The Torino Olympic Torch Relay started from Rome on December 8, 2005. More than ten thousand torchbearers will have carried the Olympic Spirit around Italy by February 10, 2006 when the Flame arrives at its final destination at the Opening Ceremony of the Torino 2006 XX Olympic Winter Games. Speculation is mounting about who will light the Olympic Flame in Torino. Some of the main contenders include Alberto Tomba, three-time Olympic Champion and two-time silver medalist, Stefania Belmondo, two-time Olympic Champion and a winner of ten Olympic medals, and Manuela di Centa, two-time Olympic Champion and seven-time Olympic medalist.
At the Winter Games, the Olympic flame was lit for the first time in the VI Olympic Winter Games in Oslo in 1952. In the 14 Olympic Winter Games that have celebrated the Olympic flame, only two representatives of FIS disciplines have had the honor of lighting the Olympic cauldron. This happened both times in Innsbruck, Austria, where in 1964 Joseph Rieder, three-time FIS Alpine World Ski Championship medalist, and in 1976, when Christl Haas, World Champion in downhill and Olympic Champion in Innsbruck in 1964, had this esteemed privilege.