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.
    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 tennis.
    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.



    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. 

    (CHAMONIX, FRANCE, 1924)

     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.



     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.



     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.



    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 Canadian players.
    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.



    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 Winter Olympics.
    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).


    (OSLO, NORWAY, 1952)

     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. 


     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 kilometers.
    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 Nikolai Puchkov.
    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). 


    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 conduct competitions. 
    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 medals. 
    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).



    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 the world.
    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).



    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).


    (SAPPORO, JAPAN,1972)

    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). 



    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.


    (LAKE PLACID, USA 1980)

    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 fierce.
    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 kilometre relay.
    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.



    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 jumping.
    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 distances. 
    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.


    (Calgary, Canada, 1988)

    The 15th games in Calgary, Canada were attended by 1634 sportsmen and women from 57 nations and they competed for 46 complex of medals.
    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 for women.
    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.


    (Alberville, France, 1992) 

    The 16th winter games in Alberville, France in 1992 was attended by 1804 athletes from 65 countries vying for 57 complex of medals.
    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 event.
    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 flag.
    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 kilometre race.
    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.


    (Norway, Lillehammer, 1994)

    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 countries.
    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 field. 
    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.


    (JAPAN, NAGANO, 1998)

    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 Russia medal.
    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.
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