19. Olympic Winter Games
Olympic Medals in the games of 2002 in Salt Lake City
234 Medals in 15 Sports in 78 Events
From February 8th to 24th, Salt Lake City was the eighth host of the Olympic Games. This is a record, France is second with five games. Only five months earlier, on September 9, 2001, there were terrorist attacks on the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Arlington. Therefore, these games were characterized by increased security measures. The presence of the police and military created a tense, uncomfortable atmosphere. All athletes were screened by the FBI and the CIA, and many international teams complained. There was complete silence at the start of the opening ceremony when an American flag found in the ruins of the World Trade Center was carried into the stadium. Five local Indian tribes were also involved in this celebration.
The Norwegian Ole Einar Bjørndalen was at the height of his Olympic career, which had started in Nagano in 1998 and was to continue in Sochi until 2014. He won all four gold medals in biathlon, a performance similar to that achieved by the American in 1980 in Lake Placid in speed skating by winning all five competitions. Einar Bjørndalen should still have eight gold medals. The Finn Samppa Lajunen also won all competitions of his sport: three times gold in the Nordic combination.
No less impressive is the performance of the Korean skier Janica Kostelic, who won three gold medals and one silver medal. Not even Toni Sailer and Jean-Claude Killy came close to this achievement, but in their time there were only three instead of five competitions in alpine skiing. Another record was set by Norwegian Kjetil André Aamodt. He won two gold medals in alpine skiing, making him the most successful alpine skier at the Olympic Games in 2002 with three gold, two silver and one bronze medals. Four years later, a fourth gold medal was to be added.
Johann Mühlegg, a German who started for Spain, was the big star of cross-country skiers. He had won gold in cross-country skiing in the 20km pursuit, over 30km freestyle and in the final 50km race in the classic style. But the bomb exploded a few hours before the closing ceremony! The big star was doped with EPO! A huge scandal! The media compared his case to that of Ben Johnson at the 1988 Seoul Games. Mühlegg was disqualified, the accepted gold medals were reassigned and new athletes also took the silver and bronze medals. It turned out that the Norwegians Frode Estil and Thomas Alsgård became Olympic champions in the 2x10km Skiathlon because they crossed the finish line 28 seconds behind the doubled Mühlegg.
The 10km cross-country skiing pursuit of women was the first competition in Olympic history in which the first and second of the doping were carried out! Russians Olga Danilowa and Larissa Lasutina crossed the line with 24: 52.1 and 24: 59.0 respectively. They were subsequently disqualified for EPO and bronze medalist Beckie Scott from Canada became Olympic champion. Katerina Neumannová and Viola Bauer moved up to the medals. In total, the two Russians were stripped of five medals at the 2002 games.
Only in 1928 and 1948 were skeleton competitions held. In 2002 this sport became Olympic again. Jim Shea from the USA won the race in the ice channel. In 1932 in Lake Placid, his grandfather was already a two-time Olympic speed skating champion, and his father was a participant in Innsbruck in 1964.
There was a curiosity in the Chinese short track team. They had two runners named Yang Yang. Since one was born in August 1976 and the other in September 1977, they were differentiated with the addition (A) for August and (S) for September. Yang Yang (A) was the more successful, she was also the first Chinese Olympic gold medalist at winter games.
Australian Steven Bradbury was just an outsider in the short track. He knew he had no chance against his opponents. Therefore, he voluntarily chose the final position to skate after the others. First, the qualification for the semi-finals over 1000m. Before, the competition fought for every position. As a result, athletes crashed on the last lap and Bradbury qualified for the semi-finals! The same thing happened again in the semi-finals and the Australian was one of the five finalists. A sensation! Bradbury had gotten farther than he dreamed of. The American Apolo Anton Ono was the favorite in the final. Again Steven Bradbury came in last. In the last lap he was already five meters behind the others. In the last lap, an athlete crashed and knocked his three competitors down. Only Bradbury was spared from the fall, thanks to his backlog. He glided past the skaters lying on the ground and won the gold medal. The first for Australia at winter games! You have to be so lucky: Competitors fell in three races and cleared the way for the Olympic victory for the blatant outsider! Apolo Anton Ono reacted fastest: he got up immediately and hurried to the finish line to at least save the silver medal.
Norway won the Nations Cup in Grenoble for the first time since 1968.