1998 Winter Olympics Explained
The 1998 Winter Olympics, officially known as the XVIII Olympic Winter Games, were a winter multi-sport event which was celebrated in 1998 in Nagano, Japan. These Games marked the return of the Winter Olympics to Japan since 1972, when the games were held in Sapporo.
Other candidate cities for the 1998 Olympics were Aosta, Italy; Jaca, Spain; Östersund, Sweden; and Salt Lake City, United States. The host city selection was held in Birmingham, United Kingdom on June 15, 1991 at the 97th IOC Session. Nagano prevailed over Salt Lake City by just 4 votes and Nagano officials said the outcome was decided by the "Atlanta factor", in which they claim was the reason they won the vote over Salt Lake City was due to the fact that the 1996 Summer Olympics will be in the United States in Atlanta. Information below comes from the International Olympic Committee Vote History web page.
- Women's ice hockey was contested at the Olympic Games for the first time ever, and the U.S. beat the Canadians 3-1 for the gold medal. U.S. went undefeated in the women's tournament, while the men had just a single win over Belarus and lost every other game. Czech Republic faced Russia for the men's gold medal, while Finland won both the men's and women's bronze medals for ice hockey.
- Cross-country skier Bjørn Dæhlie of Norway won three gold medals in Nordic skiing to become the first winter Olympian to earn eight career gold medals and twelve total medals.
- Also, after Bjorn finished 1st in the 10km Cross Country classic event, waited over 20 minutes for the last place finished, Philip Boit of Kenya, and met him at the finish line with a hug and congratulations, in a great display of sportsmanship
- Curling returned as an official sport, after having been demoted to a demonstration event after the inaugural Winter Games in Chamonix in 1924
- Snowboarding debuted as an official sport.
- Players from the NHL were able to compete in men's ice hockey due to a three week suspension of the NHL season.
- Tara Lipinski, 15, narrowly beat Michelle Kwan in women's figure skating to become the youngest champion in an individual event in the history of the Winter Olympics.
- Alpine skier Hermann Maier (Austria) survived a fall in the downhill and went on to gold in the super-g and giant slalom.
- Speed skaters Gianni Romme and Marianne Timmer won two gold medals each for the Netherlands; 5 out of 10 titles in speed skating went to the Netherlands.
- Snowboarder Ross Rebagliati (Canada) won the gold medal, after initially being disqualified for testing positive for marijuana.
- Azerbaijan, Kenya, the Republic of Macedonia, Uruguay, and Venezuela made their first appearance at these Olympic Winter Games.
- Denmark won their first winter Olympic medal in these games and only one as of 2006, when they won a silver medal in the women's curling event
- Japanese ski jumper Masahiko Harada had a very poor jump in the first round, but in the second round jumped a record setting 137 meters.
See the medal winners, ordered by sport:
Opening and Closing Ceremonies
Figure Skating and Short Track Speed Skating
(Host nation is highlighted.)
See also: 1998 Winter Olympics medal count.
72 nations participated in the 1998 Winter Olympic Games. The nations Azerbaijan, Kenya, FYR of Macedonia, Uruguay, and Venezuela participated in their first Winter Olympic Games.
Articles about Nagano Winter Olympics by nation:
The games were covered by the following broadcasters: