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The 1998 Winter Olympics, officially the XVIII Olympic Winter Games, was a winter multi-sport event celebrated from 7 to 22 February 1998 in Nagano, Japan. Seventy-two nations and 2,176 participants 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.
The host was selected on June 15, 1991 over Salt Lake City, Östersund, Jaca and Aosta. They were the third Olympic Games and second winter Olympics to be held in Japan, after the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo and the 1972 Winter Olympics in Sapporo. The games were succeeded by the 1998 Winter Paralympics from 5 to 14 March.
Bjørn Dæhlie won three gold medals in cross-country skiing, making him the most-winning Winter Olympic competitor ever. Alpine skier Hermann Maier survived a fall in the downhill and went on to win gold in the super-G and giant slalom. 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.
Host city selection
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 15 June 1991, at the 97th IOC session. Nagano prevailed over Salt Lake City by just 4 votes.
- 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 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.
- 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.
The silver, gold and bronze medals
(Host nation is highlighted.)
Participating National Olympic Committees
72 nations participated in the 1998 Winter Olympic Games. The nations Azerbaijan, Kenya, Macedonia, Uruguay, and Venezuela participated in their first Winter Olympic Games.
|Participating National Olympic Committees
The following 14 countries registered to take part, but eventually did not send a team.
- The Organizing Committee for the XVIII Olympic Winter Games, Nagano 1998 (1998). The XVIII Winter Olympic Games: Official Report. The Organizing Committee for the XVIII Olympic Winter Games. Downloadable PDF: Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3, Appendix, retrieved on 17 January 2010.