The 1988 Winter Olympics, officially known as the XV Olympic Winter Games, was a multi-sport event celebrated in and around Calgary between February 13 and 28, 1988. The host city was selected in 1981, defeating Falun, Sweden and Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy. Most events took place in Calgary while several skiing events were held in the mountain resorts of Nakiska and Canmore, west of the city.
remains a popular gathering place in downtown Calgary.
A record 57 nations competed and 1,423 athletes participated. The Soviet Union won the most medals at 29, followed by East Germany with 25. As it had in Montreal in 1976, Canada again failed to win a gold medal in an official medal event as the host nation. Finnish ski jumper Matti Nykänen and Dutch speed skater Yvonne van Gennip were individual medal leaders, capturing three gold medals apiece. The Games are also remembered for the "heroic failure" of British ski jumper Eddie "The Eagle" Edwards and the Winter Olympic debut of the Jamaica national bobsled team.
The Calgary Games were at the time the most expensive Olympics ever held, but the organizing committee turned record television and sponsorship revenue into a net surplus that was used to maintain the world-class facilities built for the Olympics and develop the Calgary region into the heart of Canada's elite winter sports program. The five purpose-built venues continue to be used in their original function, and helped Canada develop a Winter Olympic program, which resulted in 26 medals at the next Winter Olympics hosted on Canadian soil.