The 20th Olympic Winter Games in Turin were the all-time most successful Games for Estonia, with Estonian athletes winning three gold medals and achieving a higher medal ranking than such winter sports bulwarks as Norway and Finland. Kristina Smigun opened her own as well as Estonian women skiers’ gold medal account in the 7.5+7.5 km pursuit on 12 February 2006 when she finished first after a stormy spurt ahead of Czech Katerina Neumannova . Four days later she snatched another gold medal in the 10 km classical race, easily fishing ahead of two strong Norwegians, Marit Bjørgen and Hilde G. Pedersen. By winning the two gold medals Kristina Smigun became the skiing queen of the Turin Games. Kristina Smigun, resident of the Estonian ski resort of Otepää, is 27 years old, and has always trained under her father Anatoli Smigun. Kristina’s first Olympic race was in Lillehammer in 1994 where her best achievement was the 27th place in the 10 km pursuit. Form the world championships in Val di Fiemme in 2003 she returned with one gold medal, two silver medals and one bronze medal. Kristina Smigun has been elected the best Estonian sportswoman of the year six times and she is the third Estonian woman athlete to have won two Olympic gold medals. On 17 February Andrus Veerpalu in Pragelato added the third gold medal to the Estonian medal account and a second one to his own, finishing first in the 15 km classical race of the Turin Olympic Winter Games. He had won his first Olympic gold medal four years before in Salt Lake City. Andrus Veerpalu became the second Estonian sportsman after wrestler Kristjan Palusalu to have been decorated with two Olympic gold medals. Andrus first raced in Olympic tracks in Albertville in 1992 when the 21st place in the 10 km classical race remained his best achievement. He won the first world title for Estonian skiing on 19 February 2001 at Lahti, where in a strenuous 30 km classical race he beat Norway’s Frode Estil by 0.2 seconds, leaving him with silver. Veerpalu lives in Otepää and trains under Mati Alaver, he has been elected the best Estonian sportsman of the year for three times. To mark the achievements in Turin, Eesti Post will issue a postage stamp featuring Kristina Smigun as well as a souvenir sheet devoted to the two double Olympic gold medal winners.
Technical DetailsIssue Date: 30.03.2006
Designer: Lembit Lõhmus
Printer: AS Vaba Maa
Colours: 4 Colours
Size: 69 x 24.5 mm, 96 x 42 mm