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27 Feb 2006
IOC News

TORINO 2006: Giving Rather Than Receiving

During the Olympic Games, a massive party has taken place every evening in the centre of Turin at Piazza Castello – at the Medals Plaza. Every night of the Games, except the evenings of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, there was a medal presentation followed by a concert from a well known Italian or international act. For the athletes, this moment is often the highest point in their athletic career but little is really known about what is it like for the IOC members who present the medals to the athletes. spoke to IOC members Irena Szewinska and Sergey Bubka about what it meant to them to present a medal to an Olympic champion.
Special Feeling
IOC member and multiple medallist over five Olympic Games, Irena Szewinska of Poland, knows what it is like to receive an Olympic medal, but how did she feel about giving one here in Turin? Commenting on this experience, she said, “It is a special feeling because I was also an Olympic medallist and I know how important it is for an athlete to be decorated - how it is a great moment. So, for me, it is a great pleasure to give the athletes their medals.”
A Big Honour
As an Olympic gold medallist, current IOC Executive Board member and Chairman of the IOC’s Athletes’ Commission Sergey Bubka, from the Ukraine, knows a lot about how the athletes experience the Olympic Games. Commenting on presenting a medal, he was able to further appreciate the experience and he said, “I think it’s special because I have been on the other side, when I received a medal, and now, I have the opportunity to award the medals to the champions and I think it’s a big honour for me to congratulate them.”
Medals Plaza
The Medals Plaza for the XX Olympic Winter Games – Torino 2006 is situated at the centre of Piazza Castello in the heart of Turin. Fifty-five out of 84 medal ceremonies have taken place there over the course of the Games, with 24 medals being presented on the same day as the competition. An average of 8,500 spectators attended each night and were treated to a great evening’s entertainment. The shows began with the “Sparks of Passion” gliding around Medals Plaza, followed by a Kabuki spectacle. Then the medal ceremonies and finally, a concert, which featured the likes of Andrea Bocelli, Lou Reed, Ricky Martin and Avril Lavigne. The last presentation at the Medals Plaza was held on the 25 February 2006.

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