Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Goodbye Torino!

The Games have come to an end. Athletes, spectators and journalists have left Torino. Some are disappointed, but most I think are happy about their Olympic experience. Now we are all looking forward to Beijing and Vancouver. I hope to be there, and I hope to meet some of you there! I say goodbye with this photo of Neve at the biathlon venue, waving goodbye to all of us.


This ever smiling Trenitalia-guide at the Lingotto Station is a good representative of all the volunteers and guides that made our stay in Torino a (mostly) pleasant experience. On our last evening in Torino she wanted to trade a pin with me, and I traded a pin for a smile and a photo ...

Egyptian Museum

Torino has other things than Olympic Games worth seeing. Jeroen and I visited the famous Egyptian Museum during one of our days in Torino. It was a musem well worth visiting, even though most of the items on display should have been in Egypt - not in Torino.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Goodbye, Oval Lingotto?

Tonight the last speed skating event of these Games was held, and Oval Lingotto has probably been used as a speed skating venue for the last time. The structure will be used for fairs and exhibitions, but according to the Official Torino 2006 website the possibility to use the ice rink will be maintained, so we can only hope that speed skating events may be hosted at this venue in the future!

At least we can say that "Passion lived here" for two glorious weeks in February 2006!

Clara Hughes - from cycling to speed skating

In the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta Clara Hughes won two bronze medals in cycling (road race and time trial). In 2000 she took up speed skating. She qualified for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City and won a surprising bronze medal on the 5000 m, becoming the second speed skater wo win medals in both the Summer and Winter Olympics. Tonight the she dethroned german Claudia Pechstein from the Olympic 5000 m podium. Pechstein has won three consecutive titles, but head-to-head to Hughes she lost her fourth title by 1.01 second.

This photo is taken after the Team Pursuit event, where Hughes skated on the Canadian team that lost the final to Germany. Tonight Hughes got her revenge!

Korea again ...

Korea won their 5th and 6th short track gold medals tonight. Two of the team members on the men's relay team - Hyun-Soo Ahn (to the left) and Ho-Suk Lee - won gold and silver on the men's 1500 m the evening we were at the Palavela. Ahn also won the 1000 m and a bronze on the 500 m, and he added a third gold medal to his collection when he outsprinted Canada on the last lap of the relay tonight.

Absolute Sweden

These Olympic Winter Games have been the best Winter Games ever for Sweden. Today Anna Carin Olofsson became the first Olympic Champion in Women's 12.5 km Mass Start biathlon event, and won Sweden's sixth gold in these Games.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Two worthy Olympic champions today

The Norwegian failures continue. We were hoping for medals in the womens 30 km cross-country skiing and in the mens 10000 m speed skating today. But we ended up with 4th places again ...

In the absence of Norwegian success, it was nice to see two worthy and deserved Olympic champions in these events. 33 year old Katerina Neumannova, five times Olympic medallist, won her first Olympic title in the 30 km mass start today. 29 years old Bob de Jong, who got a silver in Nagano 8 years ago, but failed miserably in Salt Lake City 4 years later, won the 10000 m.

The first photo shows Katerina Neumannova (to the right) in the sprint with Kristina Smigun in the pursuit event the first Sunday of the Games. Neumannova lost the sprint to Kristina Smigun, and won her fourth Olympic silver medal.

Bob de Jong on his way to a 6th place on the 5000 m.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

From expectations to explanations

The Norwegian team disappointed again on todays 4 x 6 km biathlon relay, and once again team members of a Norwegian relay team had to do a lot of explanations to the media. This has become a common habbit the last week, as all our relay teams has disappointed, all of them being among the favorites and only placing 5th.

On the 15 km we had seats just behind the mixed zone, where TV and other media can interview the athletes, so we could easily see who was being interviewed. On this picture Liv-Grete Poiree is explaining her misses to Dag Erik Pedersen, NRK (Norwegian Broadcasting).

Perfect shooting

The Russian womens biathlon team did an almost flawless 4 x 6 km relay today. With only 2 misses in their 40 shots for the Russians, their victory was never threatened. Germany finished 2nd, 50 seconds behind.

This photo shows Svetlana Ishmouratova on her way to an individual gold on the 15 km last week. Today she won her second gold in these Olympic Games.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Chaotic relays

The most amazing thing with short track speed skating is the relays. It seems so chaotic, which these photos may give an impression of, but still the skaters seem to have some kind of control and most of the exchanges seem to go without problems. How they manage I will never know ...

We got to see the womens relay semifinals on our second evening in Torino. The finals were skated tonight, and - of course - the Koreans won again. They have won 4 golds in these Games, all of them in short track speed skating.

Canada strikes again!

This has been Canada's day in Torino. Chandra Crawford won the womens cross-country sprint in Pragelato. At Oval Lingotto in Torino Cindy Klassen and Kristina Groves won gold and silver on the 1500 m. For the former ice hockey player, field lacrosse player and inline speed skater, this was her first Olympic gold medal, and her fourth medal in these Olympic Games (silver on 1000 m and Team Pursuit, bronze on 3000 m).

This image was taken at the Team Pursuit event last week and shows both the Canadian medal winners skating together (Klassen to the left, Groves to the right) on the Canadian team.

New gold for Sweden

Sweden had not won a gold medal in Olympic Winter Games since 1994. So far in these Games they have won 3 gold medals, all of them in the sprint events in cross-country skiing. Björn Lind was on the winning team in the mens team sprint, and today he won the individual sprint ahead of the French surprise - Roddy Darragon.

This picture I took during the mens team sprint. Lind is chasing Norwegian Tor Arne Hetland and Russian Vassilij Rotchev on the finishing straight. When they crossed the finishing line, Lind was ahead of both.

Canadian surprise!

The Norwegian cross-country skiers disappointed again during todays sprint event. Marit Bjørgen is totally out of shape, and the Norwegian men failed one by one, and no Norwegians in any of the finals.

But the Canadian women have peaked during these Olympics. Beckie Scott and Sara Renner won a silver medal in the team sprint (see image below), and today we had two Canadians in the womens final. Beckie Scott placed 4th, and we got a surprise winner - 22 year old Chandra Crawford from Canmore.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

King of Nordic Combined

Felix Gottwald, the Austrian nordic combined athlete, won three bronze medals in Salt Lake City 2002. In Torino he won silver in the opening Gundersen event before winning gold in the team event together with his team mates. Today he crossed the finishing line as Olympic Champion in the nordic combined sprint event.

This picture is from the ski jumping part of the team event. The event was canceled and rescheduled after the first round of the ski jumping competition, so we never got to see the Austrian team winning this event.

Fabris - my man!

Enrico Fabris, winner of todays 1500 m, is my man! I really hoped he would beat both Davis and Hedrick today.

They are both great athletes, and I watched them and cheered them both when they won last years World Allround Championships, but the ongoing arguments and discussions the last week have proved that they are both selfish athletes with only two thoughts on their mind: Me and I. At least Shani Davis showed he was happy about winning silver, and congratulating Fabris with his title. The way Hedrick showed he was not happy about his 6th place on the 1000 m and a bronze on the 1500 m - well that's the kind of expressions I hate to see in sports events at this level.

That's why I like Enrico Fabris. He is more modest. He cheered for his 5000 m bronze medal like he had won the gold, and he would probably have been happy about one bronze medal when the Games ended, even without the two gold medals he has earned himself afterwards.

The picture is taken after Italy won the Team Pursuit.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Right To Play

On my last day in Torino I visited the Right To Play exhibition in Torino, and I will just take this opportunity to ask everybody reading this blog to support their work: http://www.righttoplay.com/

Italian team success

Today the Italian team won the mens cross-country skiing relay, just like they did at Lillehammer 12 years ago. Thursday the Italian team also won the speed skating team event - the first ever Olympic team pursuit in speed skating. One by one they eliminated the other favorites - USA in the quarters, the Netherlands in the semis and finally Canada in the final. I don't think I ever saw happier guys on a speed skating rink.

Happy Italian speed skaters: Stefano Donagrandi (did not skate the final), Matteo Anesi, Enrico Fabresi and Ippolito Sanfratello.

The Olympic Flame

Our best opportunity to see the Olympic Flame would be on our way to the hockey game the last evening of our stay in Torino. But on our way from Oval Lingotto to Palasport Olimpico we were so busy setting a new Olympic Record in venue-to-venue racing, we didn't even see it! And when we got out of the venue we were quite puzzled ... How could we have missed this on our way in??

Cheering for Dutchmen and Norwegians

Sunday I wore my Dutch cap to support the Dutch shorttrackers in the evening.


I had several disappointments during my days in Torino, but the biggest disappointment I got when I realized the Norwegian team would not take part in the nordic combined team event. Jeroen took this picture while I was putting away my Norwegian flag.