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17 Feb 2006
Olympic News

Newcomers to the Games

Whilst some of the 80 nations competing in Turin can boast participation at the Olympic Winter Games since the first in Chamonix in 1924, others are celebrating their first participation at a Winter Games.
Sport and awareness
The Indian Ocean island country of Madagascar had never sent an athlete to an Olympic Winter Games until today. Brothers Mathieu and Phillippe Razanakolona made it their goal to be the first. The brothers who are Canadian-Madagascan not only wanted to get an athlete in the Games, which Mathieu managed to do by qualifying for the men’s Giant Slalom and men’s Slalom events, but they also want to raise awareness and funds for development projects in Madagascar. Mathieu will race in the Giant Slalom on 20 February and the Slalom on 25 February.
From Lake Placid to Turin
Ethiopian born Robel Teklemarian only discovered winter sports when he attended boarding school near Lake Placid, the site of the 1980 Olympic Winter Games. Today, he becomes the first Ethiopian to compete at the Olympic Winter Games. The 31 year-old raced in this morning’s Cross Country Skiing 15 km men’s classical event. He finished the race in 84th place with a time of 47:53. 
First flag bearer
Albanian athlete Erjon Tola proudly carried his country’s flag at the Opening Ceremony of the Torino 2006 Winter Games representing their first participation at the Winter Games. The 19-year-old Italy based skier will compete in the men’s Super-G, the men’s Giant Slalom and the men’s Slalom.
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