2006 Torino (Italy)
XXth Winter Olympic Games from 02/10 to 02/26/2006
Days before the opening ceremony (03 and 04)
Small weekend before the Games 2006 Torino, February 3 and 4, just to test the atmosphere. Works everywhere in the city, the workmen try to finish in time. The subway will be open as from February 5, the part which interests us especially is located between the stations of Porta Susa and of Porta Nuova. Torino Piemonte Media Center from where I will be able to bring up to update my site is opened. My pass is ready.
Day 0 – Opening Ceremony – 10 February
A hard starting for these Olympic Games, the first day I was made steal my identity papers, money and bank card. Fortunately Franco-Italian solidarity was present and I could find a financial independence quickly. However, if you come to Italy for the Games, take your precautions. If you have a back bag, carry it on the belly, do not leave any bag visible, distribute your money in various pockets, circulate with photocopies of your identity papers.
Let us pass to the principal object, the Olympic Games and my impressions. It appears that the day of the opening ceremony the drivers of bus were put in strike. Torino receives the whole world, but a little forgot to be put at its range.
In the buses, no chart of way and stops or with rare exceptions, for the foreigners difficult to find itself there, especially that the names of the stops are written very small and it’s not easy to see from bus.
The organization always did not think of certain details of importance and forgot that while making pass the flame in certain districts it could block the passage of the bus afor the opening ceremony to 2 hours of its beginning. Let us not speak about the circulation which is infernal, we are well far from the effectiveness of that of Athens what however was not easy thing in this city!
Italian spectacle for the opening ceremony with a passage on the Italian Renaissance.
Since the beginning of the Games, Stampa gradually publishes the official posters per series of 2 or 3.
Day 1 – 11 February
I go to downtown, meets with my Canadian friend Lucile, we chatter a great moment, but we should be separated because another go awaits me Lingotto with Gemma, an Italian friend. Some collectors of pins in front of Lingotto, I waits a little before seeing Gemma in volunteer. After to given me some documents, I go with her to home where we await Claude, her voluntary husband during the Games after having taken part in the opening ceremony in costume of “spadassin” of the Italian Renaissance. I set out again a little later, for a stop prolonged in the center of Media in order to make my updates.
To note: the humour of Switzerland which in spite of their failure with the organization of these 2006 Games, decided to make their”Sion 2006″ nevertheless.
Day 2 – 12 February
I wait Maurizio, a Milanese friend come waits to visit me during the Games and a collector of items Coke. We go to center town, first to Olympic Superstore to find there miniatures car which interests, after we go to Piazza Solferino where Coke is. Known collectors are there. The entry at the village sponsor is a little long, it is Sunday and much from Italian came to walk. Friends come to find us there. The trading center is hardly animated, certain faces are familiar for me. Italian is not very familiarized with the trading pins. Various animations are proposed on the Coca stand: pictures in bobsleigh, with the torch, bottles plastic directly labelled, sale of pins (their catalogue is very reduced). We set out again the streets are full with many people, it is difficult to circulate easily, the buses are blocked, we return by walking . I go to media center a little bit later.
Day 3 – 13 February
Day sport today! departure for women biathlon. We go to the Porta Nuova station to get the train for Oulx (the trains leave all the 30 mn), it’s about 1 hour of travel. At our arrival to Oulx, the buses are waiting and we go to Cesana San Sicario for biathlon. In Nagano with low cost tickets it was possible to have an access to the tribune, but not here and we must go along the way of race to see the athletes. Fortunately Philippe, my friend, know already the course, and can direct us on the interesting places. We ask for a start list, but the TOROC is not able to give it because data processing have capitulated. I try to obtain a with difficulties a new Coke goblet. We go to see the start of the race. 4 Frenchwomen are starting: dossart n°8 Sylvie BECAERT, dossart n°36 Florence BAVEREL-ROBERT, dossart n°38 Sandrine BAILLY and dossart n°69 Delphyne PERETTO.
The race is started, not near from large screen, we do not have any idea of the placement of the Frenchwomen during the race, but we encourage them at each passage. Unfortunately, it was not a good day and the performances are not the best.
The best Frenchwoman, Sandrine BAILLY is classified 7th, then Sylvie BECAERT at the 25th place, Florence BAVEREL-ROBERT at the 27th and Delphyne PERETTO with the 41th place. 2 Russian are the winner (Svetlana ISHMOURATOVA and Olga PYLEVA downgraded since for doping) and Martina GLAGOW, german, is the third. We have the possibility to go on the steps to make pictures of the flowers ceremony.
We go to Sestrière by taking the bus. Still 30 mn to arrive at Sestrière. We are face to face with the skiing tracks, it is splendid. We join the Club France where we are awaited to lunch in spite of the late hour (3.30pm). This time, thanks to L we do not stay outside! it is exceptional (see Athens 2004 chronicle!). It is one calm moment, we missed a meeting with Antoine DENERIAZ recent gold medalist in alpine skiing.
L nicely offers to us 2 places for curling for tomorrow.
Henri Serandour, CNOSF president, is eating at table behind us and come to greet us. The Club France is magnificiently installed face to face with the mountain and the view is superb on the skiing tracks.
We come back charmed by our visit and with a permanent pass authorizing us to go to the Club France of Torino. A small stop at the house of Valais (Swiss) where we drink a hot drink and recover some memories. Switzerland clearly posts its intentions while indicating on its door “everyone is welcome”.
Day 4 – 14 February
Philippe, my joint tenant, awakes with a pain with the foot which prevents it from moving. We are anxious. He decides to cancel his day at Sestrière where he was to go to see Alpine skiing. I go to Pinerolo to see the curling, sport which I don’t know. It is necessary to join the station of Torino Lingotto, the bus passes in front of the buildings coloured of the Olympic village of Turin before leaving me to the station. I have just missed a train, it will be necessary to have patience 30 mn more to take the following. 45 mn of way. The site is very close, 5 mn with foot to join it. The tests did not start yet. Presentation of the teams: Switzerland / Norway, Sweden / Canada, Italia / Germany and USA / New-Zealand. It is a game of address. Nevertheless and with my direction, definitely more interesting to practise than to look at. After the part I join the center of the town, with the research of the Post office, for some additional cancellations. No specific for Pinerolo was made. I get the train to comeback.
I find my joint tenant with a bad figure because he was keep inside all the day, and I decide to take it along by car to the Club France to avoid to him walking. A smile returns. Arrived at the Club France, we have a small stress, because the gatekeeper does not identify our pass of Sestrière as being able to open to us the door of the Club of Turin. After information, we can enter, taken charges some by the person of the reception. We can have access to the bar and the restaurant. After a small aperitif, we again cross Henri Serandour who greets us again then we move towards the room of restaurant where a dresser with Italian specialities is presented. Excellent diner, we will return!
Day 5 – 15 February
We decide to make a laundry today. Funny idea! we do not manage to make start the machine and moreover, with our various tests, we have neither hot water any more nor heating! We arrive, we do not know very well how, to start again. We go to the Carrefour Supermarket to make some provisions. After the lunch, we leave for the village sponsor, history of get some gadgets. I am recorded with the press lounge of Coca-Cola with Press Card of Torino Media Center. A person give us a pin and invites us to return when we want for drinking or eating. Small turn at the other sponsors, Samsung, EuroSport, FIAT, Neutrogena and the trading center of Coca-Cola. I leave for Torino Piemonte Media Center, but impossible to actualize my site. Return to the apartment where my joint tenant announces to me that we are without heating nor hot water! Catastrophe, the temperature is cold. We try during more than one hour to restart the boiler, without success, it is 1am, we are tired and will lie down under a mountain of blankets!
Day 6 – 16 february
Early in the morning, I takes the things in hand, and great miracle, I find the good button, all is right and it’s good because, it did not make very hot and the friend Philippe left without being able doucher nor to be heated with his races. Another friend, Michel, come to seek some businesses that I entrust to him to bring back to France. As he is in a car, I leave with him to the village sponsor. I remain a few moments in the Coke center and leaves to research new gadgets to find. Nothing miraculous, some postcards, a bag, a small turn in the bus of Samsung, what to occupy me a little. I return to the apartment to lunch and set out again for the Center Media. I meet there the friend Marc who occupies himself of the update of his site. We exchange some small tricks relating to our respective sites and of the pictures. We discover that we profit from a rack reserved for our name with documentation. Philippe joined us a little later, we go to a tasting of local products organized all the days to the Center Media. Very nice!
Day 7 – 17 February
Philippe left early, his races are at 10am and there is 3h way to join the site of the cross-country. I am delayed a little at the apartment before leaving for the center media. While arriving, small stop at the house of Vancouver in the hope to see Lucile. What a chance, she is there! We discuss one moment with the sun. Students of the university George Washington in the USA, seeing us, ask to us whether we agree to answer a survey relating to our vision of the Olympic Games. Sure, we accept, the gift is a …..pin!
A little later I take along Lucile to the Media Center, as she does not have the pass, I give her my bag Torino Piemonte Media Center and we go together without problem. No particular controls, they know me now! I benefit from it to pass some important phone calls and to check my mails.
We set out again together, it takes along me to the house of Canada, I take some small flags with the colors of Vancouver 2010 which I reserve to the children schools that I will visit after the Games. We go to her hotel located opposite the Porta Nuova and we separate, I leave towards Palavela where the competition of dance proceeds on ice.
I meet Irina and Igor, my Russian friends. I remain one moment with them, then we leave to eat in the shopping center of Lingotto and to make some provisions. The day ends in a small passage in the center of media, I must communicate some informations to be likely small to obtain a guest pass for the Olympic village.
Day 8 – 18 February
Meet at the Porta Nuova station with my canadians friends and Philippe. We go to Sestrière and Club France. With our passes we enter without problem as all our friends who can get one temporary. We drink together with the athletes. Franck PICCARD, silver medal in Albertville is present and nicely agrees to sign some autographs and to make pictures. Florence BAVEREL-ROBERT Torino 2006 gold medal in biathlon is also present and signs us an autograph. The TV news sport of France 3 is held on line with a few meters of us. After the end, Henri SANNIER, the presenter, passes among us. We set out again a little later without to have eat because the restaurant is full. We stop with the dresser of France Television which is held in the entry of access to the France Club France and join then our Canadian friends in downtown. Perfect timing, we leave to join the shuttle DOM1 which brings back for us on Oulx. The driver did not know very well the road and it is an Italian volunteer who says by where to pass! The train of the return is almost empty, it is 11pm.
Day 9 – 19 february
The pickpockets are always in Torino! my friend Philippe was made steal his purse in the pocket of his wind-breaker in the tram which led it towards the center. Today, it snows on Torino, a heavy snow which leaves a muddy magma after the passage of the cars which circulate. I join Marc in Torino Piemonte Media Center, a lot of interesting documents were placed at our disposal today. We go dinner to the Club France this evening, the buses are rare, we walk in muddy snow. We can be restored of a good hot meal.
Day 10 – 20 February
Early the morning, I decide to go until to Visa (access reserved to Olympians but an information was disseminated saying that the access is possible for press members). It is behind Casa Italia (Valentino castle) on the edges of Pô, in a rowing club. With the entry, one lets me know that it is necessary to be recommended by Olympian (unfortunately, I do not have anybody of Olympian in my relations!) to be accepted. I leave Visa, without forgetting to make a turn in Casa Italia (the window of the Italian Olympic Committee). A splendid place, where one finds the many sponsors of the Italian team. Everyone can go in.
Then, small passage by Omega, history to see whether there is no pins to get. Unfortunately, there is only one hostess for the distribution and I can have only one of them! Direction Piazza Solferino where I must find Edouard accompanied by his wife and his daughter. While waiting for it, I make the turn of the sponsors and finished by Press lounge of Coca-Cola (reserved to the press). I eat some cocktail snacks there by looking at the race of the women super giant.
One serves a hot dish to us (meat and potatoes). Very good. As soon as Carole Montillet finished her descent, I leave to join Edouard who arrived. We make again the turn of the sponsors. We finish by Coca-Cola where we find the collectors. I again accompany them towards Omega, then Medal Plaza and we separate after having recovered in a bank the new coin of 2€ issued by Italy at the time of the Games of Torino. I leave to join Gemma that I invited to come to see the free program of dance on ice in my company, not having succeeded in selling my places at an acceptable price. She is charmed by it. We are placed a little high in spite of the exhorbitant price of these places, but we see the whole of the track. The competition is splendid, we see the difference in difficulties as we approache best.
However, our criteria are not those of the judges and the notes appear sometimes quite unjust to us! But we are profane… After the competition, we are joined by Claude who could follow the competition only behind one curtain because not having a ticket. We will eat a dish of pastes at Gemma and Claude, like it is late, Gemma proposes to me to remain to sleep there. I accept readily.
Day 11 – 21 February
Departure early from Gemma and Claude house to join my apartment. With Philippe, we leave for Casa Italia where we must attend a press conference organized by the Italian newspaper Tuttosport. Former athletes are present: Livio Berutti gold medalist in 200m at Rome in 1960, Nino Defilippis old cyclist racing, Italo Zilioli old cyclist racing, Maurizio Damilano gold medalist in 20 kms walk at Moscow in 1980, bronze medalist at Los Angeles in 1984 and Seoul in 1988, Piero Gros gold medalist in slalom at Innsbruck in 1976 and Stephania Belmondo (cross country) gold medalist at Albertville in 1992 and Salt Lake City in 2002, silver medalist at Albertville in 1992, Nagano in 1998, and Salt Lake City in 2002, bronze medalist at Albertville in 1992, Lillehammer in 1994, Nagano in 1998 and Salt Lake City in 2002.After the press conference, a dresser is offered by Tuttosport in Casa Italia. Return to Torino Piemonte Media Center, I find Marc. We exchange our last information. Tomorrow, in forecast, meets with Olympic champions in the Visa center, I will be able to register and obtain a new accreditation!
Day 12 – 22 February
Departure at 10.30am, exceptionnally, I decide to go by car. The time to join the place where I must go is not better because I have some problems to find to park! I go to the Olympian Visa center where takes place a press conference in the presence of 2 former Olympic champions, Norwegian Bjorn Daehlie with 12 Olympic medals including 8 in gold and 4 in silver and the Austrian Franz Klammer gold medalist at Innsbruck 1976 and 2 gold medalists in luge at Torino, the brothers Andreas and Wolfgang Linger.
The Linger brothers have their gold medal with them, superb! Visa offers a lunch to us at the end of this meeting. Bob Farley, a philatelist and postcards collector, helps me in my pictures. We leave then together to research the house Korea, not many information except a file on Pyeongchang, city applicant for the organization of the Winter Games in 2014. Then we go to Holland house, in the South of Torino. Nice organization, very big, with a skating ring for its supporters, a model! We set out again then towards Sassonia house, another german house. I bring back Bob to his car left the morning close of Casa Italia.
Day 13 – 23 February
The routine today, visit to the Torino Media Center to consult my mails, passage by Omega to recover pins, then direction village of the sponsors. A small turn of the sponsors to try to recover some gadgets, passage by Press Lounge of Coca Cola, then by Coca-Cola trading center where I find some known or unknown collectors, among them of French. At the end of the evening, a French old women, in Albertville volunteers uniform, come with us. We discuss a little. She tell me that registered like volunteer from 2 years at Torino,she has not been found on the lists. Since, having paid her lodging, she walk in Torino. She already took part like volunteer in various Mediterranean Games and in 2004 in Athens. An American collector shows me the participant medal of Torino Games, it is very small, its presentation makes think of CD!
I set out again while passing by the Media Center before regaining the apartment.
Day 14 – 24 February
Magic day today, I go to the Olympic village for the first time since I go to the Games, thanks to Claude who obtained for me a daily pass from NOC France. I leave early, because it’s a big day. In spite of my fears and the presentation of my out-of-date passport (I made send it for the circumstance), all occurs without problem, and I can finally penetrate in the village. A little lost, not knowing where to go in spite of the plan that I have in the hands, I try to direct me. I find the centre shopping located in the international zone. A real small village with its post office, its florist, its hairdresser, its travel agency, its bank, its very small supermarket, its Olympic store (almost empty at the end of the Games!), its information and found objects, its Internet space, its billetery, its cafeteria and maybe others. In the corridors, medals of former mainly Italian Olympic champions are exposed, such as Alberto Tomba, Piero Gros, Stefania Belmondo, Deborah Compagnoni, etc.
I must leave quickly because I must attend the competition of bobsleigh at the end of the afternoon. While leaving I make a turning by the building where is located the Olympic museum and I meet there the director and his assistant who are present. I have confirmation which Lausanne Olympic fair will be in June at Pentecost. I move in another building, where is the restaurant of the volunteers and which carries out to the athlets buildings with the infrastructures which are reserved to them. In the entry I find well-known American collectors which established their seat on this strategic passage of the athletes and the delegations. I settle with them to make some exchanges. In this end of Games, there is no so many pins in circulation.
A little later, I see Claude and Gemma which comes to my meeting, we go lunch together in the volunteers restaurant. Then I can go with them to the France building, decorated by a flag to its colors. On the first floor logistics is, while higher the rooms of the athletes are located. I leave the village and join the station where I find Philippe. We go together to the bobsleigh. After 2h30 by train and buses we arrive on the venue. I must find Edouard who holds my ticket of entry. All is right. We move towards the arrival to be able to make some pictures. It snows, fortunately the lighting of the track is powerful. All the 1st sleeve, we pass it to the arrival, then with the interlude, we decide to go at the beginning, the only places interesting for really appreciating the spectacle.
The rise is long and tiring, but we are there to attend the 2nd descent of French team. We manage to slip to us on the platform, even if our tickets does not give us access to it. As soon as French starts their last course of the day, we start to go down, Edouard having to set out again the evening on Marseille. As it is not too late, I propose to Philippe to go last once in Sestriere. It always snows, and in the night, the mountain appears fantomatic. There is wind in Sestriere and the way appears long to the Club France where we end up arriving. We eat before taking again the way of the return without to have seen L. Arrived to 2am to Torino, the buses are rare and we must finish our way with foot under the rain which did not stop.
Day 15 – 25 February
Day of rest! I go to Vancouver House. A tail going on 100 m is already in place. I must do it! My turn arrives, unfortunately the shop is closed, completely devalized. I go to the Center Media just opposite. I find Marc there. I make the update of the site. I set out again at the end of the afternoon because we have appointment to eat a pizza pie with our Italian friends, Gemma and Claude. Then, like previous saturdays, it is the Olympic night, with many museums open to the public and free, as well as cultural exposures and free concerts a little everywhere in the city.
We join the owner of the apartment which we rent, coming from France for a few days of holidays. A great part of his family accompanies it. Many people in the street.
Day 16 – Closing Ceremony – 26 February
In hunting to recover the last gadgets, tomorrow, it will be too late. The Olympic store were emptied in the last days. We arrive in front of the Visa shop which had announced to distribute its last gadgets. There is already many people. The door opens, but badly organized, the members of staff, overflowed by the people, after having given somepackets, close again the door and give up the distribution!
After a stop at Omega to take a pin, we go in an other Visa shop and recover some postcards there. After, we go to the sponsors village, we make the last turn of thesponsors and collect what that can still be it. We go to the building of TOROC. Unfortunately, it is Sunday and there is not many people. We obtain some information. It is time to start to prepare the luggage for the return. Philippe must go to Closing ceremony. Here, it is finished, go in Beijing in 2008 for the summer Games! Just a thing, I seek a lodging, think to me!!