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Protest mars Turin Olympic finale
Updated: 2006-02-27 10:36

TURIN (AFP) - The colourful closing ceremony of the 20th Winter Olympics was marred when a protestor rushed the platform during the finishing speeches.

Protest mars Turin Olympic finale
A protester is restrained during the speech by TOROC President Valentino Castellani during the closing ceremony at the Torino 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Turin, Italy February 26, 2006. [Reuters]
The intruder ran onto the stage when the president of the organising committee Valentino Castellani was making his closing remarks.

The man, with the logo of a on-line gambling website on his black T-shirt, grabbed a microphone and screamed in English: "The Passion" before being hauled away by security staff.

The lapse cast a shadow over the remainder of the glittering night of partying which celebrated Italian carnival, cinema and circus and ended 17 days of competition on snow and ice.

Castellani continued with his speech before handing over to International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Jacques Rogge who officially declared the Games closed.

"According to tradition I proclaim the Games closed and I call on the youth of the world to assemble in four years in Vancouver to celebrate the 21st Winter Games," said Rogge.

The IOC president handed over the Olympic flag to Vancouver's quadriplegic mayor Sam Sullivan who used a specially-modified electric wheelchair to unfurl the banner.

In his closing speech, the IOC president hailed the Games and told the city: "Well done and thank you! You have succeeded brillantly in meeting your challenge.

"These Games have been held in the spirit of the Olympic Truce with the peace and harmony we all desire."

And in a veiled reference to the doping controversies that have surrounded the Games, Rogge said: "Athletes it is to protect you that the International Olympic Committee fights untiringly against doping. I promise that we shall continue to fight for a pure and healthy sport."

Italian Olympic skiing star Isolde Kostner extinguished the flame which had burned brightly over the city as fireworks lit up the sky and the Olympic stadium.

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