To guarantee that all events took place in the best possible conditions, machines were used to produce artificial snow, the first time this had been done at the Olympic Games.
The great Swedish skier Ingemar Stenmark won the giant slalom and the slalom. In both races he was behind on the first run but came back sensationally on the second. Hanni Wenzel did the same in the women’s races, making her nation, Liechtenstein, the smallest country to produce an Olympic champion.
Germany’s Ulrich Wehling won the Nordic combined for the third time, and Russian pairs skater Irina Rodnina achieved the same feat in her event. In the biathlon relay, Aleksandr Tikhonov of the USSR earned his fourth straight gold medal, while his compatriot Nikolay Zimyatov earned three gold medals in cross country skiing.
Five historic golds
American speed skater Eric Heiden won all five speed skating events from 500m all the way up to 10,000m, setting an Olympic record in every one. He became the first person in Olympic history to win five gold medals in individual events at the same Games.