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18th Olympic Winter Games: Nagano 1998
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Date: 7-22 February 1998
NOCs (Nations): 72
Athletes: 2,176 (787 women, 1,389 men)
Sports: 7
Events: 68
Volunteers: 32,000
Media: 8,329 (2,586 written press, 5,743 broadcasters)

In 1998 the Winter Olympic Games returned to Japan after 26 years. Snowboarding and curling debuted as official sports and women’s ice hockey was introduced to the Olympic programme. For the first time, the men’s ice hockey tournament was opened to all professionals. The inspired team from the Czech Republic scored a surprise victory. Bj?rn D?hlie won three gold medals in Nordic skiing to become the first winter athlete to earn eight career gold medals and twelve total medals. Tara Lipinski won the women’s figure skating title to become, at 15, the youngest champion in an individual event in the history of the Winter Olympics. The spirit of the Games was exemplified by Alpine skier Hermann Maier. Maier survived a spectacular fall in the downhill, recovered and earned gold medals in both the super-G and the giant slalom.

With a record entry of 60 athletes to the Games in Nagano, Japan, China strived for its first gold medal but finished with six silvers and two bronzes. Chinese short-track speed skaters reaped five silvers and one bronze as Chen Lu took home another bronze medal.

(COC Website   July 8, 2004)

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