The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has officially invited competitors to take part in next year's Winter Games in Turin, Italy, exactly one year before the Opening Ceremonies.
IOC President Jacques Rogge marked the 365-day countdown by signing personal invitations for five of the world's 202 Olympic Committees to attend the Games in northwestern Italy.
Invitations to other national Olympic Committees will be sent out from IOC headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland. The IOC expects a record 80 nations to take part in the 20th Winter Games, which get underway February 10, 2006.
Earlier, officials unveiled the city's countdown clock, which will tick off the days, hours, minutes and seconds until the opening ceremonies. Italian organizers also repeated their assertion that there is no danger of a television strike derailing the games. Wednesday, the men's giant slalom event at the world championships in Bormio had to be canceled because TV workers walked off the job.
Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP