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Calgary 1988

Debuts and firsts

For the first time, the Winter Games extended to 16 days, including three weekends. The Alpine events were expanded from three to five with the inclusion of the super giant slalom and the Alpine combined. Team events were added in Nordic combined and ski jumping.

Winter and Summer champion

East Germany’s Christa Rothenburger won the 1000m speed skating title. Seven months later she earned a silver medal in cycling to become the only athlete ever to win medals in the Winter and Summer Olympic Games in the same year.

Memorable champions

East German figure skater Katarina Witt defended her Olympic title, while American Brian Boitano edged out Canada’s Brian Orser in an extremely close decision in the men’s competition. Charismatic Italian skier Alberto Tomba made the most of his Olympic debut, winning both the giant slalom and the slalom.

Flying Finn

Finnish ski jumper Mat Nykänen dominated both individual events, winning both by huge margins. This made him the first ski jumper to win two gold medals at the same Games. He then led the Finnish team to victory in the large hill team event and brought his career total to four gold medals and one silver medal.

NOCs: 57
Athletes: 1,423 (301 women, 1,122 men)
Events: 46
Volunteers: 9,498
Media: 6,838 (2,477 written press, 4,361 broadcasters)

For the first time in Canada

Canada hosted the Olympic Winter Games for the first time.

More Events

The number of events increased from 39 in Sarajevo to 46 in Calgary - notably in Alpine skiing, where the super giant slalom was on the programme for the first time and the Nordic combined returned to the programme (absent since 1948).

The Artificial Snow

The Alpine events took place on artificial snow.

Demonstration Sport

Curling appeared on the programme as a demonstration sport.

Demonstration Disciplines

Short-track speed skating and freestyle skiing were two demonstration disciplines.

Speed skating moves indoors

The speed skating events were held on a covered rink for the first time.

The Athletes and the Spectators side-by-side

The athletes, the real heroes of the Games, could sit in the stands next to the spectators. No smoking The first Smoke-Free Games were held.


Calgary, 13 February 1988. Opening Ceremony at the MacMahon Stadium. The Olympic Flag.

Official opening of the Games by:
Her Excellency, the Right Honourable Jeanne Sauvé, Governor General of Canada, declared the XV Olympic Winter Games open.

Lighting of the Olympic Flame by:
Robyn Perry, a schoolgirl

Olympic Oath by:
Pierre Harvey (cross country skiing)

Officials' Oath by:
Suzanna Morrow -Francis (figure skating)

Calgary 1988 Emblem

As a reference to the Winter Games, it consists of a stylized snowflake above the Olympic rings. It can also be seen as a stylized maple leaf, the national emblem of Canada. Composed of different letters “C”, for Canada and Calgary, the emblem is rich in symbolism.

Calgary 1988 Medals

On the obverse, the official emblem and the words “XVes Jeux Olympiques d’hiver, XV Olympic Winter Games, Calgary 1988”.

On the reverse, the profile of an athlete crowned with an olive wreath and an Indian with a headdress composed of ski sticks, a bob, skis, skate blades, a stick, a luge and a rifle.

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Calgary 1988 Mascots
Hidy and Howdy

The mascots' names represent the Calgary region's hospitality. Thus Hidy is an extension of “hi”, and Howdy is short for “how do you do”, a typical West American greeting. These names were chosen by a citizens' jury following a contest organised by Calgary Zoo that attracted almost 7,000 entries.

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Calgary 1988 Torch

Number of torchbearers: around 7 000 in Canada
Total distance: 18 000 km in Canada
Countries crossed: Greece, Canada

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Calgary 1988 Poster

View of the city of Calgary, above the Olympic rings, the official emblem and the title "Come Together in Calgary Host City for the XV Olympic Winter Games February 13-28, 1988 Calgary, Alberta, Canada".

Calgary 1988 Coins Calgary 1988 Coins
Calgary 1988  Official Reports

The “XV Olympic Winter Games official report” is a well-structured work that is rich in content. It was published by OCO’88 as a bilingual French/English edition of over 700 pages.

  • Calgary 1988
    • Calgary 1988

      12 Mar 2014 |
      The “XV Olympic Winter Games official report” is a well-structured work that is rich in content. It was published by OCO’88 as a bilingual French/English edition of over 700 pages.



Katarina Witt - Germany


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Calgary 1988-During the event, at the Olympic Saddledome. GORDEEVA Ekaterina and GRINKOV Serguei (RUS) 1st.
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Calgary 1988-Canada Olympic Park. KIPOURS Ianis and KOSLOV Vladimir (RUS-1) 1st.
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Winter Olympics Boitano

CALGARY - FEBRUARY 20: Brian Boitaqno of the USA performs his routine during the men's figure skating competition on February 20, 1988 at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Canada. Boitano won the gold medal. (Photo by: Bob Martin/Getty Images)
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Curling in Calgary 1988

Calgary 1988-During the event, at Max Bell Arena. General view of the ice rink.
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Calgary 1988-During the event, at Canada Olympic Park.
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Calgary 1988-During the event, at the Olympic Oval. BOUCHER Gaetan (CAN) 5th.

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