Spectacular ceremony closes Games
The Torino Games ended with a spectacular closing ceremony in Torino
TORINO, Italy -- The Torino Olympics came to a spectacular end on Sunday with a closing ceremony in the form of a carnival celebration marking the finish of 17 days of action.
The two-and-a-half hour ceremony, twinning carnival with a circus theme, drew to a close a Games that Olympic chiefs hailed as a major success.
A roar shook the Stadio Olimpico when the last gold medal to be given was placed round the neck of Giorgio di Centa whose win in the 50km cross-country skiing produced a fairytale finale.
Thousands waved miniature Italian tricolore flags as his sister, Manuela presented the gold, hugging him tightly.
She won five medals at the 1994 Winter Games in Lillehammer.
"There were truly magnificent Games," International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge told a cheering crowd.
Only two medals were staged on the final day. After Di Centa's victory marked the end of the mountain events, Sweden clinched the last gold medal up for grabs in Turin itself by edging Finland 3-2 in the ice hockey final.
At a news conference earlier, Rogge praised measures taken to fight doping.
The Games were among the cleanest despite a week-long Austrian doping saga involving night-time raids, police and drugs testers.
After more than two weeks of competition, more than 800 urine tests and 362 blood samples were taken and only one athlete -- Russian biathlon silver medallist Olga Pyleva -- failed a drugs test and was expelled.
Di Centa's win gave Italy their fifth gold medal but it was Germany who topped the table with an impressive tally of 11 golds in a total haul of 29 medals.
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