Date: 10-26 February 2006
NOCs (Nations): 80
Athletes: 2,508 athletes (960 women, 1,548 men)
A record 2,508 athletes from 80 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) competed at the Turin Winter Games, and 26 NOCs took home medals, another record.
Austrians dominated Alpine skiing, gaining 14 of the 30 medals awarded. South Korea displayed equal success in short-track speed skating (gaining 10 medals of the 24 awarded). On the women's side, Sun-Yu Jin earned three gold medals, and for the men Hyun-Soo Ahn won three golds and one bronze. The other triple-gold winner was Michael Greis in biathlon. Cindy Klassen earned medals in five of the six women’s speed skating events. Another speed skater, Claudia Peschstein, won a gold and a silver to become the first athlete in her sport to earn nine career medals. With his victory in the Super G, Kjetil Andre Aamodt became the first Alpine skier to earn four medals in the same event and the first to win four gold medals in total. At the age of 39, skeleton specialist Duff Gibson became the oldest athlete in the history of the Olympic Winter Games to win a gold medal in an individual event. Andre Lange drove to victory in the two-man bobsleigh and then defended his Olympic championship in the four-man event. During the cross-country skiing team sprint, Sara Renner of Canada broke one of her poles. Norwegian head coach Bjornar Hakensmoen, seeing her struggle, gave her one of his (albeit 12 cm too long). This allowed Renner to help her team win silver medals, and dropped Norway out of the medals. Bjornar Hakensmoen's display of fair play clearly demonstrates true sportsmanship.
China won 11 medals with two golds, four silvers and five bronzes, recording its best ever results since its debut at the Winter Olympics in 1980 and ranking 14th in the medals tally. Although the number of gold medals equalled those won at the last Games in 2002, China, considered strong only on ice, made a great breakthrough in the snow events by clinching one gold and one silver in the men's and women's freestyle skiing aerials respectively. 22-year-old Han Xiaopeng, with no previous international title, took the gold in the men's event, while Li Nina, the reigning world champion and world cup leader, won the silver in the women's event. The gold medal in the men's aerials is not only the first gold in snow events for China, but also the first gold from Chinese male athletes at the Winter Games. It strengthens the confidence of all Chinese athletes who are striving for better performance on snow.
A total of 76 Chinese athletes, 36 male and 40 female, competed in 48 events of nine disciplines at Turin 2006, namely short-track speed skating, figure skating, speed skating, freestyle skiing, cross-country skiing, Alpine skiing, ski jumping, snowboard and biathlon. With an average age of 23.05, China sent a relatively young team to Turin. Nearly a third of the members were making their Olympic debut. Among them, 20-year-old short-track speed skater Wang Meng pocketed the most medals in the delegation by winning one medal in each colour.
Chinese Medallists at Turin 2006:
Women's 500m short-track speed skating: Wang Meng
Men's freestyle skiing aerials: Han Xiaopeng
Figure skating pairs: Zhang Dan/Zhang Hao
Women's 500m speed skating: Wang Manli
Women's freestyle skiing aerials: Li Nina
Women's 1000m short-track speed skating: Wang Meng
Men's 1500m short-track speed skating: Li Jiajun
Figure skating pairs: Shen Xue/Zhao Hongbo
Women's 500m speed skating: Ren Hui
Women's 1500m short-track speed skating: Wang Meng
Women's 1000m short-track speed skating: Yang Yang (A)