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Turin wins 2006 Olympics, Sion disappointed

The International Olympic Committee named Turin host city for the 2006 Winter Olympics, causing shock and major disappointment in the Swiss town of Sion, which again lost its bid for the games.

This content was published on June 19, 1999 - 11:51

The International Olympic Committee named Turin host city for the 2006 Winter Olympics, causing shock and major disappointment in the Swiss town of Sion, which again lost its bid for the games.

"I am very disappointed," said Swiss Sports Minister Adolf Ogi, who had also served as president of Sion's organising committee. "I feel sorry for all the people who have worked for years and contributed so much to Sion's Olympic efforts."

"We now have to find a new challenge and a new vision," Ogi said minutes after Saturday's decision.

Ogi had been one of the most outspoken supporters for the Swiss bid, underlining Switzerland's first-rate winter sports facilities and vast experience in organising international events.

Organisers, supporters and thousands of people who had been partying in Sion in anticipation of the decision fell silent as Juan Antonio Samaranch, President of the IOC, announced the winner.

The result marked the third defeat for Sion, which failed in previous bids for the 1976 and 2002 Winter Games. The last time Switzerland staged the Olympics was in 1948 in St. Moritz.

Turin, making its first bid, will bring the Winter Olympics to Italy for the first time since the 1956 games in Cortina D' Ampezzo.

Helsinki in Finland, the Austrian town of Klagenfurt, Slovakia's Poprad-Tatry and Zakopane in Poland had also competed for the 2006 games.

Thousands of people had been partying in a central square of Sion, convinced that this time round the alpine town would walk away with sport's biggest prize.

"I can't believe they didn't pick Sion," said one woman, who had stayed up all night celebrating. "This is Sion's third try and Turin's first. They could have got it the next time."

While the IOC decision against Switzerland caused shock and consternation, sports reporters and commentators were trying to find an explanation for the IOC's 53 to 36 vote against Sion.

One explanation offered was that Sion had suffered a backlash against IOC member Marc Hodler, a veteran Swiss sports administrator who had been very critical of the Olympic body in connection with the bribery allegations over Salt Lake City's nomination as host city for the games in 2002.

Hodler alleged at the time that there was widespread corruption in the selection of Olympic cities.

"I think the so-called 'Hodler factor' played a very big role in this defeat," said Sion organising committee member Raymond Loretan.

"The delegates could not distinguish between our bid and what had happened in the IOC. They wanted to punish Switzerland and they did," he added.

Other commentators said that the decision against Sion was further indication of Switzerland's international isolation. Switzerland is not a member of the European Union, the United Nations or NATO.












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