Originally created 09/23/05

IOC says Turin preparations nearly complete



TURIN, Italy - Preparations for the Turin Olympics are nearly complete, with workers putting the final touches on the main hockey arena and speedskating oval - the last two venues to be finished.

"Almost all the ingredients are now in place for Torino 2006 to offer the world great Olympic and Winter Games," Jean-Claude Killy, the IOC's coordination commission chairman, said Thursday after a two-day visit.

The IOC panel toured the city and mountain venues to assess readiness for the Feb. 10-26 games.

"With less than 50 days until the Olympic flame is lit, the IOC came here looking for progress," Killy said. "As construction reaches its final stages, we have been pleased to see that Torino's Olympic transformation is nearly complete."

One of the three Olympic villages, in the Alpine resort of Bardonecchia, has been completed. The other two - in Turin and Sestriere - are to be finished in November.

"The IOC will continue to worry until after the closing ceremony, just as we do at every Olympic Games," Killy said.

Hockey and speedskating test events are scheduled for November and December. The full IOC coordination commission will visit Turin for the last time Nov. 30 and Dec. 1. Smaller groups from the IOC will continue to make regular visits.

"When the IOC coordination commission returns, we are confident we will be able to show them that everything is in place," Turin organizing committee chief Valentino Castellani said.