Olympic Villages Open in Turin
Jan. 31, 2006
TURIN, Italy (AP) _ The three Olympic villages that will house some 5,000 athletes and officials during the Winter Games opened Tuesday, 10 days before the Turin Games opening ceremony.
IOC member Manuela Di Centa, a former Olympic cross-country skiing champion, cut the red ribbon for the main village at a ceremony in Turin. Di Centa will serve as mayor of the complex.
About 100 people, mostly Olympic volunteers and reporters, attended the ceremony, which came hours before the first group of athletes were expected to begin arriving.
The Turin complex, spread over about 107,000 square feet, is the largest of the villages for the Feb. 10-26 games.
Its 39 buildings, painted the colors of the Olympic rings, were built over the past two years around a former central market and will host about 2,500 people. The village also has shops, restaurants, gyms and medical services.
A village in the Alpine town of Bardonecchia will host about 700 people involved in biathlon, snowboard and freestyle skiing. Another village in Sestriere has space for 2,000 athletes taking part in Alpine skiing events.
The Turin village appeared ready for its guests Tuesday, but just outside the gates workers were still drilling into the street _ a last-minute rush to finish many of the urban projects planned for the Olympics.
Also in the final phases of construction is a pedestrian bridge held up by a red arch that links the athletes village to the rest of the city and is considered by some the Olympics' most lasting symbol. The bridge is scheduled to open Feb. 4.