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Original Issue

The Cloud of Turin

With a year to go, the '06 hosts face some Athens-like challenges

No one is predicting disaster. Nearly all the venues are built. Still, the 2006 Turin Olympics, scheduled for Feb. 10--26, have encountered a range of problems that evoke memories of Athens. While it conducts investigations into construction bribery on some Olympic-related projects, the Italian government has vowed to cover a budget shortfall projected at almost $200 million. A high-speed rail line from Turin to the mountains, where many events will be held, won't be ready. Accommodations are still scarce in places. A test event for the sliding sports--luge, skeleton and bobsled--was halted last month when officials deemed the new track too dangerous. Construction on the speed skating oval was halted to remove asbestos, and an unexploded World War II device stopped work on the hockey rink. Then again, since labor strife could keep NHL players away from Turin, the hockey tournament may bomb anyway.