18. Olympic Winter Games
Olympic Medals in the games of 1998 in Nagano
205 Medals in 14 Sports in 68 Events
Japan hosted the Olympic Games for the third time. Nagano was the city that invited 2,302 athletes from 72 countries to fight for medals in winter sports from February 7th to 22nd. That was a new participant record. Nagano is on the 36th parallel, so far no winter games have taken place so far to the south.
The US broadcaster CBS had secured the TV rights for $ 550 million, 34 years earlier in Tokyo the ABC had bought the rights for a comparably cheap $ 660,000. The commercial development in the IOC can already be recognized from these numbers.
Curling, ice hockey for women, snowboarding in the half pipe and giant slalom were added to the program. Germany was the winner in the medal table, followed by Norway and Russia.
The Austrian alpine skier Hermann Maier provided the sporting and media highlight. He had dominated downhill, Super-G and giant slalom with 11 World Cup races before the games. Downhill was the first of his disciplines on the program. Hermann Maier trained a lot, he was also called "Kraft Maier" thanks to his muscle mountains. Maier was over-motivated, it wanted to be a sovereign downhill Olympic champion because he knew that he could only beat himself. Maier had the starting number 4, after 18 seconds of driving there was an S-curve, where the goal was moved in after the training. He barely braked before the curve, which meant that Maier took off after the second jump and shot 40m horizontally through the air. The photographer Carl Yarbourgh photographed this moment. It was to be the photo of his life. After the first contact with the ground, 5 flashovers followed through and over the safety fences. At first, many thought that Maier would not have survived this fall. But then he got up and waved to the audience. Without his muscle mass, Maier would probably not only have gotten off with a painful knee and shoulder bruise and a capsule stretch in the knee. The fact that Frenchman Jean-Luc Cretier, who had never won a World Cup race before, became Olympic champion was a side note. 14 racers were eliminated from the same goal as Maier.
The next day the Super-G was scheduled, but wind prevented a race. The program was changed. Maier bit through the medical tests. Three days later, he won the Super-G. When asked what he had thought before the start of the interview, he replied: "If I win now, I'm immortal." Arnold Schwarzenegger, the terminator's actor, congratulated him. After his second victory in giant slalom, he was named after the terminator "Herminator" awarded.
Nordic cross-country superstar Bjørn Dæhlie took part in the Winter Olympics for the third time and won gold medals six, seven and eight. At that time, Dæhlie was the most successful athlete at the Olympic Winter Games with 8 gold and 4 silver medals. He won over 10km and waited 20 minutes for the Kenyan Philip Boit, who finished 92nd and last after numerous falls. But since it was the first African in an Olympic cross-country skiing competition, it was particularly important for Dæhlie to congratulate him first.
The only 1.48m tall American Tamara Lipinski was only 15 years old when she did the best free skating with great jumps and became the youngest Olympic champion in figure skating for women.
The Canadian Ross Rebagliati narrowly won the giant slalom snowboard race on the first day of the competition, although he was only eighth in the first race. Traces of cannabis were found in his drug test. Rebagliati claimed not to have stoned himself, but he had passively smoked his friends' joints at his farewell party. Cannabis was on the IOC doping list, but not one of the FIS regulations. Rebagliati was arrested by the Japanese police on suspicion of smuggling drugs into the country and released after several hours of interrogation. Due to the lack of a legal basis, he was allowed to keep his medal. In the following years, he advocated the legalization of cannabis, in 2013 it was released for medical purposes by the Canadian government. Rebagliati founded companies selling cannabis.