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Snowboarding debuted as an official discipline. Curling returned to the Olympic Winter programme, this time with a tournament for both men and women.
For the first time, the men’s ice hockey tournament was opened to all professionals, and women’s ice hockey was introduced to the Olympic programme. The inspired team from the Czech Republic scored a surprise victory.
Björn Dählie of Norway won three gold medals in Nordic skiing to become the first athlete to earn eight career Winter Olympic gold medals and 12 medals in all. Tara Lipinski of the US won the women’s figure skating title to become, at 15, the youngest champion in an individual event at the Olympic Winter Games.
The spirit of the Games was exemplified by Alpine skier Hermann Maier of Austria. He took a spectacular fall in the downhill, flying off the slope at 120km/h and remaining air-bound for more than 3.5 seconds. He courageously recovered to earn gold medals in both the super-G and the giant slalom.
Athletes: 2,176 (787 women, 1,389 men)
Media: 8, 329 (2,586 written press, 5,743 broadcasters)
Azerbaijan, Kenya, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Uruguay and Venezuela took part in the Olympic Winter Games.
For the first time, professional players from the National Hockey League (NHL, USA) participated.
A 50% discount on all regular Olympic tickets were offered for all schoolchildren.
Official staff uniforms were made from fully recyclable materials.
Originally included for men at the Olympic Winter Games in 1924, curling made its return to the official sports programme in Nagano, where both a men’s and a women’s event were contested.
Snowboard became a new discipline with both men’s and women’s events in giant slalom and halfpipe being contested.
Women took part in ice hockey for the first time in Olympic history.
7 February 1998. Opening Ceremony. Dancers and the planet Earth.
Official opening of the Games by:
His Majesty the Emperor Akihito
Lighting of the Olympic Flame by:
Midori Ito (figure skating)
Olympic Oath by:
Kenji Ogiwara (Nordic combined)
Officials' Oath by:
Junko Hiramatsu (figure skating)
A flower, with each petal representing an athlete practising a winter sport, and which can also be seen as a snowflake symbolising the Olympic Winter Games. The emblem is also evocative of a mountain flower, emphasising Nagano's commitment to the environment, and was thus named Snowflower. The dynamic nature of this vivid and colourful picture foreshadowed the enthusiastic atmosphere in which the Games took place, and symbolised their brilliance throughout the world.
To convey local characteristics the medals were created in lacquer (Kiso lacquer). The decoration technique adopted was embossed gilding (or Maki-e), with so-called shippoyaki (i.e. cloisonné techniques) and precision metalswork. The obverse represents the rising sun in Maki-e, surrounded by olive branches and accompanied by the emblem in cloisonné. The reverse is mainly in lacquer. It represents the emblem of the Games in Maki-e, with the sun rising over the Shinshu mountains. The lacquered parts were done individually by artists from the Kiso region. The medals had a diameter of 80mm with a thickness of 9,7mm; the gold medal weighed 256g, the sliver 250g and the bronze 230g.
Owls Sukki, Nokki, Lekki and Tsukki are also known as the Snowlets. “Snow” recalls the winter season, during which the Games take place, and “lets” refers to “let‟s”, and invitation to join in the Games celebrations. In addition, the first two letters of the four names form the word “snowlets”. “Owlets” means young owls.
Number of torchbearers: 6 901 in Japan and 15 in Greece
Total distance: around 1 162 km in Japan and 150 km in Greece
Countries crossed: Greece, Japan
Five kinds of official posters and seven sport-specific posters were printed for these Games, In addition, for the first time at the Olympic Winter Games, a special poster was created for the Opening Ceremony. The first poster created was designated as the official poster for the XVIII Olympic Winter Games to be preserved for posterity. It shows a thrush perched on a ski pole with mountains in the light of dawn, evoking the concept of harmony with nature. It was designed by Masuteru Aoba.
“The XVIII Olympic Winter Games: official report Nagano 1998” is composed of three volumes (Planning and support; Sixteen days of glory; Competition results and participants) and a CD-ROM containing the electronic versions of the official report and the film “From around the world: to flower as one”. The official report was published by NAOC in 1999 in three editions: French, English and Japanese.
The roar of the crowd changed the wind for me.
Kazuyoshi Funaki, Ski jumper
The roar of the crowd changed the wind for me.