Calgary 1988 Winter Olympic Games

Twenty four years after the establishment of an organization committee to bring the Games to Calgary at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, the IOC finally gave their consent. Thus in 1988, winter athletes again travelled across the Atlantic to compete at the Games between the 13th and 28th February. The Soviet Union and the Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia made their final appearances at the Olympics.

Time and Place: Calgary (Canada); 13 - 28 February 1988
Participation: 46 countries, 1423 athletes
Number of sports: 8 sports, 46 events
Number of Slovenian athletes: 18
Fire lit by: Jeanne Sauve (Governor of Canada)
Games opened by: Robyn Perry  (schoolgirl)
Olympic oath: Pierre Harvey (cross county skier)


Trivia from the Calgary 1988 Winter Olympic Games

The Calgary Games were the last at which the Paralympics were held at a different venue.

Canadians carefully prepared a setting for interesting and media-attention grabbing games. The budget was filled from three taps: the government, sales of TV rights and a sizeable marketing program. The Games lasted for 16 days for the first time and it became clear that commercialization is becoming a strong force in sports.


The competition schedule was again expanded. The alpine skiing program was expanded by super giant slalom and a return of the combined competition for the first time since 1948. Ski jumpers and Nordic combined athletes competed in a team event for the first time and the speed skating event roster was expanded.


Olympic heights


The most successful country was again the Soviet Union, this time competing for the last time under that name. Similar applies to the Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia which brought home three medals won by Slovenian athletes. The Games also marked the final appearance of two German teams.


The Games crowned many heroes. Three gold medals apiece were won by Dutch speed skater Gennip van Yvonne and the legendary Finnish ski jumper Matti Nykänen who proved unbeatable at both competitions and went on to win another gold in the team competition. Among alpine skiers, the greatest impact was made by the 'iron' Swiss Vreni Schneider and the Italian star Alberto Tomba. German competitor Christa Rothenburger achieved an especially impressive feat. The speed skater won silver in the 500 m race and then repeated her success just a few months later at the Seul Summer Olympics in cycling. One of the greatest crowd favorites was Katarina Witt, "Carmen on ice", who was the first after Sonja Henie (1928 - 1936) to repeat her Olympic win.