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Oslo 1952 - Overview

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The Games come home

When Oslo triumphed ahead of Cortina d'Ampezzo and Lake Placid to host the 1952 Games the warm glow of satisfaction from the Scandinavian camp could be felt in winter sports resorts around the world.

As far as the Norwegians were concerned the Games were finally about to be held where they should have been held back in 1924 when the first tentative chapters in Winter Olympic history were written.

The Nordic Games, an event involving Scandinavian countries, had been held in Scandinavia long before the Olympic movement began scratching its head over its own winter sporting event.

A sign that the Scandinavian arm was wrapped protectively around the tournament came right at the start as the Olympic flame was lit not in Greece (as it was for the Summer Games) but in Morgedal, the home town of Sondre Nordheim, considered by many as the founding father of modern skiing.

The torch was carried more than 200km in a relay by 94 skiers to the Bislett Olympic stadium in Oslo where the flame was lit by Egil Nansen, grandson of one of the world's greatest explorers, Fridtjof Nansen.

Button sews up second straight gold

Germany and Japan found themselves back in the fold after their enforced absence in 1948, part of a total contingent made up of 694 athletes including 109 women, a record.

The Norwegians had a field day as usual, dominating most events as they had dominated them in each tournament since the games began (apart from the 1932 competition in Lake Placid where the Americans took the lion's share of the medals).

Norway won 16 in all, including 7 gold medals, easily leaving the US team (eleven medals, four gold) in their wake.

The most outstanding performance of the Games came from the Norwegian Hjalmar Andersen who won three gold medals in the 1500, 5000 and 10,000m speed skating races.

The Italian lumberjack Zeno Colo pushed the two Austrians Othmar Schneider and Christian Pravda into the shade in the men's downhill, while in the women's event Trude Jochum-Beiser triumphed to give Austria some reason to cheer.

The American skier Andrea Mead Lawrence achieved a magnificent double in the slalom and the newly introduced giant slalom, which had replaced the combined event.

Dick Button hit the jackpot again in the figure skating, winning his second consecutive gold medal and also performing the first ever triple loop.

Copyright 2008 Agence France-Presse.