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11 Feb 2006
Olympic News

Michael Greis, First Gold Medallist in Turin

Germany’s Michael Greis has taken the very first gold medal of the XX Olympic Winter Games in Turin, winning the 20km biathlon in Cesana San Sicario. Aged 29, Michael Greis beat Norwegians Ole Einar Björndalen and Halvard Hannevold, Olympic champions in 2002 and 1998 respectively.
Three Other Golds up for Grabs
On this first official day of competitions in Turin, the finals of the women’s freestyle skiing moguls, individual Nordic combined, and the men’s 5000m speed skating are also being staged. The mixed figure skating competition also starts in Palavela today, Saturday 11 February.
84 Olympic Titles Available
The seven sports on the programme in Turin comprise 15 disciplines. In total, 84 Olympic titles will be awarded during these XX Olympic Winter Games.

Medal Design
The 2006 Games medal concept was worked upon by Ottaviani International and the TOROC graphic team, headed by Dario Quatrini. The medal is round with an empty space at the centre, representing the Italian piazza. The medal will be wrapped up in its ribbon, which, unlike in previous Games, will not be sewn to its top. The front of the medal will include the graphic elements of the Games, while the back of the medal will feature the pictogram of the sports discipline in which the medal was won. To highlight the three-dimensional characteristics of the medal, its surface has been carefully made using full and empty spaces, with shiny and satiny textures.

Italian History
Quatrini, who created the design for the medals, incorporated views, ideas and models from Italian history and its tradition of forms and manufacturing: rings, ancient coins and ornaments. The solution of the circle with the space at the centre links all the basic themes and motifs of the Turin Games and embodies the leitmotiv of Torino 2006 – the piazza. The medal is also round like the Olympic rings or a symbolic victory ring and, with its open space at its centre, it reveals the place where the heart beats, the symbol of life itself. The medal is only complete, however, when it is hanging geometrically from the athlete’s neck, lying on his chest, circling and revealing the area near his heart and focusing attention on the athlete’s vital energy and human emotions.
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