ITALY HOSTS THE WINTER OLYMPICS FOR A SECOND TIME
Italy hosted the Winter Olympic Games in 2006 in the city of Turin. It was the second occasion for the Winter Games to be held in the country, with the first time in Cortina d’ Ampezzo in 1956.
Officially designated as the XX Olympic Winter Games, 84 medal events in 15 sports were contested in Turin over a 16-day schedule.
Germany emerged victorious in both the gold medal and overall medal tallies by capturing 11 gold and 29 total podium finishes. The U.S. made an impressive showing with second-place standings in both categories with nine golds and 25 total medals.
The following list includes brief information on the ten athletes that I consider to be the best at the Turin Games:
Ahn Hyun-Soo: Ahn dominated the men’s short-track speed skating in Turin. Competing for South Korea, he circled the track faster than everyone else to take individual golds in the 1000 and 1500 meters. His other gold was in the 5000-meter relay, and he added the bronze in the 500 meters. He is now a Russian citizen and competes under the name Viktor Ahn.
Michaela Dorfmeister: Dorfmeister was a top alpine skier for Austria from the late-’90s through most of the last decade. She earned two trips to the medal podium in Turin, with both of them being for gold-medal finishes. Her first Olympic title was in the Super-G and her second one was in the Downhill.
Felix Gottwald: A star for Austria in Nordic Combined, Gottwald covered the 7.5-kilometer sprint course better than anyone else for his first gold medal of the Turin Games. He also earned a relay gold, and completed his medal haul in Italy with the silver in the 15-kilometer individual race.
Michael Greis: Germany’s best in the biathlon last decade, Greis was a star at the Turin Games. His efforts there resulted in three gold medals. Two of his golds were for individual events-the 15-kilometer mass start and the 20-kilometer individual-with the final one being for his part in Germany’s winning 4×7.5-kilometer relay.
Jin Sun-Yu: Another of South Korea’s short-track speed skating stars, Jin bested the women in Turin for three golds. Her medal tally included victories in the 1000 and 1500-meter races, as well as for her part in South Korea’s first-place 3000-meter relay squad.
Kevin Kuske/Andre Lange: Kuske and Lange teamed up to help Germany reign supreme in the bobsleigh competition in Turin. They sped to gold in the two-man race and were also part of the victorious German team in the four-man event. Kuske and Lange paired up again four years later at the Vancouver Games to take the two-man bobsleigh title.
Benjamin Raich: Raich improved on the two bronze medals he won in alpine skiing at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games by earning a pair of Olympic golds in 2006. His gold-medal podium finishes were for victories in the Giant Slalom and the Slalom.
Kristina Smigun: Smigun became a hero back home in Estonia after winning a pair of cross-country skiing golds in Turin. Her gold medals were secured with victories in the 10.5-kilometer classical race and the 7.5+7.5 kilometer double pursuit event.
Armin Zoggeler: Arguably the best-ever competitor in the luge, Zoggeler won the Men’s Singles in his home country in 2006 to defend his Olympic title from the Salt Lake City Games. Zoggeler has medaled in the luge at five consecutive Olympics through the Vancouver Games, and his combined medal record at the World Championships and in the World Cup Championships is unequalled in the sport.
Patrick Hattman covered the London Games for the Yahoo! Contributor Network. He is already looking forward to the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.