Nagano 1998 Winter Olympic Games

The last Olympic Games of the second millennium were hosted by Japan. After 26 years since the Sapporo games, the Olympic family again visited Japan in Nagano. The Games took place from 7 to 22 February in 1998.


Time and Place: Nagano (Japan); 7 - 22 February 1998
Participation: 72 countries, 2176 athletes (1389 men, 787 women)
Number of sports:  10 sports, 68 events
Number of Slovenian athletes: 34
Fire lit by: Midori Ito (figure skater)
Games opened by: Emperor Akihito
Olympic oath: Kenji Ogiwara (nordic combined)


Trivia from the Nagano 1998 Winter Olympic Games

For the first time in the history of the Olympics, competitions were held in snowboarding. Nagano also marked the return of curling for men and women, NHL professional hockey players were allowed to compete at the games and women's hockey was introduced.


Olympic heights


Norwegian Bjoern Daehlie won 3 gold medals in cross country skiing, becoming the first athlete to win 8 golds and a total of 12 Winter Olympic medals. In women's competition, Russian Larisa Lazutina won a medal in each of the five disciplines, totalling 3 golds, 1 silver and 1 bronze.

An unforgettable Olympic story was written by Austrian alpine skier Hermann Maier. After a terrible crash in the downhill, he won Olympic gold in the super giant slalom only a few days later, going on to conclude the games with another win in the giant slalom. German Katja Seizinger win gold in women's downhill and combined competition.


In the women's figure skating, American teenagers Tara Lipinski and Michelle Kwan stole the show. 17-year old winner of the January World Championships Michelle Kwan led the short program by half a point, but lost after the freestyle program to 15-year old Tara Lipinski, who became the youngest individual Olympic winner.