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Paralympic Winter Games -- Torino 2006

Paralympic Winter Games -- Torino 2006

10 -19 March 2006
Torino, Italy

‘Passion Lives Here’ was the motto of the Torino 2006 Paralympic Winter Games.

From 11 to 19 March, a total of 474 athletes, including 99 women (21% of the total number) competed in four sports in 58 medal events. Alpine Skiing was held on the slopes of Sestriere Borgata, Ice Sledge Hockey in the central Torino Esposizioni, the Nordic Skiing events were held in Pragelato. Wheelchair Curling made its Paralympic debut in front of packed crowds in Pinerolo. Mexico and Mongolia were welcomed to their first Winter Paralympics, bringing the total number of participating countries to 39. Athletes and officials lived in two Paralympic Villages, in Sestriere and Torino.

The medal tally was topped by Russia with 13 gold medals, followed by Germany with eight golds and Ukraine, France and USA joint with seven gold medals each. Ukraine saw an exciting development, moving from 18th place at the Salt Lake 2002 Winter Paralympics to third in Torino.

Ukranian athlete Olena Iurkovska led the medal tally taking four gold, one silver and a bronze medal. The Russians secured their golden glory thanks to the performance of a number of standout athletes in the Nordic Skiing competition; Lioubov Vasilieva won three gold medals and one bronze, Taras Kryjanovski took two gold and two silver and Rustam Garifoullin won two golds and a silver. For the German team, the veterans shined as Martin Braxenthaler (sitting) took home three golds for his country and Gerd Schoenfelder (standing) won two golds, a silver and a bronze, making him the most decorated male athlete in Paralympic Alpine Skiing.

In the Ice Sledge Hockey competition, gold medal winners at the Salt Lake 2002 Winter Paralympics, USA went home with the bronze medal while Canada defeated world champions Norway 3:1 to take the gold medal. Despite only scoring three goals in the entire competition, the Italian Ice Sledge Hockey Team still managed to fill the venue for each of their games.

 A total of 162,974 tickets were sold during the Games. Several competitions, including the finals of the Ice Sledge Hockey and Wheelchair Curling as well as the Opening Ceremony, were sold out. While the Italian athletes were, of course, the crowd favourites, spectators cheered for every athlete regardless of their country.

Aster, the mascot of the Torino 2006 Paralympic Winter Games, was the star for children as well as adults at all venues. Representing the spirit of the event, extolling the sporting results of the participants rather than focusing on their disability, Aster took on the shape, colour, structure and nimbleness of a snowflake.

A new record was set in the area of media representatives covering the Games. 1,037 written press, photographers, rights holding broadcasters and non-rightsholding broadcasters were present. The Host Broadcaster, International Sports Broadcasting (ISB) provided more than 130 hours of live coverage and had 303 staff on site. A number of EBU broadcasters extended their coverage with Internet broadband streaming and mobile technology.

For the Opening Ceremony on 10 March, Japanese broadcaster NHK reported a viewing audience of 2.4%. By comparison, a Japanese Soccer League match on the same day were watched by 3.4%. In Germany, ARD’s highlights show on 11 March was watched by 1,770,000 viewers and coverage screened from 11 to 14 March saw an average of 1,320,000 viewers. In Norway, Paralympic coverage had an average of 350,000 viewers daily. Coverage on France’s FR3 channel peaked with 1,265,000 viewers on 19 March and in Poland, a highlights programme screened on 15 March attracted an audience of 1,103,170.

At the Torino 2006 Winter Paralympics, the IPC launched its Internet television channel The channel saw approximately 40,000 unique viewers from 105 countries, watching an average of four and a half hours. Most viewers came from the USA, Italy, Canada, Germany and Japan but the channel drew a 5% increase in new viewers every day.

In Torino, over 200 representatives from future organizing committees and other stakeholder groups participated in the Observers Programme. Participants gained first hand experience and insight into Games operational aspects, which will aid them in their organization.

Another highlight of the Torino 2006 Winter Paralympics was that of 242 doping tests conducted there were no anti-doping rule violations. A total of 103 out-of-competition tests and 139 in-competition tests were conducted.

Around 3,300 volunteers played an indispensable part in the success of the Games. Volunteers were involved at all levels, including providing service at information, reception and press areas, transport, security, medical services and ticketing.

After an exciting Paralympic Flame lightning ceremony in Rome on 1 March, a total of 150 torchbearers carried the Paralympic Flame through the Piemont Region, including several accessible landmarks and to the top of Monte Rosa.

A new record number of 381 athletes (79,87%) voted for the IPC Athletes’ Council’s winter representative candidates during the Games. The newly elected members include Katarzyna Rogowiec (POL), Hans Burn (SUI) and Eskil Hagen (NOR).

(Credit: IPC. Click here for further information.)

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