Though New York City might have lost the bid for the 2012 Olympics, there’s no denying that there’s still an Olympic atmosphere. This February it’s finally Winter Olympics time again, which means everything from toboggans to torches to trophies. Only every four years does this event come around, and though some might wish it comes more often, four years is about as long as it takes to brace yourself for the whirlwind that is the Olympics.
This year’s event is being held in Torino, Italy. Slightly removed from the bustling cities and gondolas of Venice, Torino rests nestled in the mountainside, providing excellent courses to ski and beautiful scenery too. The Olympics took months and months to prepare for, and at the start of February, all that hard work began to pay off.
On February 1, the three Olympic Villages opened in Torino,situated in the area of Lingotto. They will play host to over 2,500 people, including athletes, technicians and everyone else involved in the winter games.
The town was constructed specifically for the Olympics by Benedetto Vaverana and Giorgio Rosental. The pair put together the Village using bio-architecture principles, including the use of clean energy, district heating networks, and environment- friendly ventilation systems. The town has medical services, gyms, restaurants, and reception areas for athletes and their staff. When the games are over, it will serve as a relic of the year the Olympics was held in all its glory at that very spot.
The traditional passage of the Olympic Flame began on Feb 3. The relay started in Greece, and the flame ws passed from country to country, person to person until it arrived in Torino. On Friday, February 16th, the flame is curried through the town to the Opening Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium.
The Opening Ceremony features a few things besides that famous torch, though. With two billion people watching, the ceremony involves choregraphy, directors, costumes, and skating exhibitions called “Sparks of Passion.” In Sparks of Passion, eight hockey athletes race into the Stadio Olimpico, and generate two meters of red flames. A ceremony of this magnitude takes much preparation, including 15,000 days of work, 500 pairs of iceskates, 100,000 meals, 32 television cameras, 240 professional event planners, and 6,100 volunteers. The closing ceremonies, February 26th, are the culmination of the entire event; they close the Olympics much in the same fashion as they were opened.
The event may be halfway across the world, but you still feel like its right here in New York City. All trials are televised, and all scores, pictures, and major blowups are published as front page news. Maybe New York getting denied the Olympics was a blessing in disguise. When you look at all the things Torino had to go through, it makes you very happy to be sitting in your living room and watching the games as if you were there – without all the traffic.