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Olympic Games

XVIII (18th) WINTER GAMES
NAGANO, JAPAN | February 7th - 22nd, 1998


Nagano, JPN


Nagano 1998

NAGANO, JAPAN
XVIIIth WINTER GAMES

February 7 - 22, 1998

Mascot - Snowlets

72 countries, 2302 athletes (814 women)

7 sports, 68 events

Opening - Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko

Torch lit by - Midori Ito (figure skating)

Candidates: Jaca (ESP), Ostersund (SWE), Salt Lake City, Val d'Aosta (ITA)

15 June 1991 - 97th IOC Session in Birmingham, UK - Nagano was elected to be the host of the XXVIIIth Olympic Winter Games in 1998.

Round

1

2

3

4

5

Nagano

21

 

30

36

46

Jaca

19

 

5

 

 

Ostersund

18

 

25

23

 

Aosta

15

29

 

 

 

Salt Lake City

15

59

27

29

42

The East met West in February 1998 as Nagano, Japan played host to 72 nations - 10 of which competed for the first time in an Olympic Winter Games - and regions participating in the final Olympic Games of the 20th century.

The country's raw enthusiasm for the games persisted despite a pummeling of snow, rain and more snow and finally even an earthquake which delayed several of the games alpine events. Perhaps the defining event of these games, the strange meteorology of the past two weeks bedeviled organizers and beleaguered athletes, forcing cancellations, reschedulings and general befuddlement all around.

And the people came - 1,358,207 of them at competitions and victory ceremonies by Sunday afternoon. Local Olympic organizers expected the total at competitions alone to reach 1,270,000 when everything from Sunday is counted.

The ice hockey tournament was a source of inspirational team efforts. The U.S. women's ice hockey team defeated nemesis Canada 3-1 in the final to capture the sport's first gold medal. In the men's competition, the Czech Republic team, which featured the least amount of professional players of any final-round team, shocked Canada with a legendary 2-1 shootout victory in the semifinals and held off the mighty Russians 1-0 in the final to win gold.

Nordic skier Bjorn Dahlie won four medals and became the winningest Winter Olympic athlete ever, leaving Nagano with a career total of 12 medals, including eight gold.

U.S. figure skater Tara Lipinski became the youngest woman ever to win her event. The 15-year-old held off Michelle Kwan's near-perfect challenge for the honor. Russian Ilia Kulik upset favorites Todd Eldridge and Elvis Stojko to capture his first gold medal in men's figure skating.

The home crowd waved flags and cheered wildly through a driving snow for Japanese ski jumpers Masahiko Harada and Takanobu Okabe who tied for the longest jump on skis in Olympic history - 137 meters.

New medal events such as women's ice hockey as well as snowboarding and curling were also received well by the crowds.

Canadian ski boarder Ross Rebagliati won a gold medal in men's slalom, only to have it taken away because of a failed marijuana drug test. An arbitrator sided with Rebagliati, who said second-hand smoke caused his positive test, and returned the medal to him.

One of the most memorable images of the games was Austrian Hermann Maier's fall in the downhill. It was a horrible tumble which launched Maier into the air upside-down before smashing him through two retaining fences. Amazingly Maier was not seriously injured and returned three days later to win the Super-G.

The list of those who didn't get a medal at all included some unexpected names: Alberto Tomba, Wayne Gretzky and American figure skater Nicole Bobek, whose bumps, skids and falls made for some of the games' most excruciating images. She finished 17th. And the U.S. men's hockey finished last in many eyes when, after being eliminated from the tournament, some of its players trashed three Olympic Village rooms.

"Congratulations, Nagano and Japan,'' IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch said in his speech at the closing ceremony. ''You have presented to the world the best organization in the history of the Olympic Winter Games.'" That praise fell short of the ultimate accolade of ''the best Winter Games ever'' that Samaranch bestowed on Lillehammer four years ago. But it was more enthusiastic than the label ''indeed most exceptional'' that he used to describe the troubled 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta. Samaranch also noted with gratitude the fact that the nations of the world had upheld the terms of a nonbinding U.N. resolution calling for no military hostilities during the games. ''We hope that the observance of the Olympic Truce during the Nagano Olympic Winter Games has served the purpose of searching for peaceful and diplomatic solutions to the conflicts we are facing today,'' he said.

The Olympics ended with an eerie, memorable image: a darkened Minami Nagano Sports Park jammed with people, the only light a few muted blue spotlights and orange flames flickering in five places - four traditional Japanese bonfires and, high above, the Olympic flame. Spectators, given handheld, battery-operated lanterns to hold, ignited them on command, turning the stadium into a breathtaking cluster of human fireflies. On the giant video monitor, images of games past scrolled by: St. Moritz. Oslo. Grenoble. Sapporo. Innsbruck. Lake Placid. Sarajevo. And, finally, Nagano - the images of the past two weeks, packaged in slow motion, a perfect highlight film. Countless spotlights pierced the air above the stadium, illuminating it against the mountain backdrop at dusk. The virtual darkness bred quiet, which bred intensity and rapt attentiveness - until a cascade of fireworks constructed with ancient Japanese techniques lit up the sky.

Nagano Mayor Tasuku Tsukada presented the Olympic flag to Deedee Corradini, mayor of Salt Lake City, home of the next Winter Games in 2002. Later, the Utah vanguard - a stagecoach and riders on horseback - reconnoitered the arena with a once-around and gave the Japanese a taste of what the next Winter Olympics might hold.

Fireworks fuses zoomed like missiles to their targets, lighting up streamers and turning the sky into daytime at dusk. Colorful looped flags of myriad colors and designs swarmed the stadium, cloth needle eyes jutting into the air.

Nagano was portrayed as an ancient city rich in oriental history and native culture which was brought into many living rooms around the world for the first time. Just like the opening ceremony, the end of the 1998 Olympics was a mosaic of East and West, traditional and modern wrapped up in a hometown festival: Lion dances, bonfires, harvest festival tiruals, "Snowlets" mascots and a catchy Japanese pop rhythm - all against the backdrop of the breathtaking Japanese Alps, commemorated in a haunting composition, "Reverberations of the Myriad Peaks." The games' closing ceremonies were highlighted by 2,000 traditional Japanese rhythmic drums and 50,000 traditional glowing lanterns, bringing a peaceful end to the weather-weary 18th Olympic Winter Games.

1924 
1928 
1932 
1936 
1948 
1952 
1956 
1960 
1964 
1968 
1972 
1976 
1980 
1984 
1988 
1992 
1994 
1998 
2002 
2006 
2010 

 

 

7 sports, 68 events

G
E
R

N
O
R

R
U
S

C
A
N

U
S
A

N
E
D

J
P
N

A
U
T

K
O
R

I
T
A

F
I
N

S
U
I

F
R
A

 

BIATHLON (BUL)

2

2

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6

BOBSLED

1

 

  

1

 

 

 

 

 

1

 

 

 

3*

CURLING

 

 

 

1

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

1

 

2

ICE HOCKEY (CZE)

 

 

 

 

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2

LUGE

3

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3

SKATING

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure Skating

 

 

3

 

1

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

4

Short Track Speed Skating

 

 

 

2

 

 

1

 

3

 

 

 

 

6

Speed Skating

2

1

 

1

 

5

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

10

SKIING

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alpine Skiing

3

1

 

 

1

 

 

3

 

1

 

 

1

10

Cross-country Skiing

 

4

5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

 

 

10

Freestyle Skiing

 

 

 

 

3

 

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

4

Ski Jumping

 

 

 

 

 

 

2

 

 

 

1

 

 

3

Nordic Combined

 

2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2

Snowboarding

1

 

 

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

1

4

TOTAL

12

10

9

6

6

5

5

3

3

2

2

2

2

69

* 2 gold medals were awarded in the Two-Man Bobsled

Nagano 1998

GOLD MEDAL WINNERS
(7 new events)
(36 Men, 29 Women, 3 Combined Events)

BIATHLON
M\10km: Ole Einar Bjoerndalen, Norway
M\20km: Halvard Hanevold, Norway
M\4x7.5km Relay: Germany
W\7.5km: Galina Koukleva, Russia
W\15km: Ekaterina Dafovska, Bulgaria
W\4x7.5km: Germany

BOBSLEIGH
M\Two-Man: Pierre Lueders/David MacEachern, Canada
& Guenther Huber/Antonio Tartaglia, Italy (tie)
M\Four-Man: Germany

CURLING (NEW)
Men: Switzerland
Women: Canada

ICE HOCKEY
Men's Team: Czech Republic
Women's Team: United States

LUGE
M\Single: Georg Hackl, Germany
O\Double: Stefan Krausse/Jan Behrendt, Germany
W\Single: Silke Kraushaar, Germany

SKIING

ALPINE SKIING
M\Downhill: Jean-Luc Cretier, France
M\Slalom: Hans-Petter Buraas, Norway
M\Giant Slalom: Hermann Maier, Austria
M\Super Giant Slalom: Hermann Maier, Austria
M\Combined: Mario Reiter, Austria
W\Downhill: Katja Seizinger, Germany
W\Slalom: Hilde Gerg, Germany
W\Giant Slalom: Deborah Compagnoni, Italy
W\Super Giant Slalom: Picabo Street, United States
W\Combined: Katja Seizinger, Germany

CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING


M\10km classical: Bjorn Daehlie, Norway
M\15km freestyle/pursuit: Thomas Alsgaard, Norway
M\30km classical: Mika Myllylae, Finland
M\50km freestyle: Bjorn Daehlie, Norway
M\4x10km Relay: Norway
W\5km classical: Larissa Lazutina, Russia
W\10km freestyle/pursuit: Larissa Lazutina, Russia
W\15km classical: Olga Danilova, Russia
W\30km freestyle: Julija Tchepalova, Russia
W\4x5km Relay: Russia

FREESTYLE SKIING
M\Aerials: Eric Bergoust, United States
M\Moguls: Jonny Moseley, United States
W\Aerials: Nikki Stone, United States
W\Aerials: Tae Satoya, Japan 

SKI JUMPING
M\K-90 Individual: Jani Soininen, Finland
M\K-120 Individual: Kazuyoshi Funaki, Japan
M\K-120 Team: Japan

NORDIC COMBINED
Individual: Bjarte Engen Vik, Norway
Team: Norway

SNOWBOARDING (NEW)
M\Giant Slalom: Ross Rebagliati, Canada
M\Halfpipe: Gian Simmen, Switzerland
W\Giant Slalom: Karine Ruby, France
W\Halfpipe: Nicola Thost, Germany

SKATING

FIGURE SKATING
M\Singles: Ilia Kulik, Russia
W\Singles: Tara Lipinski, United States
Pairs: Oksana Kazakova/Artur Dmitriev, Russia
Ice-Dancing: Pasha Grishuk/Evgeny Platov, RUS

SHORT TRACK SPEED SKATING
M\500m: Kim Dong-Sung, South Korea
M\1000m: Takafumi Nishitani, Japan
M\5000m Relay: Canada
W\500m: Annie Perreault, Canada
W\1000m: Chun Lee-kyung, South Korea
W\3000m Relay: South Korea

SPEED SKATING
M\500m: Hiroyasu Shimizu, Japan
M\1000m: Ids Postma, Netherlands
M\1500m: Aadne Sondral, Norway
M\5000m: Gianni Romme, Netherlands
M\10000m: Gianni Romme,Netherlands
W\500m: Catriona Lemay-Doan, Canada
W\1000m: Marianne Timmer, Netherlands
W\1500m: Marianne Timmer, Netherlands
W\3000m: Gunda Niemann-Stirnemann, Germany
W\5000m: Claudia Pechstein, Germany

 

NAGANO 1998 MEDAL TALLY

COUNTRY

G

S

B

TTL

Germany

12

9

8

29

Norway

10

10

5

25

Russia

9

6

3

18

Austria

3

5

9

17

Canada

6

5

4

15

United States

6

3

4

13

Finland

2

4

6

12

Netherlands

5

4

2

11

Japan

5

1

4

10

Italy

2

6

2

10

France

2

1

5

8

China

0

6

2

8

Switzerland

2

2

3

7

South Korea

3

1

2

6

Czech Republic

1

1

1

3

Sweden

0

2

1

3

Belarus

0

0

2

2

Kazakhstan

0

0

2

2

Bulgaria

1

0

0

1

Denmark

0

1

0

1

Ukraine

0

1

0

1

Great Britain

0

0

1

1

Australia

0

0

1

1

Belgium

0

0

1

1


MEN

37

36

36

109

WOMEN

29

29

29

87

COMBINED

3

3

3

9

TOTAL

69

68

68

205

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