Host City: Nagano 1998
The 1998 Winter Olympic Games were held in Nagano, in the North of Japan, between Feb 7- Feb 22. This was the second Japanese Winter Olympics after Sapporo in 1972. There were 72 Nations represented, with a record 2176 participants competing in 68 events. New events for these games were snowboarding and women's ice hockey. Curling returned to the Winter Games after first being an event in 1924. The Games got off to an disappointing start with heavy snowfalls, fog, avalanches and even a mild earthquake playing havoc with the timetables, especially for the alpine skiing events. In the medal table, the Germans came out on top with a total of 29 medals, including 12 gold ahead of Norway with 25 and 10 and Russia with 18 and nine (see the full 1998 Medal Tally).
- 15-year-old American figure skater Tara Lipinski became the youngest athlete to win a gold medal at the Winter Games.
- A memory of these Games for many was the spectacular "human-cannonball" fall by Austrian Hermann "The Herminator" Maier in the men's downhill. The fall ruined his chances as favorite in the event, but incredibly he got back on his skis again to win gold medals in the Super-G and the Giant Slalom.
- Katja Seizinger of Germany became the first woman to win the downhill gold in successive Olympics, while American Picabo Street shrugged off debilitating injuries to win the gold medal in the Super G.
- Norwegian cross-country skier Bjørn Dæhlie won three more gold medals in Nordic skiing, boosting his total to twelve medals (eight gold) overall.
- German luge great Georg Hackl became just the sixth Winter Olympian to win the same event in three consecutive Games.
- In the women's cross-country event, Russian Larissa Lazutina was the star taking home five medals (four in individual events) including two gold.