruple salchow jump—an element which had never been successfully completed in competition. Zhang Dan fell, injuring her knee, but the pair finished their program to a standing ovation and took the silver medal. Russia finished the third day of competition with two gold medals, as did the United States.
The fourth day saw the two North American women's hockey teams finish out pool play with their third win each. Evgeni Plushenko of Russia set a world record score in the men's figure skating short program; his 90.66 points was more 10 points better than the nearest opponent's score. The men's combined alpine skiing was riddled with disqualifications, including front-runners Bode Miller and Benjamin Raich. American Ted Ligety won the event in what was considered an upset.
Canada had another strong day on February 15, setting new Olympic records in both men's and women's pursuit team speed skating events as well as opening the men's ice hockey competition with a win against Italy. Italy finished the day with the men's pursuit team Olympic record, however, after the Netherlands bettered Canada's time only to have Italy improve upon theirs. China won its first gold of 2006 with Wang Meng's victory in the women's individual 500-metre short track speed skating. A pair of Austrian brothers Andreas Linger and Wolfgang Linger won the men's doubles luge while Michaela Dorfmeister gave the nation another championship in the women's downhill.
On February 17, Tanja Frieden of Switzerland took the gold in women's snowboard cross after Lindsey Jacobellis of the United States fell on the second-to-last jump while performing an unnecessary method grab. Jacobellis settled for silver, while Canada's Dominique Maltais took bronze after recovering from a crash. Duff Gibson of Canada took gold in the skeleton just ahead of fellow Canadian Jeff Pain, becoming the oldest individual gold medalist in Winter Olympics history. Rodney Hiner of the United States took home the Bronze. In the women's ice hockey semifinals, the United States lost a shootout to Sweden, marking the first time in international competition that the United States had lost to anyone other than Canada (Canada's win maintained its record of never having lost to anyone other than the United States).
Kjetil André Aamodt won gold for Norway in the men's Super G on February 18, beating Hermann Maier of Austria. GermansKati Wilhelm and Martina Glagow finished first and second in the 10 kilometre biathlon pursuit. The host Italians defeated Canada in men's curling, while Switzerland did the same in men's ice hockey to put the Canadians on the wrong end of two major upsets in the same day. The United States men's ice hockey team suffered its first loss of the tournament as Slovakia and Russia continue their dominance of the pool.
Lascelles Brown became the first Jamaican-born competitor to win a medal at the Winter Olympics on February 19, competing on the Canadian 2-man bobsleigh team which finished second in an extremely tight competition. The German pair was only .21 seconds ahead of the Canadians, themselves only .14 ahead of the Swiss team. Finland continued to be unbeaten in men's ice hockey, handing Canada its second loss.
The day also saw the most hyped event of these games, at least in Europe, as the Men's 10 km Cross Country Relay was scheduled. The battle stemmed from the Lillehammer games 12 years ago in which Italy out-dueled Norway in that very same event. To that extent, many Norwegians wanted to win this event in order to embarrass the Italians on their home turf, but it was not to be as Italy crushed the field winning over Germany by over 15 seconds to take their 5th straight gold in this event. Norway failed to medal for the first time since 1988.
The final day of curling pool play was February 20; Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and Canada advanced to the women's semifinals while Finland, Canada, the United States, and Great Britain qualified in the men's competition. Austria took their first team gold medal in ski jumping, while Canada took their second in women's ice hockey to take a 2–1 lead over the United States in all-time Olympic championships.
Slovakia and Finland both won their final men's ice hockey games on February 21 to win their respective pools with 5–0–0 records. Enrico Fabris gave the host nation another gold medal in speed skating by winning the men's 1500 metres.
On February 22, the twelfth day of competition, Anja Pärson won her first gold medal in the women's slalom; it was her fifth overall Olympic medal and third of the 2006 Games. Chandra Crawford took a quicker route to the top of the podium, winning the 1.1 kilometre cross-country sprint gold in her Olympic debut. In the men's ice hockey quarterfinals, the previously undefeated Slovakians lost to the Czech Republic while Russia, Finland, and Sweden eliminated Canada, the United States, and Switzerland, respectively. Philipp Schoch successfully defended his snowboarding giant slalom gold against his brother Simon.
Sweden took the women's championship in the curling finals held on February 23. Shizuka Arakawa gave Japan its first gold medal of the Games and first figure skating gold medal, winning the ladies' figure skating competition in part by being able to finish without falling, as Sasha Cohen and Irina Slutskaya both tumbled. Russia wrested the gold medal in women's team biathlon from two-time defending champions Germany.
February 24 was the day of the men's curling finals, in which Canada won its first gold medal and the United States won its first medal in the sport as Canada defeated Finland and the United States beat Great Britain for the second time. The figure skating gala was also held, with top placers in all of the events performing exhibitions. Sweden and Finland won their men's ice hockey semifinal games, defeating the Czech Republic and Russia.
The Austrians swept the men's alpine slalom medals on February 25, led by Benjamin Raich. Germany took gold medals in the men's 15 kilometer biathlon and the men's individual bobsleigh. Apolo Anton Ohno won his second short track speed skating gold medal, with only somewhat less controversy than his first 4 years earlier. South Korea's Jin Sun-Yu wins her third gold of the Games in the women's 1000 m. Compatriot Ahn Hyun-Soo wins his third gold medal of the Games, medaling in every men's short track event and bringing his total number of medals in Turin to four.
The final day of competition and the closing ceremony, were held on February 26. The Swedish men's ice hockey team handed Finland their first loss in the final to take the gold medal. In the closing ceremony, Manuela Di Centa, a seven-time Olympic medalist from Italy and then-member of the International Olympic Committee, was scheduled to present the medals for the men's 50-kilometre cross-country skiing event. This resulted in her presenting the gold medal to her own brother when Giorgio Di Centa won the event to take his second gold medal.
Participating NOCs. Green: 1–9; blue: 10–49; orange: 50–99; red: 100 or more.
A record 80 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) entered athletes at the 2006 Winter Olympic Games. This was an increase of two from the 78 represented at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. The number in parentheses indicates the number of participants that NOC contributed. It was the first appearance for Albania, Ethiopia and Madagascar. It was the only appearance at the Winter Olympics for Serbia and Montenegro, coming between their change of name in 2003 and Montenegro's vote for independence in May.
Out of 40,000 applicants, 20,000 volunteers were selected to help the athletes, spectators, and journalists, and to prepare the competition sites. They were selected by the recruiting program Noi2006.
Five sports halls (three new, two rearranged): the Palazzo a Vela re-designed by Gae Aulenti (to host short track and ice skating), the Oval Lingotto (speed ice skating), Torino Esposizioni (ice hockey), the Ice stadium in corso Tazzoli, the Palasport Olimpico designed by Arata Isozaki (ice hockey);
The Olympic arch of Turin;
Olympic villages of Turin, Bardonecchia and Sestriere;
The ice stadium in Pinerolo, re-arranged and enlarged, to host the curling competition;
A new stadium in Torre Pellice (ice hockey);
Twelve new intermediate-level ski lifts in Cesana Torinese, Cesana San Sicario, Sestriere, Bardonecchia, Claviere, Sauze d'Oulx, Pragelato;
The tracks for bobsled, luge, and skeleton in Cesana (the second international track in Italy, along with the one in Cortina d'Ampezzo);
The most important transport infrastructure works were:
The upgrade of 11 state roads and motorways connecting Turin with other Olympic sites, including the Motorway between Turin and Pinerolo, which was host to the Curling events.
In the city, the main developments were the Palafuksas, a glass building designed by Massimiliano Fuksas, the new Modern Art Gallery and the great project of the "Spina", that will provide urban regeneration over an area of 2 million square meters through the construction of an underground urban railway and the re-utilization of abandoned industrial areas.
The Games had issues with costs covering and international attendance. Due to a lack of funding by the Italian Government, Toroc risked dissolution. American skier Bode Miller was also a focus of controversy in his home country and Canada, where his actions were not considered in line with the Olympic spirit.
The metro was finally opened to the public on February 4, 2006, after a 45-day delay. It operated on a shorter stretch (XVIII Dicembre (Porta Susa) to Fermi – 11 stations) than originally forecast; it finally reached the main railway station (Porta Nuova) and the rest of the city centre more than one year after the Games, in October 2007. For the duration of the Games, a single ticket (5 euros) covered use of both the metro and other means of public transportation for a whole day. However, during the Games, metro service stopped at 6:00 pm, making it impractical for spectators of evening events. Furthermore, the metro did not reach any of the Olympic venues. On the other hand, the bus service was heavily improved for the Games, although still inadequate at night hours.
Italian police raided the Austrian athletes' quarter in search of evidence of doping. The raid was conducted due to suspicions over the presence of biathlon coach Walter Mayer, who had been banned from all Olympic events up to and including the Vancouver Olympic Games in 2010 due to previous doping convictions. Around the time of the raid Mayer and two Austrian biathletes, Wolfgang Perner and Wolfgang Rottmann, tried to escape and fled back to Austria. Later, the Austrian ski federation president said that the two athletes told him they "may have used illegal methods". After some days the results of the tests of all 10 tested Austrian athletes were presented and were all negative. List of athletes with doping convictions in these Games:
Russian Olga Medvedtseva was stripped of her silver and other medals in the 15 km biathlon event after testing positive for carphedon.
Brazilian bobsled athlete Armando dos Santos, ejected from the Games after a preventive antidoping test came positive (the results were from a test conducted in Brazil).
A number of events reported low spectator attendance despite having acceptable ticket sales. Preliminary competition and locally less popular sports failed to attract capacity crowd as expected. Organizers explained this was because blocks of seats were reserved or purchased by sponsors and partners who later did not show up at the events.
Several news organizations reported that many Americans were not as interested in the Olympics as in years past. It has been suggested that reasons for this lack of interest include the tape delayed coverage, which showed events in prime-time as much as 18 hours later in the Western United States, and also due to the lack of success achieved by big-name American athletes. Primetime viewing figures in Canada were also disappointing, especially after the early exit of the Canadian men's hockey team, though overall viewing figures were up from 2002.
Torino's Olympic Oval hosting the 2009 European Athletics Indoor
The Olympics represented an opportunity to revamp the city's look and change its traditional image as an industrial city by showing the world its hidden side of vibrant cultural life and stunning architectures. Thanks to the olympic exposure and state of the art venues, Turin has become one of Italy's primary tourist destinations and has been established as an important sport center in Europe.
Since 2006, TOP (Torino Olympic Park) had been the agency in charge of managing the Olympic facilities.
The organizers further increased security measures in connection with the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy and insisted that the Olympic Games were going to be safe, which they were; the Olympics concluded without a major breach of security occurring.