Last night, the 2006 Olympic Games of Torino began with IOC President Jacques Rogge delivering a message for "peace, tolerance and brotherhood." The ceremony included disco music and a song from Luciano Pavarotti. The Olympic flame was lit by Stefania Belmondo, a two-time gold medal winner in cross-country, while the torch was carried into the stadium by legendary Italian skier Alberto Tomba.
Several athletes have already been suspended for five days for having high hemoglobin levels in their blood. Zach Lund, America's best skeleton racer was suspended for a year for testing positive for Propecia, which he has used for six years. The substance is banned because it can be a masking agent for steroids.
Michelle Kwan, an elder statesman of women's figure skating, left her practice 15 minutes early today citing tightness in her previously injured groin. Kwan did not rule out dropping out of the games entirely. Doing so would mean that Emily Hughes, who placed third at nationals but was bumped so Kwan could be on the team, would get a chance to compete.
Only a few hours into competition, the first medals have already been won. The first gold medal of the games went to German Michael Greis in the Men's 20 km Individual biathlon. The biathlon combines cross country skiing with rifle shooting. Later today, medals will also be awarded in freestyle skiing, the nordic combined, and speed skating.
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