1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano

This Nagano Olympics was the most massive of the previous Winter Games in terms of number of athletes and participating countries. 72 countries and more than 2,300 athletes participated. On the eve of the Games, the UN General Assembly called on countries to suspend all internal and international conflicts. The emblem of the Olympics was a snowflake flower with representatives of a particular sport depicted on each petal.

The main surprise of these competitions was a 5-magnitude earthquake that occurred on February 20. Fortunately, none of the Olympians were injured. An important development was the agreement between the NHL and the IOC, which allowed athletes from the strongest hockey league to compete at the Olympics.

Athletes at the XVIII Games competed in 14 sports. Competitions in curling, snowboarding and women’s hockey were included in the Olympic championship program for the first time. Athletes from exotic winter sports countries — Brazil, Uruguay and Bermuda participated in the Olympic competition in Nagano. Japan’s Ioniko Kasai made a revealing ski jump from the ski jump, becoming the first woman to be honored like this.

A record at that time number of medals – 68 sets – was played. The largest number of medals (29) were won by athletes of Germany, the second were athletes from Norway with 25 medals, the third were Russians with 18 medals. Russian skiers managed to win in all disciplines. Larisa Lazutina won three gold medals, a silver and a bronze. The hosts of the Olympics finished only 7th in the medal standings. On the

eve of the Nagano Olympics, a new design for skate with a tearing heel was invented, allowing athletes to rewrite their world records in speed skating. American 15-year-old figure skater Tara Lipinski won gold in single skating, becoming the youngest winner of a Winter Olympics.

A rare salute of five thousand high-altitude charges was launched at the closing ceremony.

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