1992 Winter Olympics

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XVI Olympic Winter Games
1992 Winter Olympics logo.svg
Emblem of the 1992 Winter Olympics[a]
Host cityAlbertville, France
MottoSavoie en Fête
(English: Party in Savoie)[1]
Athletes1,801 (1313 men, 488 women)
Events57 in 6 sports (12 disciplines)
Opening8 February 1992
Closing23 February 1992
Opened by
StadiumThéâtre des Cérémonies
1992 Winter Paralympics

The 1992 Winter Olympics, officially known as the XVI Olympic Winter Games (French: XVIes Jeux Olympiques d'hiver) and commonly known as Albertville '92 (Arpitan: Arbèrtvile '92), was a winter multi-sport event held from 8 to 23 February 1992 in and around Albertville, France. Albertville won the bid to host the Winter Olympics in 1986, beating Sofia, Falun, Lillehammer, Cortina d'Ampezzo, Anchorage, and Berchtesgaden. The 1992 Winter Olympics were the last winter games held in the same year as the Summer Olympics.[2][3] The Games were the fifth Olympic Games held in France and the country's third Winter Olympics, after the 1924 Winter Games in Chamonix and the 1968 Winter Games in Grenoble. This games was the first of two consecutive Olympic games to be held in Western Europe, preceding the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain.

18 events in Figure skating, short track speed skating, speed skating, and the opening and closing ceremonies took place in Albertville. As the 39 another events were held in the nearby 9 villages and resorts around the Savoie: Courchevel, La Plagne, Les Arcs, Les Menuires, Les Saisies, Méribel, Pralognan-la-Vanoise, Tignes, and Val d'Isère. Sixty-four National Olympic Committees and 1,801 athletes participated in six sports and fifty-seven events. This included both the Unified Team, representing the non-Baltic former Soviet republics, and Germany, newly consolidated again as a team following the reunification of the former East and West Germany in 1990. The event also saw the debut of eight nations in the Winter Olympics. New events included Short track speed skating, freestyle skiing, and women's biathlon. These were the last Winter Olympics to include demonstration sports, consisting of curling, aerials and ski ballet, and speed skiing, and the last Games to feature an outdoor speed skating rink.

Host city selection[edit]

Mexican sculptor Abel Ramírez Águilar working on his gold medal piece in snow sculpture competition related to the Games

A record-breaking seven locations bid for the games. The non-winning bids were from Anchorage, Berchtesgaden, Cortina d'Ampezzo, Falun, Lillehammer, and Sofia. The 91st IOC Session, held in Lausanne on 17 October 1986, voted Albertville the host of the Games.[4]

1992 Winter Olympics bidding results[5]
City Country Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Run-off Round 5
Albertville  France 19 26 29 42 51
Sofia  Bulgaria 25 25 28 24 25
Falun  Sweden 10 11 11 11 41 9
Lillehammer  Norway 10 11 9 11 40
Cortina d'Ampezzo  Italy 7 6 7
Anchorage  United States 7 5
Berchtesgaden  West Germany 6

Opening ceremony[edit]


Bjørn Dæhlie and Vegard Ulvang dominated the men's cross-country skiing races, both taking home three gold medals with Norway taking a medal sweep in the event. 16-year-old Ski jumper Toni Nieminen became the youngest male gold medalist in a Winter Olympic event. Petra Kronberger won both the combined event and the slalom of alpine skiing, while Bonnie Blair won both the 500 m and 1000 m speed skating events, and Gunda Niemann took both of the longest races.

Three National Olympic Committees won a medal for the first time at the Winter Olympics (all Pacific Ocean littoral states; one in a sport making its debut at the Games, short track speed skating). Kim Ki-hoon's gold medal in 1000 m short track speed skating signified South Korea's first medal in the Winter Olympics, while Ye Qiaobo's silver medal in women's 500 m speed skating represented China's first Winter Olympics medal. Annelise Coberger from New Zealand became the first Oceanian athlete to win a medal in women's alpine skiing slalom, making her the first athlete from the southern hemisphere to mount the podium at the Winter Games.

Swiss speed skier Nicolas Bochatay died on the penultimate day of the Games, when he crashed into a snow-grooming vehicle during a training run.[6]


The 1992 Olympic Winter Games marked the last time both the Winter and Summer games were held in the same year. The 1992 Olympics also marked the last time France hosted the Olympics. The games are scheduled to return to France in 2024 when Paris is set to become the second city to host the Summer Olympics three times.[7]

Cost and cost overrun[edit]

The Oxford Olympics Study established the outturn cost of the Albertville 1992 Winter Olympics at US$2.0 billion (in 2015-dollars) and cost overrun at 137% in real terms.[8] This includes sports-related costs only, that is: (i) operational costs incurred by the organizing committee to stage the Games, e.g., expenditures for technology, transportation, workforce, administration, security, catering, ceremonies, and medical services; and (ii) direct capital costs incurred by the host city and country or private investors to build, e.g., the competition venues, the Olympic village, international broadcast center, and media and press center, which are required to host the Games. Indirect capital costs were not included, e.g. road, rail, or airport infrastructure, or hotel upgrades or other business investment incurred in preparation for the Games but not directly related to their staging. In comparison, the cost and cost overrun of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics were US$2.5 billion and 13%, respectively, while the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics (the most costly Olympics to date) had costs and cost overrun at US$51 billion and 289%, respectively.[9] The average cost for the Winter Games since 1960 is US$3.1 billion, while the average cost overrun is 142%.[citation needed]


The 1992 Winter Games mascot, Magique (Magic), was a small imp in the shape of a star and a cube. The mascot was created by Philippe Mairesse and replaced the original mascot, which was a mountain goat.[10] The star shape symbolized dreams and imagination, while the mascot's red and blue colors originated from the French flag.


There were 57 events contested in 6 sports (12 disciplines). See the medal winners, ordered by sport:

Demonstration sports[edit]

This was the last time demonstration events were included in the Winter Olympics program. Of the 8 events that were under evaluation, 4 received the endorsement to be included in an official form in future editions of the Games (Curling tournaments and the aerials events on the freestyle skiing). The other four events (speed skiing and skiing ballet events on the freestyle skiing) were rejected and have not since returned.

  • Curling – Was an official sport in the Olympic program in 1924 after which it was a demonstration sport twice, in 1932 and 1988. There was a possibility of re-inclusion in Lillehammer 1994 but the return as an official sport was postponed to Nagano 1998.[11]
  • Freestyle skiing – Like curling, it was a demonstration sport four years previously before becoming part of the official program. Only moguls skiing received this status, while aerials and ballet remained demonstration events. Aerials became an official event two years later, while ballet skiing appeared in the games for the last time, going into a progressive decline and losing its status as a competitive discipline by the International Ski Federation (FIS) in 2000.[12]
  • Speed skiing – Considered one of the most dangerous events in the sporting world, the event won a chance to be evaluated by the members of the International Olympic Committee and the FIS, with the possibility of appearing in the program of a future edition. However, this possibility was extinguished when Swiss skier Nicolas Bochatay ran into a snow-grooming vehicle during a training run, dying immediately. According to reports, Bochatay was moving at a speed of more than 110 kilometres per hour (68 mph) and was unable to hear the machine's warning siren. His death is the subject of several controversies, as speed skiing was not a part of the official program. After this incident, the sport was excluded from any evaluation for future additions to the Olympic program.[13]

Participating nations[edit]

Sixty-four nations sent competitors to the 1992 Olympics, including seven nations making their first appearance at a Winter Olympics.[14] Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, six former-Soviet bloc nations chose to form a Unified Team, while the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania competed as independent nations for the first time since 1936.[15] United Nations Security Council Resolution 757 took effect on 30 May 1992 (97 days after the closing ceremonies), and Yugoslav athletes were able to participate under their country's national symbols. It also suspended the activities of the Yugoslav Olympic Committee, making the country's athletes ineligible to compete on the 1992 Summer Olympics. Despite this, some of their athletes classified in individual sports and gained authorization to compete as Independent Olympic Participants (which also happened at the 1992 Summer Paralympics). Yugoslav athletes returned to the Olympic Games in the 1996 Summer Olympics, when only Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo were still part of the country. The 1992 Winter Olympics were the first time since the 1964 Summer Olympics that Germany competed with a unified team. Seven National Olympic Committees sent their first delegations to the Winter Olympics: Algeria, Bermuda, Brazil, Honduras, Ireland, Swaziland, Croatia, and Slovenia (the last two making their first appearances at any Olympics, just a few months after their respective declarations of independence from Yugoslavia). Until the 2018 Winter Olympics, this was the only participation of Swaziland and Honduras in an edition of the Winter Olympics.[16]

Participating National Olympic Committees


The 1992 Games are the last (as of 2020) in which the speed skating venue was outdoors.

Medal table[edit]

(Host nation is highlighted.)

  *   Host nation (France)

1 Germany1010626
2 Unified Team196823
3 Norway96520
4 Austria67821
5 United States54211
6 Italy46414
7 France*3519
8 Finland3137
9 Canada2327
10 South Korea2114
Totals (10 entries)534940142

(1 combined team with athletes from 6 nations of the Commonwealth of Independent States; the team only appeared in these Winter Olympics)

Podium sweeps[edit]

Date Sport Event NOC Gold Silver Bronze
10 February Cross-country skiing Men's 30 kilometre classical  Norway Vegard Ulvang Bjørn Dæhlie Terje Langli
17 February Speed skating Women's 5000 metres  Germany Gunda Niemann-Kleemann Heike Warnicke Claudia Pechstein

See also[edit]



  1. ^ The emblem is the flag of Savoy region in the shape of the Olympic flame, dancing above stripes representing the flag of France.


  1. ^ "Slogans", The Olympic Design, 22 September 2019
  2. ^ "Albertville 1992". olympic.org. Archived from the original on 7 January 2014. Retrieved 12 March 2010.
  3. ^ "The Olympic Winter Games Factsheet" (PDF). International Olympic Committee. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 August 2011. Retrieved 5 August 2012.
  4. ^ "IOC Vote History". Archived from the original on 25 May 2008. Retrieved 10 June 2008.
  5. ^ "Past Olympic host city election results". GamesBids. Archived from the original on 24 January 2011. Retrieved 17 March 2011.
  6. ^ McNichol, Tom (8 February 2014). "Sochi's Olympic Luge Track: Slower, but Not Necessarily Safer". The Atlantic. Retrieved 29 October 2020.
  7. ^ Kostov, Joshua Robinson and Nick (24 October 2019). "She's the Face of the 2024 Paris Olympics, and France Is Aflutter". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 29 October 2020.
  8. ^ Flyvbjerg, Bent; Stewart, Allison; Budzier, Alexander (2016). The Oxford Olympics Study 2016: Cost and Cost Overrun at the Games. Oxford: Saïd Business School Working Papers (Oxford: University of Oxford). pp. 9–13. SSRN 2804554.
  9. ^ "Sochi 2014: the costliest Olympics yet but where has all the money gone?". The Guardian. 9 October 2013. Retrieved 12 February 2014.
  10. ^ Reuters Staff (12 January 2018). "Factbox: Mascots at Winter Olympics through the years". Reuters. Retrieved 29 October 2020.
  11. ^ "OL-ishockey på Lillehammer og GJøvik" (in Norwegian). Norwegian News Agency. 10 October 1990.
  12. ^ "Skiing". February 2007. Retrieved 17 June 2020.
  13. ^ Usborne, Simon (9 February 2018). "Speed skiing: too fast for the Olympics". Financial Times. Retrieved 29 October 2019.
  14. ^ International Olympic Committee (23 April 2018). "Albertville 1992". www.olympic.org. Retrieved 5 September 2020.
  15. ^ "Albertville, France 1992". The Washington Post Archive. 1998. Retrieved 3 September 2020.
  16. ^ Nauright, John; Parrish, Charles (2012). Sports Around the World: History, Culture, and Practice. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 978-1-59884-300-2.

External links[edit]

Winter Olympics
Preceded by XVI Olympic Winter Games

Succeeded by