TORINO 2006: The Paralympic Flame Is Lit In Rome
The Paralympic flame has been lit under the Arch of Constantine, in the Coliseum in Rome, Italy. The flame was ignited at the coming together of three symbolic figures: a winner at the Rome 1960 Paralympic Games, a current athlete with a disability and a young person with a disability. From the lighting in Rome, the flame was transmitted by satellite to Turin, where the Mayor of Turin, Sergio Chiamparino, received it at the Piazza della Repubblica. From there, the flame was carried along the Via Milano to the Town Hall by the first four torchbearers. The flame will burn at the Town Hall - except for two days on Monte Rosa - until 8 March, when it will begin its journey through the city.
The Paralympic Torch Relay Route
In the days before the Opening Ceremony of the Paralympic Games, on 5 and 6 March, the Paralympic flame will pass through the landscape of the Vercelli Mountains: Capanna Margherita, at 4,554 metres altitude, on Monte Rosa. The route, organised together with local groups and authorities, will include a parade through the streets of Alagna by a group of athletes with a disability. Then a relay of athletes with a disability will leave with the Alpine Guides of Alagna for Pianalunga, to continue towards Passo Salati. The next day, the torchbearers will follow the trail for about an hour and then they will be taken by helicopter to Colle Gnifetti, reaching in a single group, the Capanna Margherita refuge. The flame will burn on the peak, and the athletes will donate a symbolic book to the highest library in Europe, situated in the refuge. At the end of the celebrations, the guides will ski the torch back down to the valley. On March 8, the torch will begin its journey through the city of Turin, being carried by 150 torchbearers before arriving in the Olympic Stadium for the Opening Ceremony of the Paralympic Games.
The Paralympic Games And The Olympic Movement
The Paralympic Games have always been held in the same year as the Olympic Games. Since the 1988 Seoul Summer Games and the 1992 Albertville Winter Games, they have also taken place at the same venues as the Olympic Games. On 19 June 2001, an agreement was signed between the IOC and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) aiming to secure the organisation of the Paralympic Games. The agreement reaffirmed that the Paralympic Games, from 2008 on, will always take place shortly after the Olympic Games, using the same sporting venues and facilities.
The Torino 2006 Paralympic Games
The Italian city of Turin will host the 2006 Paralympic Winter Games from 10-19 March 2006. Approximately 535 athletes from about 39 countries are expected to participate in these Games. A new sport will be making its debut in Turin: wheelchair curling, bringing the total number of sports to be contested to four: Alpine skiing, ice sledge hockey, Nordic skiing and wheelchair curling.