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1998 Winter Olympic Games

Olympic Winter Games
The emblem represents a flower, with each petal representing an athlete practicing a different winter sport. It can also be seen as a snowflake, thus the name "Snowflower" was given to it.
Host city Nagano, Japan
Motto Coexistence with the Nature
Nations participating 72
Athletes participating 2,176 (1,389 men, 787 women)[1]
Events 72 in 15 sports
Opening ceremony 7 February
Closing ceremony 22 February
Officially opened by Emperor Akihito
Athlete's Oath Kenji Ogiwara
Judge's Oath Junko Hiramatsu
Olympic Torch Midori Ito
Stadium Olympic Stadium

The 1998 Winter Olympics, officially the XVIII Olympic Winter Games, was a winter multi-sport event celebrated from 7 to 22 February 1998 in Nagano, Japan. Seventy-two nations and 2,176 participants contested in seven sports and 72 events at 15 venues. The Games saw the introduction of women's ice hockey, curling and snowboarding. National Hockey League players were allowed to participate in the men's ice hockey.

The host was selected on June 15, 1991 over Salt Lake City, Östersund, Jaca and Aosta. They were the third Olympic Games and second winter Olympics to be held in Japan, after the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo and the 1972 Winter Olympics in Sapporo. The games were succeeded by the 1998 Winter Paralympics from 5 to 14 March.

Bjørn Dæhlie won three gold medals in cross-country skiing, making him the most-winning Winter Olympic competitor ever. Alpine skier Hermann Maier survived a fall in the downhill and went on to win gold in the super-G and giant slalom. Netherlands won five of the ten speed skating events, including two each by Gianni Romme and Marianne Timmer. Canada beat Denmark in the women's curling final, securing the latter their first Winter Olympic medal ever.

Host city selection

Main article: Bids for the 1998 Winter Olympics

Other candidate cities for the 1998 Olympics were Aosta, Italy; Jaca, Spain; Östersund, Sweden; and Salt Lake City, United States. The host city selection was held in Birmingham, United Kingdom, on 15 June 1991, at the 97th IOC session. Nagano prevailed over Salt Lake City by just 4 votes.

1998 Winter Olympics bidding results[2]
City Country Round 1 Round 2 (Run-off) Round 3 Round 4 Round 5
Nagano  Japan 21 30 36 46
Salt Lake City  United States 15 59 27 29 42
Östersund  Sweden 18 25 23
Jaca  Spain 19 5
Aosta  Italy 15 29


  • Women's ice hockey was contested at the Olympic Games for the first time ever, and the United States beat the Canadians 3–1 for the gold medal. United States went undefeated in the women's tournament. The Czech Republic defeated Russia by a score of 1–0 for the men's gold medal, while Finland won both the men's and women's bronze medals for ice hockey.
  • Cross-country skier Bjørn Dæhlie of Norway won three gold medals in Nordic skiing to become the first winter Olympian to earn eight career gold medals and twelve total medals.
  • Curling returned as an official sport, after having been demoted to a demonstration event after the inaugural Winter Games in Chamonix in 1924.
  • Snowboarding debuted as an official sport.
  • Players from the NHL were able to compete in men's ice hockey due to a three-week suspension of the NHL season.
  • Tara Lipinski, 15, narrowly beat Michelle Kwan in women's figure skating to become the youngest champion in an individual event in the history of the Winter Olympics.
  • Alpine skier Hermann Maier (Austria) survived a fall in the downhill and went on to gold in the super-g and giant slalom.
  • Speed skaters Gianni Romme and Marianne Timmer won two gold medals each for the Netherlands; 5 out of 10 titles in speed skating went to the Netherlands.
  • Snowboarder Ross Rebagliati (Canada) won the gold medal, after initially being disqualified for testing positive for marijuana.
  • Azerbaijan, Kenya, the Republic of Macedonia, Uruguay, and Venezuela made their first appearance at the Olympic Winter Games.
  • Denmark won their first winter Olympic medal (and only one to date) when they won a silver medal in the women's curling event.
  • Australia won their first individual Winter Olympic medal when Zali Steggall won bronze in the women's slalom.



Main article: Venues of the 1998 Winter Olympics


  • Hakuba Ski Jumping Stadium: Nordic combined (ski jumping), Ski jumping
  • Happo'one Resort: Alpine skiing (Downhill, Super G, combined)
  • Snow Harp, Kamishiro: Cross-country skiing, Nordic combined (cross-country skiing)





  • Nozawa Onsen Ski Resort: Biathlon


Medal count

(Host nation is highlighted.)

Rank Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total
1 Germany 12 9 8 29
2 Norway 10 10 5 25
3 Russia 9 6 3 18
4 Canada 6 5 4 15
5 United States 6 3 4 13
6 Netherlands 5 4 2 11
8 Austria 3 5 9 17
9 South Korea 3 1 2 6
10 Italy 2 6 2 10

Participating National Olympic Committees

72 nations participated in the 1998 Winter Olympic Games. The nations Azerbaijan, Kenya, Macedonia, Uruguay, and Venezuela participated in their first Winter Olympic Games.

Participating National Olympic Committees

The following 14 countries registered to take part, but eventually did not send a team.[3]

See also

Olympics portal


  • Downloadable PDF: Appendix, retrieved on 17 January 2010.

External links

Preceded by
Winter Olympics

XVIII Olympic Winter Games (1998)
Succeeded by
Salt Lake City

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