THE ORIGIN OF OLYMPIC GAMES
The idea of holding Olympic Games has its roots in
Greek mythology. The first recorded Olympics were held in 776 B.C. They
were sponsored to honor the god Zeus on the plain of Olympia in the west
of the Peloponnesus Peninsula.The first recorded Olympics were won by an
athlete from the town of Elida, Coroebus.
In ancient Greece only free men of Greek origin could
take part in the Olympics.Competitions were always tough, and the prize
awarded to winners was a garland of wild olive, but beyond this the victorious
athletes earned great honour and esteem not only in their native town but
also in the Greek world as a whole.
OF OLYMPIC GAMES
Baron de Coubertin, a Frenchman, inspired the Olympic
revival. Owing to his great effort the International Olympic Committee
was set up on June 23, 1894. To the present day the Committee is the highest
governing body of the Olympic Movement. The first international competitions
similar to ancient Greek Olympiads were held in the city of Athenes in
1896. They were held in 9 separate sports--track and field, gymnastics,
swimming, weight lifting, wrestling, shooting, fencing, cycling race and
From that time on Olympic Games became a major international
event in sports. They were held in many cities of the world, including
Moscow /1980/.The Olympic cycle of four years was interrupted only three
times: in 1916 because of the First World War and in 1940 and 1944 because
of the Second World War.
THE ORIGIN OF WINTER OLYMPIC GAMES
For the first time the International Olympic Committee
discussed a possibility of sponsoring Winter Olympic Games in Budapest
in 1911. Yet Scandinavian countries resolutely objected to the move since
they had apprehensions about future of the traditional Northern games held
in Stokholm and competitions in the Norwegian city of Holmenkollen. In
addition, two winter sports - hockey and figure skating - had already been
on the program of Olympic Games by 1924. They were included in the program
of Summer Olympic Games in London in 1908 and in Antwerp in 1920.Sponsored
by the International Olympic Committee and untiring Pierre de Coubertin
"A Week of Winter Sports devoted to the forthcoming Eighth Olympic
Games in Paris" was held in France in 1924. In a year it was granted the
status of the First Winter Olympic Games. From that time on Winter Olympic
Games followed closely Summer Olympiads, also missing the years 1940 and
1944.That was the rule up to 1992. Since 1994 in keeping with the decision
of the International Olympic Committee Winter Olympic Games are held two
years after Summer Games.
WINTER OLYMPIC GAMES I
16 countries were presented by 293 athletes.
14 sets of medals were awarded. The Olympic program included bobsledding,
ski race, ski-jump, Nordic combined, speed skating, figure skating and
hockey. Women athletes competed for awards only in figure skating.
The first gold medal of Winter Olympiads went to
US athlete Ch. Jzhutrou who won 500-meter race in speed skating. Yet that
was the only gold medal that the United States won at the First Winter
Olympic Games. Norwegian skier Turleifa Hauga distinguished himself by
winning 18-kilometer and 50-kilometer ski races; he was also victorious
in Nordic combined which consists of ski jump and 18-kilometer ski race.
He was crowned with the title of the first king of skiing.
The First Winter Olympic Games saw convincing victories
of Norwegian and Finnish athletes. Each team won 4 gold medals.
Norway was far ahead of other nations in unofficial
point scoring. Norwegians won the total of 18 medals--4 gold, 7 silver
and 7 bronze medals. Finland was second with 9 awards--4 gold,,3 silver
and 2 bronze medals. Austria was placed third--2 gold and one silver medals.
The United States was the fourth with 1 gold and 2 silver medals.
(CHAMONIX, FRANCE, 1924)
WINTER OLYMPIC GAMES II
25 countries were represented by 491 athletes,
that was by 1.5 times more than at the First Olympiad in France. Participating
for the first time were Germany, Holland, Romania, Lithuania, Estonia,
Japan, Argentina and Mexico. 13 sets of medals were awarded. Skeleton was
added to the Olympic program which earlier included skiing, bobsledding,
speed skating, figure skating and hockey.
After the first appearance at Olympics in 1928 that
sport was returned to Olympic programs only in 20 years, in 1948. After
that there was another pause of 54 years, and only at the recent Olympic
Games in Salt Lake City it was on the program again.
Unlike the previous Games there was competition for
the right to become the site for the Olympiad. Besides Switzerland, that
right was contested by Holland. Finally, preference was given to the winter
resort of St. Moritz in the Swiss Alps. The organizers hoped that weather
conditions would be better there. Yet they made a mistake.
Weather fluctuations were a severe test for athletes.
Say, in skating competitions 500-meter race began in conditions of a steady
snowfall, whereas 10,000-meter race was cancelled because of a thaw. Weather
also interfered with the ski 50-kilometer cross-country run. Experts believe
that weather conditions did not allow a Norwegian athlete to win "gold".
As a result, it went to Sweden.
In speed skating competitions the organizers
had to face another challenge while determining the medallists for 500-meter
race. In 1928 the results were measured to one-tenth of a second. And the
organizers were at a loss when two athletes showed the best result, there
were also four bronze winners. The lacking medals were manufactured promptly.
Norway was again the best at the Games; success in
speed skating and ski cross-country runs placed it first in unofficial
point scoring. Norway won 15 medals--5 gold, 5 silver and 5 bronze medals.
The United States was second lagging far behind--6 medals: 2 gold, 3 silver
and 1 bronze medal. Sweden was the third with 5 medals - 2 gold,2 silver
and 1 bronze medal.
(ST. MORITZ, SWITZERLAND, 1928)
WINTER OLYMPIC GAMES III
Participating were 306 athletes from 17 countries.
14 sets of medals were awarded in 5 events. The main reason for such small
number of athletes and participating countries was remoteness of the site
for the Games and, therefore, the high cost of travelling.
That was why skeleton that first appeared on
the program at the previous Games was excluded. But the number of US and
Canadian athletes participating in the Games was impressive, they accounted
for almost half of the total.
The victory in unofficial point scoring went to the
United States--12 medals: 6 gold, 4 silver and 2 bronze medals. Norway
was placed second with 10 medals: 3 gold, four silver and 3 bronze medals.
Sweden won 3 medals in Lake Placid as against 5 at the previous Olympic
Games--1 gold and 2 silver medals. As for Canada, it won 7 medals as against
one gold medal at the previous Games - 1 gold, 1 silver and 5 bronze medals.
The result of the Third Olympics was predetermined
not only by the site for the Games but also by the conduct of the host
country which could impose on the participants US rules of skating competitions.
The only but principled difference was massed start. As a result all speed
skating competitions were won by US athletes. Several days after the Games
ended the World Championship was held in Lake Placid where the actual balance
of forces in speed skating was confirmed. Norwegians proved to be stronger
in competitions held in keeping with international rules which allowed
to avoid elbowing and falls.
(LAKE PLACID, THE UNITED STATES, 1932)
THE IVTH OLYMPIC GAMES
756 sportsmen and women from 28 countries attended
the games in Germany. Australia, Bulgaria, Greece, Spain and Turkey took
part in the Winter Olympics for the first time. The sportsmen competed
for 17 sets of medals.
Originally, Olympic games were planned to hold in
France. But when France refused to do so Germany, where the Summer Olympics
due to be held offered to host the Olympics. Many countries protested against
the International Olympic Committee decision to hold the games in nazi
Germany. Several prominent sportsmen even refused to attend the Olympics.
Nevertheless, the organizers managed to gather a larger number of participants
at the time. The number of sportsmen and countries participated was impressive
compared with the previous games in Lake Placid where only 306 sportsmen
from 17 countries gathered.
Unlike the games in the United States the 4th Olympics
increased the number of events. For one, alpine skiing was introduced and
both men and women took part in it. Earlier, women competed only in figure
skating. Another new event was men’s 4x10 kilometer relay in skiing. This
has become the most attractive event in all Olympics. The most unexpected
and scandalous event at the 4th Olympics was the victory of British ice
hockey team over the Canadian team. This was unexpected because the Canadian
team defeated all the others with a huge difference in the number of goals
scored. Britain’s victory was scandalous because the team consisted of
Norway again won the medal count with 15 medals (7
gold, 5 silver and 3 bronze) and proved the US success four years ago at
Lake Placid was an accident. Germany was in the second place with three
gold and three silver medals and Sweden in the third with two gold two
silver and three bronze medals.
(GARMISCH-PARTENKERCHEN, GERMANY, 1936)
713 sportsmen from 28 countries attended the games.
Denmark, Iceland, Libya, Chili and South Korea participated in the Olympics
for the first time. The sportsmen competed for 22 sets of medals. The Second
World War caused an eight-year break between the two Olympics. Two European
countries Switzerland and Sweden that did not involve in the Second World
War competed for staging the post-war games. In the end Switzerland won.
Like 20 years ago resort St. Moritz on the Alps became the venue of the
Additional two events were added to the programme.
They were down hill race and slalom And skeleton that included into the
programme 20 years ago was appeared in this games. But this was the last
competition in the 20th century.
In the final hockey match unexpectedly neither Canada
nor Czechoslovakia could score a goal. This was very surprising since Canadians
defeated the Czech team 52:0 at the previous games. American figure skater
Richard Baton stunned judges and audience with his acrobatic style of skating.
And opened a new school of figure skating. His performance included complicated
elements, including three-spin jumps.
Norway that suffered from the war failed to send
a strong team. This led to a tough fight for medals. As a result, both
Sweden and Norway won the first place in the medal count with 4 gold, 3
silver and 3 bronze medals each. The United States and Switzerland won
nine medals each (3,4,2).
VTH OLYMPIC GAMES
(ST. MORITZ, SWITZERLAND,
VITH OLYMPIC GAMES
732 sportsmen from 32 countries took part in
the games. New Zealand, Portugal and Federal Germany were the new comers.
The sportsmen competed for 22 sets of medals.
Unlike previous games that were held in small towns,
for the first time Olympic games were held in a capital of a European country,
a favourite country in winter games. It was no surprise that they attracted
a large number of people.
Another two new events were added to the competition
programme and for the first time women took part in skiing races. The first
skiing event for women was ten-kilometer competition. A giant slalom appeared
in the alpine skiing competition.
Unexpectedly, West German sportsmen won the bobsleigh
events, pairs and four- men crew, who took part in the winter games for
the first time but defeated Americans.
The 25th place of the French figure skater Allen
Gillette was the most curious event at the games. He was the youngest sportsmen
ever took part in winter Olympics. He was only 12 years and five months
when he participated in the competition.
In the medal count Norway was in the first place
with 16 medals (7 gold, 3 silver and 6 bronze) and the United States was
in the second place with 11 medals (4 gold, 6 silver and 1 bronze). Finland
came third with three gold, four silver and two bronze medals.
(OSLO, NORWAY, 1952)
VIITH WINTER OLYMPIC
924 sportsmen from 33 countries took part in
the games and the Soviet Union, German Democratic Republic, Bolivia and
Iran were the countries that attended the winter Olympics for the first
time. They competed for 24 sets of medals.
The programme was expanded by new disciplines in
skiing. Men started to compete in the 30-kilometer race and women in 3x5
kilometer relay. The men’s 18-kilometer skiing race was shortened by three
The first Russian Olympic champion Nikolai Panin-Kolomensky
who won gold at the summer games in 1908 died a week before the Olympic
games. The younger athletes took up his cause. The appearance of the Soviet
sportsmen changed the balance of strength in both individual competitions
and the medal counts. 53 Soviet sportsmen took part in skiing and skating
events and hockey.
On the 28th of January the Soviet Union acquired
its first gold medal when Lyubov Kozyreva won the 10-kilometer skiing event.
Soviet sportsmen won 2 gold, 2 silver and 3 bronze medals in skiing events.
The most unexpected results came from skating events.
Yevgeny Grishin won 500-meter event with a new world record. In the 1500-meter
competition he won gold with a new world record too. But another Soviet
sportsman Yuri Mikhailov also showed the same result and both shared gold.
Boris Shilkov won the next gold medal in the 3000-meter event. The Soviet
skaters won another silver medal and two bronze medals. The Norway team
could win only two medals, one silver and one bronze though it was the
favourite at the previous Olympics.
The performance of the Soviet hockey team was convincing.
It defeated Americans 4:0 and Canadians 2:0. The best player of the team
was Vsevolod Bobrov, legendary Soviet sportsman who played both football
and hockey equally well. He was the captain of the Russian football team
at the summer Olympics in 1952 and hockey at the winter games in 1956.
Nikolai Puchkov was the goalkeeper of the Soviet hockey team his record
of not allowing Americans and Canadians to score a goal in two matches
remains unbroken until now. In 1956 this was considered fantastic. This
created a strong impression on architects and sculptures who built a small
stadium “Marti” in Milan. The stadium edged with eight-meter high marble
statues that symbolize the most popular 32 sports. One is a sculpture to
The Russian word Shaibu was for the first time heard
at the winter Olympics in Italy. This word was introduced by writer Lev
Kassil who attended the games as a member of the Soviet delegation. Once
on the way to stadium to watch a hockey match participating the Soviet
team he told his colleagues, writers and journalists, who arrived in Italy
with him that the supporters of all teams except the Soviet have their
own expression to cheer their team. He proposed to recite “Shaibu!
Shaibu!” when the Soviet team scored goals. This is how the mot popular
sport expression in Russia appeared.
The Soviet team won 16 medals (7 gold, 3 silver and
6 bronze) and won the first place. Austria came second with 11 medals (4,
3, 4) and Finland won the third place with 7 (3, 3, 1). Norway could won
only 4 medals (2, 1. 1).
(CORTINA D’AMPEZZO, ITALY, 1956)
665 sportsmen from 31 countries attended the Olympics
and they competed for 29 sets of gold medals.
For the first time the games were held at a venue
that is situated at a record height of 1889 meters above sea level. For
comparison, the venue of the 19th Olympics, Salt Lake City is situated
500 meters below this valley.
Like in the games 28 years ago the 8th Olympics were
marked by the reduction the number of sportsmen compared with the previous
one. It also marked by a scandal provoked by the elimination of the bobsleigh
event. The reason for this was the lack of money to build the track. The
American government refused to give additional money and the organizers
put the International Olympic Committee in a awkward position.
The Olympic programme was expanded by adding biathlon.
For the first time technical achievements were used at the games. The IBM
company installed computer RAMC 305 to analyze information and it had archive
date on punch cards and a centralized printing system. This made easy to
The opening ceremony was a real play involving a
many people. The scenario was written by the famous Hollywood director
Walt Disney. It included fireworks, 2 500 strong chorus, two thousand pigeons,
cannon fire and the descending of Maid Lawrence from the hill little Papuz
accompanied by eight skiers with a torch in hand.
The first biathlon gold was won by Clas Lestander
and from third to sixth places were occupied by four Soviet sportsmen.
Like in the previous Olympics the Soviet skaters
performed excellently and won six events out of 8. They also won 3 silver
and 3 bronze medals. Two times Olympic Champion Yegeny Grishin and Lidia
Skoblikova who set a new world record in 1500-meter event twice won gold
In the medal count the Soviet team won the first
place with 21 medals. Among the medal winners were skiers, skaters, biathlonists,
competitors in the Nordic combined and hokey players. The soviet sportsmen
won 7 gold medals, 5 silver and 9 bronze. The united team of West Germany
and German Democratic Republic came second with 8 medals(4,3,1). The United
States won 10 medals(3,4,3).
VIIITH WINTER OLYMPIC
(SCOW VALLEY THE UNITED STATES, 1960)
IXth WINTER OLYMPIC GAMES
1111 sportsmen from 37 countries took part in the
games and they competed for 34 sets of medals.
Innsbruck was prepared nicely for the competitions
and record number of sportsmen took part in them. Programme was expanded
with luge. Despite opposition that the sport is dangerous it was included
in the programme.
But the warm weather complicated the competition
and a special service had to bring 15 thousand cubic meters of snow and
spread on bobsleigh and alpine skiing tracks.
The hero of the Olympics was the Soviet women skater
Lidia Skoblikova who won four gold medals for the first time in the Olympic
history. At the Scow Valley games she won 1500-meter and 3000-meter events
but this time she won 500-meter and 1000-meter events too. The Austrian
team that came second in the medal count won only four gold medals. Lidia
Skoblikova is the only woman in the world who won six gold medals in skating
events. She is the only woman to win all four skating events in a single
Olympic games. She was known as the “queen on ice”, while journalists called
her “lightening on the ice”. Skating on natural ice rinks ended in Innsbruck.
By the time many artificial ice rinks were built in several countries in
Last time the Soviet hokey team won bronze but this
time it defeated all teams and won gold. They scored 73 goals in eight
matches and let through only 11 goals.
The victory of Lyudmila Belousova and Andrei Protopov
in figure skating can be considered historical. Since then the Soviet pairs
and later Russian pairs won gold medals at all Olympics: Belousova-Protopov(1964
and 1968) Rodnina-Ulanov (1972), Rodnina-Zaitsev( 1976 and 1980). Valova-Vasiliev
(1984), Gordeeva-Grinkov (1988), Mishkutenok-Dmitriev (1992), Gordeeva-Grinkov
(1994) and Kazakova-Dmitriev (1998).
The Soviet team won 23 medals (10 gold, 8 silver
and 5 bronze) and won the first place in medal count. The second place
was won by Austria with 12 medals (4,5,3) and Norway the third place with
15 medals( 3,6,6).
(INNSBRUCK, AUSTRIA, 1964)
XTH WINTER OLYMPIC GAMES
1158 sportsmen from 37 countries competed for 35
sets of medals.
Federal Germany and German Democratic Republic attended
the games as individual countries. Federal Germany won 7 medals, 2 gold,
2 silver and 3 bronze, and GDR 5 medals (1,2,2).
In 1968 IOC allowed the skiers for the first time
to use advertising labels for commercial purposes.
French Alpine skier Jean-Claude Killi won three gold
medals and became the hero of both Olympics and the country. His victory
in all three disciplines decorated the Olympics. Only A. Zailer could achieve
a similar success.
The victory of Vladimir Beloysov in sky jump was
sensational and this is the only time the Soviet and Russian teams won
this event. He defeated Yuri Rask of Czechoslovakia and Lars Grini of Norway.
The Soviet biathlonists won the relay. The team included
the prominent sportsman Alexander Tikhanov. 1968 was the start of his great
achievement of winning gold medals in four Olympics at stretch that has
been neither surpassed or repeated. He was planned to participate in skiing
competitions but just before the Olympics he changed the discipline accidentally
by shooting at the targets (five out of five) in the presence of the coach
of biathlonists Alexander Privalov.
As a whole the performance of the Soviet team was
not so successful compared to the results of the previous Olympics. They
lost their positions in skiing and skating events. After 16-year break
Norway headed the medal count with 14 medals (6 gold, 6 silver and 6 bronze).
The Soviet Union won the second place with 11 medals (5,4,2) and France
was in the third place with 9 medals (4,3,2).
(GREENOBLE, FRANCE 1968)
1006 sportsmen from 35 countries competed for 34
sets of medals. The Philippines debuted the Olympic games. Japan was the
first Asian country to host Winter Olympic Games. It did not count on successful
performance of its team since it had no much experience in such competitions.
Earlier, it won only one silver medal. The main task of the games was to
show Japan’s social and economic achievements in the past decades.
Nevertheless, Japanese sportsmen made a surprise
by winning all three place in the 70-meter sky-jump. Yukino Kasya, Akitsugu
Konno and Seizhi Aochi occupied the all places on the pedestal. Since then
Japanese sportsmen have become the leaders in this discipline.
Another unexpected result of the games was the second
place in medal count won by the GDR team. Sportsmen and women from GDR
won 14 medals.
Again the Soviet Union won the first place in medal
count. Soviet sportsmen won medals in skiing, biathlon, figure skating,
skating and hokey. Byacheslav Vedenin became the hero of the Soviet team
by winning two gold and a bronze medals. In the 4x10 kilometer skiing relay
he ran the last lap. When he started the race the Russian team lagging
behind the Norwegian team by almost one minute. Russian coach understood
that Vedenin could not catch the Norwegian since the gap was quite big.
In these circumstances his task was at least help him not to miss the second
place. But Vedenin came first nine second before the Norwegian.
The Soviet team won 16 medals (8 gold, 5 silver and
3 bronze). GDR won 14 medals (4,3,7) and Switzerland 10 (4,3,3).
XIITH WINTER OLYMPIC
One thousand one hundred and twenty-three athletes
from 37 countries competed for the 36 complex of medals on offer.
Innsbruck got a second chance of hosting Olympic
games by accident. The 69th session of the International Olympic committee
had awarded the 1976 games to the American city of Denver but the authorities
of the city citing the result of a referendum in the state of Colorado
in 1972 declined hosting the Olympics prompting a number of cities to offer
to host the games. Among the nations were Innsbruck and Shamoni. The Olympic
committee picked Innsbruck due to its excellent handling of the 1964 games.
For the first time ice dancing was included in the
program of figure skating and the Soviet pair of Lyudmila Pakhova and Alexander
Gorshov won the ice dancing event. The Soviet pair of Irina Rodnina
and Alexander Zaitsev won for the 4th time the pair skating thus continuing
the tradition of Soviet sportsmen and women.
In Innsbruck Soviet athletes won 27 medals excelling
in biathlon, speed skating, skiing, figure skating and hockey. The speed
skaters won more medals than others 9 in all including 4 gold,2 silver
and 3 bronze.
The Soviet team won 13 gold,6 silver and 8 bronze
beating the GDR team into second position with 19 medals in all including
7 gold,5 silver and 7 bronze. The United States was 3rd with 10 medals:
3 gold, 3 silver and 4 bronze.
(INNSBRUCK AUSTRIA 1976)
One thousand two hundred and eighty-three athletes
from 49 countries vied for the 38 complex of medals on offer.
The 1980 games were held in an atmosphere of serious
confrontation between the Soviet Union and America. The Jimmy Carter administration
in the US was engineering a boycott campaign of the summer Olympics in
Moscow. Moreover the government of the United States was lukewarm to the
lake Placid games leading to weak preparations for that year’s winter games.
By the decision of the organizers of the games the local prison was converted
into the Olympic village the first time that a prison had been used to
house athletes. Rooms for the sportsmen and women were prison cells offering
little space but bare concrete floors. The interior, if that’s an
appropriate description, created an appalling impression. In a word it
was impossible for the athletes to have a rest inside the cells. But all
the discomforts didn’t dampen the athletes enthusiasm and competition was
The hero of the Lake Placid games was the American
speed skater Erick Haiden who won all 5 distances, a phenomenal achievement.
Mr. Haiden’s feat was impressive not only because he won such a large number
of medals but also because he won in virtually incompatible distances from
the sprint to the typical endurance distance. Mr. Haiden also achieved
good result in cycling and in 1985 he became champion of the US among
professionals while in 1986 he took part in the Tour de France race.
The sensation of the Lake Placid games was the performance
of the Soviet skier Nikolai Zimyatov. Before the start of the 30 kilometre
race nearly all experts forecast a run-away victory for Swedish or Norwegian
athletes but Zimyatov making his debut in Olympic games confounded all
the forecasts by winning the race and a few days later he tripled his success
by winning gold medals in the 50 kilomere race as well as in the 4 by 10
The victory of the American hockey team was unexpected.
Composed mainly of University undergraduates the US team won the gold medal.
For the 4th successive time the Soviet Union won
the biathlon race and for the 4th time Alexander Tihonov was a member of
the winning team. The lake Placid games represented the acme of his outstanding
sport career and nobody has been able since to garner 4 gold medals in
4 successive Olympics. Tihonov’s record has not been equaled let alone
broken by any other athlete in winter sport.
One other record was set at the lake Placid games.
Carl-Erick Erickson a 53-year old man from Sweden became the first
to take part in 6 winter Olympic games.
The Soviet Union team topped the medal table winning
22 medals including 10 gold 6 silver, and 6 bronze. Second was the GDR
team which won more medals 23 but fewer gold medals. It won 9 gold, 7 silver
and 7 bronze. The organizer of the lake Placid games the US was 3rd with
6 gold ,4 silver and 2 bronze.
(LAKE PLACID, USA 1980)
XIVTH OLYMPIC GAMES
The 14th winter Olympics in Sarajevo Yugoslavia in
1984 were attended by 1581 sportsmen and women from 49 countries and they
vied for 39 complex of medals. For the first time the number of athletes
exceeded the one and a half thousand mark.
The Sarajevo games were held in an atmosphere of
increasing political tension with the cold war reaching its peak. The then
US president Ronald Reagan had called the Soviet Union the evil empire
and the later had already taken a decision to boycott the summer Olympics
scheduled to take place in Los Angeles.
Like in previous games the Soviet Union and GDR teams
dominated the Sarajevo Olympics. In all the events the Soviet team
battled for medals while the GDR team fought hard to excel in their traditional
events of speed skating, Bob sleigh, Luge, women figure skating and ski
The GDR team was luckier winning gold in virtually
all the events they entered. In Bob sleigh the East German team won gold
and silver in the two-man and four man events. They repeated the same feat
in women speed skating and they won hands down in the 500, 1000, and 1500
metre races. The GDR team swept the board in the women luge competition.
The Soviet Union team was less lucky. The team won
more medals than the East Germans but fewer gold medals.
The heroine of the Sarajevo games was the Finnish
athlete Maria-Lisa Hyamyalainen who won all the 3 individual pursuit distances
as well as a bronze in the relay race. The Swedish sportsman Gunde Swaan
was the most outstanding among the male athlete winning the 15 kilometre
and a second gold in the relays as well as gold in the 30 and 50 kilometre
For the 5th time in succession the Soviet team won
the pair skating when Yelena Valova and Oleg Vasilyev came tops.
The GDR team topped the medal table with 24 medals
- 9 gold, 9 silver and 6 bronze; the Soviet team was 2nd with 25 - 6 gold,
10 silver and 9 bronze. And for the 3rd time in succession the US came
3rd with 8 medals- 4 gold and 4 silver.
XVTH OLYMPIC GAMES
The 15th games in Calgary, Canada were attended by
1634 sportsmen and women from 57 nations and they competed for 46 complex
The American continent hosted the Olympics for the
4th time and for the first time a Canadian city played the host. Calgary
had bided unsuccessfully for the right to host the Olympics in the past
and hence the awarding of the 15th games to Canada was received with acclaim
by inhabitants of Calgary and the organizers of the games did everything
possible to make the games memorable. A new track for Bob Sleigh and luge
having 14 bends and 2 chutes one for Bob sleigh and the other for luge
was built. A refrigerating unit was constructed under the track to keep
the ice in perfect condition for competition even in a plus 20 degrees
Celsius temperature .
For the first time 4 new Alpine ski events were included
in the Olympic games. They were the slalom and super giant slalom
for both men and women as well as the Nordic combined. Team competition
in ski jumping, team Nordic combined as well as the 5000 metres speed skating
The Soviet team was very successful in Calgary winning
a record number of medals 29 in all. The biathlonists, the Bob Sleigh athletes,
speed skaters, Nordic combined athletes, the skiers, the luge sportsmen,
the figure skaters and the hockey team all hauled in medals.
The skiers were particularly successful winning 15
medals including 5 gold. The women hauled in more gold in the relays and
in the 10 and 20 kilometre races capping their performance by sweeping
the board in the 20 kilometre distance.
Natalya Bestemyanova and Andrei Bukin won gold in
ice dancing. From 1985 to 1988 the pair won the world and European championship
in which they participated. They were the clear favorites in the Olympic
games and their victory didn’t raise eyebrows.
The Finish ski jumper Marti Nyukanen was in a class
of his own. A three time Olympic champion he won the 70 metres and 90 metres
jumps as well as in the relay in which he was the anchor leg of his
team. Finland won all the gold medals in the team events.
The Soviet Union reclaimed its traditional first
position after the Sarajevo poor performance winning 29 medals in all including
11 gold, 9 silver and 9 bronze. East Germany which won the last games
came second winning 25 medals including , 9 gold, 10 silver and 6 bronze.
Switzerland which did very well in the Alpine events came 3rd with
15 medals – 5 gold 5 silver and 5 bronze.
(Calgary, Canada, 1988)
XVITH OLYMPIC GAMES
The 16th winter games in Alberville, France in 1992
was attended by 1804 athletes from 65 countries vying for 57 complex of
The increase in the number of events from 46 in Canada
to 57 in France was the most significant in the history of winter games.
The games in Alberville were swelled by 15 new events and debuting were
the women 3 by 7,5 kilometre biathlon relay, the 7,5 and 15 kilometre races,
the women 30 kilometre ski pursuit race instead of the 20 kilometre distance.
There were equally the 1000 and 5000 metres short trek races for men, the
500 and 3000 metre relays for women; there was the free style mogul, the
120 metre ski jumping in place of the former 70 metres and the curling
event. Free style acrobatics and ballet were included in the Alberville
games as demonstration events and speed skipping was also a demonstration
After the reunification of the 2 Germanys German
athletes to the 16th Olympics competed as a single team as they did in
the Skwo Valley games 32 years ago. Germany immediately became the favorite
since at the Calgary games sportsmen and women from the GDR and FRG together
won a total of 33 medals – 11 gold, 14 silver and 8 bronze.
The opposite was the political development on the
territory of the former Soviet Union. Two months to the Alberville games
the Soviet Union disappeared and it was uncertain which country the athletes
will be representing. In theory Russia was the successor to the Soviet
Union but there were also good sportsmen and women in former republics
of the Union now independent. After lengthy discussion and haggling it
was agreed that the Olympic team of the former Soviet Union should compete
as the unified team of the Commonwealth of Independent States CIS which
was a more sensible decision under the circumstances. But there was a big
minus in that athletes of the former Soviet Union competed under the Olympic
The heroine and hero of the Alberville games were
the Russian Lyubov Yegorova who competed under the CIS unified team and
the Norwegian Vehard Ulwang who won 3 gold medals each. The Norwegian team
won all 4 gold medals in the men ski races and swept the board in the 30
The defeat of the CIS team in the biathlon relay
was a big surprise because until Alberville the Soviet team had won competition
in that distance 6 times. The CIS team was beaten by the German team and
ever since Russia has not again won the biathlon relay race.
The CIS team did very well in figure skating winning
3 of the 4 gold medals at stake and adding gold in the men individual skating
to its traditional victories in the pair skating and dancing events. Victor
Petrenko of the Ukraine won the men skating.
As expected the combined German team topped the medal
table winning 26 medals including 10 gold, 10 silver and 6 bronze. Norway
was 2nd with 9, 6 and 5 and the CIS Team was 3rd haven won
1 silver medal less than Norway.
(Alberville, France, 1992)
XVIITH OLYMPIC GAMES
The winter Olympics in the Norwegian town of Lillehammer
in 1994 brought together 1923 athletes from 67 nations. There were 61 complex
of medals at stake.
By a decision of the International Olympics committee
starting from 1994 the winter games are now being held between the
Olympic games circle.
That is 2 years after the summer Olympics. Thus the
significance of the winter games is being enhanced by separating them from
their summer equivalents.
Winter Olympics are becoming more popular and both
the events and participating countries have been increasing. The number
of competitors at the 17th games was close to 2000.
On the eve of competition the world press was agog
with forecast of rivalry in individual events as well as supremacy
among competing nations. Performances in 1992 and 1993 have put Norwegian
athletes among the hot favorites and indeed Norway has progressed
rather swiftly in winter sports and has restored its seemingly lost position
in 1956 after the debut of the Soviet Union in Olympic competition closely
followed by the German Democratic Republic. Prospects for athletes from
the territories of the former Soviet Union were considered bleak and sport
experts had forecast a dismal performance for Russian athletes not to mention
sportsmen and women from the Ukraine, Belarussia, Kazakhstan and other
Fortunately those gloomy predictions didn’t come
to pass. The games in Lillehammer were the first in which sportsmen and
women from the former Soviet Union competed under their own flag and of
course Russia had the largest contingent and as a result won more gold
medals. Athletes from Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Belarussia also
did well winning various medals. Altogether athletes from the former Soviet
Union won 31 medals including 14 gold,12 silver and 5 bronze.
Free style acrobatics was included in the winter
games for the first time in 1994. Free style made its debut in the Alberville
games but medals were awarded only in the mogul. Acrobatics was only a
demonstration event. The first champion in the new Olympic discipline was
the Uzbek athlete Lina Cheryazova.
The Russian Lyubov Yegorova again like in Alberville
won 3 gold medals in the 5 and 10 kilometres classical races as well as
in the 4 by 5 kilometre relay. Of a special mention is the victory of the
Kazakh sportsman Vladimir Smirnov in the 50 kilometre marathon. He left
all his rivals far behind finishing one and a half minutes ahead of the
The Russian pair of Yekaterina Gordeyeva and Sergei
Grinkov won for the second time the pair skating competition. Beginning
from the 1964 games in Innsbruck Russian skaters have been winning gold
in the pair event.
The Russian team won 23 medals including 11 gold,
8 silver and 4 bronze to top the medal table while Norway came second with
26- 10,11 and 5. Germany was third with 24 medals – 9,7 and 8.
(Norway, Lillehammer, 1994)
XVIIITH OLYMPIC GAMES
The Nagano games of 1998 saw 2338 athletes from 72
countries vying for honours and a share of the 68 complex of medals. For
the first time there were more than 2 thousands sportsmen and women competing
in the winter Olympics.
The Russian team to Nagano achieved the poorest result
in relation to other competing nations since it started taking part in
the winter Olympics including under the flag of the Soviet Union as well
as part of the CIS unified team But all the same the team won 9 gold medals.
Russian women athletes did better than the men especially
in the skiing events. They won all the ski distance races winning not only
gold but also silver leaving just 3 medals to rivals. Larisa Lazutina was
outstanding in Nagano climbing the victory podium at the end of each race.
She won 3 gold 2 in the individual pursuit, one in the relay as well as
silver and bronze medals. She became a heroine. She didn’t know that on
her return to Russia she will be bestowed with a medal as precious as gold.
By a presidential decree Larisa Lazutina was decorated with the hero of
The Russian pair of Oksana Kazakova and Arthur Dmitryev
continued the tradition of gold winning by Russia begun in the
1964 Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria. Since then figure skaters from the
Soviet Union and later Russia have continued to dominate in that event
at the Olympic games. In Nagano Russian figure skaters won 3 gold and 2
silver medals. Oksana Grishuk and Yevgeny Platov won the dancing competition
while Ilya Kulik won the men individual skating. The Nagano games were
marked by records in speed skating due to the use of new types of skates
enabling skaters to achieve high speed. Unfortunately Russian athletes
were not equipped with the new skates and the result was glaring. They
were left stranded.
Germany topped the medal table winning 29 medals
including 12 gold, 9 silver and 8 bronze. Norway was 2nd with 25 medals
of 10.10 and 5 while Russia placed 3rd with 18 medals including 9 gold,6
silver and 3 bronze.
(JAPAN, NAGANO, 1998)