Friday, February 7, 2014
Nagano Olympics Open
On Feb. 7, 1998, the Opening Ceremonies for the 18 Winter Olympic games open at Nagano, Japan.
Seventy-two nations and 2,176 participants, 1,389 men and 757 women, contested in seven sports and 72 events at 15 venues.
The Games saw the introduction of women's ice hockey, curling and snowboarding. National Hockey League players were allowed to participate in the men's ice hockey again.
The ’98 games are most remembered for Bjorn Dæhlie’s performance. He won three gold medals in cross-country skiing, making him the most-winning Winter Olympic competitor ever, becoming the first winter Olympics athlete to earn eight career gold medals and twelve total medals.
Alpine skier Hermann Maier survived a fall in the downhill and went on to win gold in the super-G and giant slalom.
The Netherlands won five of the ten speed skating events, including two each by Gianni Romme and Marianne Timmer. Canada beat Denmark in the women's curling final, securing the latter their first Winter Olympic medal ever.
Women's ice hockey was contested at the Olympic games for the first time ever, and the United States beat the Canadians 3–1 for the gold medal. United States went undefeated in the women's tournament. The Czech Republic defeated Russia by a score of 1–0 for the men's gold medal, while Finland won both the men's and women's bronze medals for ice hockey.
Cross-country skier Bjorn Dæhlie’s 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.
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 the Olympic Winter Games.
Denmark won their first winter Olympic medal (and only one to date) when they won a silver medal in the women's curling event.
Australia won their first individual Winter Olympic medal when Zali Steggall won bronze in the women's slalom.
Germany won the most medals and the most gold medals in the Olympics with 29 total, 12 Gold medals, nine silver medals and eight bronze medals.
Norway finished second in total medal count and Gold medals, with 25 medals, 10 Gold, 10 Silver and five bronze.
Russia finished third in total medals and Gold medals, with 18 total, nine Gold, six Silver and three Bronzes.
Canada finished fourth overall in total medal count with 15, six Gold, five silver and four bronze.
The United States finished fifth in total medal count with 13 and tied for fourth in Gold medals with Canada, six. The United States also finished with three silver medals and four bronze medals.
Host country Japan finished seventh overall in total medal count with 10 medals, and tied for six with five Gold medals. Japan finished with only one Silver and four Bronze medals.
The United States were the leading nation in athletes appearing in the Olympic games with 186. The next closest was Japan with 156.
Eleven countries; Belgium, Bermuda, Brazil, Cyprus, India, Iran, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Luxembourg, Turkey, Uruguay and Venezuela only had one athlete compete in the games.
Fourteen countries; the Bahamas, Bolivia, Cambodia, Cameroon, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Gambia, Guam, Guinea-Bissau, Laos, Lebanon, Kuwait, Netherlands Antilles and Tajikistan all registered to take part in the games but did not send a team.
The 2014 Winter Games, the 22nd running of the Winter Olympics kicked off at Sochi in Russia last night with men’s figure skating. The games will continue through last February with most coverage coming on NBC.