2006 Winter Olympiad

City elections for the XX Winter Games took place under a new scheme. To avoid a repeat of the bribery scandals of IOC members that accompanied the previous two votes, the International Olympic Committee did not send representatives to candidate countries. Of the six entries submitted, two were selected, and in the traditional vote Turin was defeated by Swiss Sion.

The choice of the city as the winter Olympic capital gave a powerful impetus to its development – in addition to 65 sports facilities in Turin, the metro and the transport infrastructure was built, and the general investments in development of the city amounted to 1.7 billion euros.

The traditional opening ceremony, with nearly 2,700 Olympians from 80 countries, was held on February 10, 2006, and Italian President Carlo Ciampi declared the XX Winter Games open. The sports program by this year already included 84 disciplines in 15 sports that were awarded Olympic status. The first and second champions in Turin were the Germans – these were biathlete Michael Grais and cross-country skier Georg Hettich. In total, German athletes won 29 medals at these games – more than anyone else. Second in the medal standings were Americans – 25 awards. Russians did not perform as successfully as expected, but on their account there were many awards – 8 gold and bronze, 6 silver.

In performances in individual sports, notable was the dominance of South Korean speed skaters in the short track – only twice did they pass opponents to the top step of the pedestal, conquering six gold, three silver and a bronze award. All other members of the Korean Olympic team added only one bronze medal to that number.

As in most recent Olympiads have not been done in Turin without doping scandals, which this time included even a police raid into an Olympic village and the escape from there of two Australian athletes and their coach. For the same reason Russian biathlete Olga Pyleva was stripped of the silver award, and Brazilian bobsleigh player Armando Dos Santos was not allowed to compete.

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