TORINO 2006 PARALYMPIC WINTER GAMES
The Torino 2006 Paralympic Winter Games saw 474 Para athletes (375 men and 99 women) from 38 countries contest 58 medal events across five sports. Russia topped the medals table and 165,974 spectators attended the Games. Two NPCs took part in a Paralympic Winter Games for the first time and wheelchair curling made its Paralympic debut.
Five different sports were showcased in Torino, with the debut of wheelchair curling attracting large crowds.
Para alpine skiing, Para biathlon, Para cross-country skiing and Para ice hockey completed the programme.
The torch was carried by 126 different people, all the way from Verbania to Torino, and it reached an altitude of 3,080 meters on Monte Rosa.
Held on 10 March, the Torino 2006 Paralympics Opening Ceremony involved an audience of about 25,000 and was broadcast live to millions of viewers around the globe. The theme of the Ceremony was overcoming limitations and was a celebration of those who choose not to surrender.
Russia topped the medal tally with 13 golds, followed by Germany’s eight. Ukraine jumped from an 18th-place finish at the Salt Lake City 2002 Games to a third-place finish in Torino.
Ukraine’s Olena Iurkovska led the individual medal tally with four golds, a silver and a bronze.
The Russians secured their golden glory with the performance of a number of standouts in the Nordic skiing competition. Lioubov Vasilieva won three golds and a bronze; Taras Kryjanovski took two golds and two silvers; and Rustam Garifoullin won two golds and a silver.
With two golds, a silver and a bronze, Germany’s Gerd Schoenfelder became the most decorated male athlete in Paralympic alpine skiing.
Canada defeated Norway 3-1 in the gold-medal match of the ice sledge hockey competition.
ATTENDANCE AND COVERAGE
A total of 169,974 tickets were sold for Games events, as the ice sledge hockey and wheelchair curling finals, as well as the Opening Ceremony, were sold out.
A record 1,037 media representatives arrived in Torino to cover the Games, and the host broadcaster, International Sports Broadcasting (ISB), provided more than 130 hours of live coverage.
The IPC launched its online TV channel, ParalympicSport.TV, at the Games. Nearly 40,000 unique viewers tuned into the channel from 105 nations. Most viewers hailed from the USA, Italy, Canada, Germany and Japan, and the channel drew a five percent increase in new viewers each day of the Games.
The Closing Ceremony, held on 19 March, took place in Piazza Castello, and the theme of the event was springtime – the transition from the dark and cold of winter to a time of warmth and excitement. It was supposed to be a metaphor for the change experienced by the city of Torino as a result of hosting both the Olympics and Paralympics. Three hundred artists were involved in the Ceremony, most of them from Torino-based companies.