On the spot

 Stefano Lo Russo

Mayor, City of Torino, Italy

The World Union of Olympic Cities and its Members are really pleased to welcome Torino, host of the 2006 Winter Olympic Games, as a new Member of the association. What do you expect from this membership? 

Being part of the Union is a remarkable privilege for Torino, an acknowledgement of the very strong link that our city has with sport, its values and the great events that represent it. 

Having the opportunity to interact and exchange views with many other players that have experienced the Olympic competition will certainly be an enriching opportunity and an occasion to implement and enhance new projects and new perspectives. 

The Games in 2006 allowed for a change in the perception of the industrial north of Italy and brought new attractiveness in terms of leisure and tourism to the City. How has Torino built upon the Games to intensify the transformation of the City? 

Torino went through the Games’ experience with a fundamental baggage of Olympic know-how and aware of the importance of an international approach. The 2006 Games certainly allowed Torino to relaunch itself as a tourist destination, but they also handed over a legacy of awareness that our city could be the stage for major events, able to organise and host important events. 

Without the 2006 Olympics, today’s Torino would be deeply different, and many of the major events that have contributed to the city’s growth would not have been organised. 

Torino 2006 changed the perception of Italy’s industrial north, but, in a certain way, it also helped the city perceive itself in a radically new light, to reassert one of its vocations. 

How is sport integrated in Torino’s policy as a tool for education, social inclusion, tourism, economic development? 

Sport is a very important asset in our policies, at all levels and in all aspects: besides being a fundamental driver of wellbeing, sociality, individual and collective growth, it is a great social catalyst. Moreover, sport plays a fundamental role in the education and training of young people in particular. 

Our Administration has also chosen to strongly focus on major sporting events, whose presence actively contributes to the development of the city, with positive impact on the tourism, hospitality and trade sectors: the Champions League Volleyball Finals, the Basketball Final Four, the Tour de France 2024 or the ATP Finals are just a few examples. 

Torino will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the 2006 Games during the Milan Cortina 2026 Winter Games. Do you plan any synergies between past and future Games to commemorate your edition of the Games and activate Torino’s Olympic legacy? 

The 20th anniversary will be a time of celebration for the City, an occasion to remember a fundamental event in its development process. I believe that the fact that it will be celebrated in the same period as the Olympic Games in Milan-Cortina is, from a symbolic point of view, a happy coincidence. 

It is an opportunity to reaffirm the importance of collaboration, synergy and support between Olympic cities: I believe it can be an occasion to share the very important Olympic legacy of 2006, to hand over the Torch. 

As the first Italian Olympic City to join the Union, what would you like to share with the Union’s Members both in terms of legacy activation initiatives and challenges to keep the Olympic flame alive? 

Being the first Italian Olympic City in the Union is definitely a source of great pride, but at the same time, a responsibility: we have the opportunity to be a benchmark for other cities in our country. 

Torino will contribute with its experience, together with the desire to continue on the road that we have undertaken by taking up the legacy of the Games: a road that is leading us to be increasingly aware of the potential and the great expertise of our City.