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The 1994 Winter Olympics, officially known as the XVII Olympic Winter Games, were a winter multi-sport event which was celebrated in 1994 in Lillehammermarker, Norwaymarker. In 1986, the IOC voted to separate the Summer and Winter Games, which had been held in the same year since the latter's inception in 1924, and arrange them in alternating even-numbered years. Lillehammer won the right to host the event in September 1988 in Seoulmarker before the opening ceremony of the 1988 Summer Olympics. The 1994 Winter Games were the first to be held without the Summer Games in the same year, and marked the only time the Winter Games have been staged two years after the preceding Games.

Host Selection

Lillehammer was selected as host over bids from Anchorage, Alaskamarker, U.S.marker; Östersundmarker/Åremarker, Swedenmarker; and Sofiamarker, Bulgariamarker. The Lillehammer Olympics are notable for being the last Winter Olympic Games to date to be held in a small town (Lillehammer's population is 25,000).

The information below comes from the International Olympic Committee Vote History web page.

1994 Winter Olympics Bidding Results
City NOC Name Round 1 Round 2 Round 3
Lillehammermarker 25 30 45
Östersundmarker/Åremarker 19 33 39
Anchorage, Alaskamarker 23 22 -
Sofiamarker 17 - -


  • When the construction of the Lysgårdsbakkenemarker jumping hills started in 1992, the hills had to be moved some meters north so that the American broadcaster CBS could get the best pictures available from their pre-chosen location.
  • A month before the games began, Tonya Harding's ex-husband Jeff Gillooly hired Shane Stant to club fellow female figure skater Nancy Kerrigan in the knee. In the end, at Hamar Olymic Amphitheatremarker, Nancy Kerrigan went on to win the silver medal, behind Oksana Baiul of Ukrainemarker. Tonya Harding finished 8th and was later banned from competitive figure skating for life by the U.S. Figure Skating Association.
  • The day of the opening ceremonies, art thieves stole Edvard Munch's masterpiece The Scream from the National Museum in Oslo.
  • For the first time, the Winter Olympics were not held in the same year as the Summer Games of the Olympiad.
  • The Olympic flame was brought into the stadium by ski jumper Stein Gruben. Former World Champion Ole Gunnar Fidjestøl was supposed to do this jump, but he got injured on one of the training jumps a few days before the opening ceremony.
  • Local hero Johann Olav Koss won three speed skating events, setting three world records.
  • After repeated Olympic frustration since 1988, American speed skater Dan Jansen finally won a gold medal, setting a world record in the men's 1000 m (1:12.43) in his last Winter Olympic race.
  • Vreni Schneider won a complete set of medals in alpine skiing and Manuela Di Centa medaled in all five cross-country skiing events. Myriam Bédard won both women's individual biathlon races.
  • Gustav Weder and Donat Acklin became the first repeat winners of the two-man bobsleigh. Pairs skaters Ekaterina Gordeeva and Sergei Grinkov repeated their 1988 Winter Olympics victory.
  • A massive Norwegian crowd saw their relay men team being beaten by the Italians in the final metres of the cross country skiing relay 4x10 km. The crowd fell silent, but only briefly. Twelve years later at the opening ceremonies of the 2006 Winter Olympics, the Italian foursome of Maurilio de Zolt, Marco Albarello, Giorgio Vanzetta, and Silvio Fauner would be among the last carriers of the Olympic flame before it was lit by fellow cross country skier Stefania Belmondo.
  • Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean, ice dancing champions ten years earlier, competed again following relaxation of amateurism rules. (They had turned professional in the 1980s.)
  • Kim Yoon-Mi became the youngest female and the youngest Winter Olympic Gold Medalist, as a part of Short track speed skating ladies relay team for South Koreamarker.
  • The logo of the Games was aurora and indeed some could be seen from Lillehammer during the Games.
  • The Olympics were broadcast in the U.S.marker by television network CBS
  • In his address at the closing ceremony, Juan Antonio Samaranch, president of the IOCmarker, named the Lillehammer games “the best winter games ever”, a characterization that has yet to be repeated concerning any winter games. In his address at the opening ceremony, Samaranch recalled Sarajevomarker and its 1984 Winter Olympic Games, at the time in the midst of Yugoslav war of 1991-1995, with an emotive message: "Our message is stronger than ever: Please stop the fighting. Stop the killing. Drop your guns." The composition of the Bosnia and Herzegovina four-man bob team was one Croat, two Bosniaks and a Serb, mirroring the ethnic diversity of the country.
  • 1.21 million tickets were sold for the games. LOOC estimated that an additional 500,000 viewed the games for free along the courses. In addition, 180,000 seats were used by the media and VIPs.

Medals awarded

See the medal winners, ordered by sport:


Medal count

(Host nation is highlighted.)
1 11 8 4 23
2 10 11 5 26
3 9 7 8 24
4 7 5 8 20
5 6 5 2 13
6 4 1 1 6
7 3 6 4 13
8 3 4 2 9
9 2 3 4 9
10 2 1 0 3

Participating nations

A record 67 nations participated in the 1994 Winter Olympic Games. Participating in their first Winter Games were American Samoa, Armenia, Belarus, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Czech Republic, Georgia, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Slovakia, Trinidad & Tobago, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. Most of the new particpants (9) were due to the break up of the Soviet Union

The 1994 Winter Games were the first following the implementation of stricter qualifying standards, which prevented representatives of developing countries from competing without meeting minimum standards. As a consequence, eleven "mostly warm-weather countries" signed up to participate in the Games, but were ultimately absent as none of their athletes succeeded in qualifying. The number of African athletes fell from nineteen in 1992 to three in 1994: Lamine Guèye of Senegal and two short-track speed skaters from South Africa. These rules were, however, not applied to bobsled events, enabling the United States Virgin Islands, Monaco, Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica to compete in that sport.

See also


External links

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