Supriya Ghosh (Editor)

1998 Winter Olympics

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Host city  Nagano, Japan
Opening ceremony  7 February
Nations participating  73
1998 Winter Olympics

Motto  Coexistence with Nature (Japanese: 自然との共存, Shizen to no Kyōzon)
Athletes participating  2,176 (1,389 men, 787 women)
Events  68 in 7 sports (14 disciplines)

The 1998 Winter Olympics, officially the XVIII Olympic Winter Games (French: Les XVIIIes Jeux olympiques d'hiver ) (第十八回オリンピック冬季競技大会, Dai Jūhachi-kai Orinpikku Tōkikyōgi Taikai), was a winter multi-sport event celebrated from 7 to 22 February 1998 in Nagano, Japan.


72 nations and 2,176 participants contested in 7 sports and 68 events at 15 venues. The Games saw the introduction of women's ice hockey, curling and snowboarding. National Hockey League players were allowed to participate in the men's ice hockey.

The host was selected on June 15, 1991, over Salt Lake City, Östersund, Jaca and Aosta. They were the third Olympic Games and second winter Olympics to be held in Japan, after the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo and the 1972 Winter Olympics in Sapporo. Nagano is so far the southernmost city to host a Winter Olympics, next to Squaw Valley, host of the 1960 Winter Olympics. The games were succeeded by the 1998 Winter Paralympics from 5 to 14 March. These were the final Winter Olympic Games under the IOC Presidency of Juan Antonio Samaranch.

Host city selection

Other candidate cities for the 1998 Olympics were Aosta, Italy; Jaca, Spain; Östersund, Sweden; and Salt Lake City, United States. The host city selection was held in Birmingham, United Kingdom, on 15 June 1991, at the 97th IOC session. Nagano prevailed over Salt Lake City by just 4 votes. In June 1995, Salt Lake was chosen as the host of the following 2002 Winter Olympics.

The Nagano Olympic bid committee spent approximately $14 million to entertain the 62 International Olympic Committee members and many of their companions. The precise figures are unknown since Nagano, after the IOC asked that the entertainment expenditures not be made public, destroyed the financial records.


Sukki, Nokki, Lekki and Tsukki, also known as the Snowlets are the 1998 Winter Olympic mascots and are four snowy owls. They represent respectively fire (Sukki), air (Nokki), earth (Lekki) and water (Tsukki) and together they represent the four major islands of Japan.


Bjørn Dæhlie won 3 gold medals in cross-country skiing, making him the Winter Olympic competitor with the most wins ever. Alpine skier Hermann Maier survived a fall in the downhill and went on to win gold in the super-G and giant slalom. Netherlands won 5 of the 10 speed skating events, including 2 each by Gianni Romme and Marianne Timmer. Canada beat Denmark in the women's curling final, securing the latter their first Winter Olympic medal ever.

  • Women's ice hockey was contested at the Olympic Games for the first time ever, and the United States beat the Canadians 3–1 for the gold medal. United States went undefeated in the women's tournament. The Czech Republic defeated Russia by a score of 1–0 for the men's gold medal, while Finland won both the men's and women's bronze medals for ice hockey.
  • Cross-country skier Bjørn Dæhlie of Norway won three gold medals in Nordic skiing to become the first winter Olympian to earn eight career gold medals and twelve total medals.
  • Curling returned as an official sport, after having been demoted to a demonstration event after the inaugural Winter Games in Chamonix in 1924.
  • Snowboarding debuted as an official sport.
  • Players from the NHL were able to compete in men's ice hockey due to a three-week suspension of the NHL season.
  • Tara Lipinski, 15, narrowly beat Michelle Kwan in women's figure skating to become the youngest champion in an individual event in the history of the Winter Olympics.
  • Alpine skier Hermann Maier (Austria) survived a fall in the downhill and went on to gold in the super-g and giant slalom.
  • Speed skaters Gianni Romme and Marianne Timmer won two gold medals each for the Netherlands; 5 out of 10 titles in speed skating went to the Netherlands.
  • Snowboarder Ross Rebagliati (Canada) won the gold medal, after initially being disqualified for testing positive for marijuana.
  • Azerbaijan, Kenya, the Republic of Macedonia, Uruguay, and Venezuela made their first appearance at the Olympic Winter Games.
  • Denmark won their first winter Olympic medal (and only one to date) when they won a silver medal in the women's curling event.
  • Australia won their first individual Winter Olympic medal when Zali Steggall won bronze in the women's slalom.
  • Events

    There were 68 events contested in 7 sports (14 disciplines).



  • Hakuba Ski Jumping Stadium: Nordic combined (ski jumping), Ski jumping
  • Happo'one Resort: Alpine skiing (Downhill, Super G, combined)
  • Snow Harp, Kamishiro: Cross-country skiing, Nordic combined (cross-country skiing)
  • Iizuna

  • Iizuna Kogen Ski Area: Freestyle skiing
  • Spiral, Asakawa: Bobsleigh, Luge
  • Karuizawa

  • Kazakoshi Park Arena: Curling
  • Nagano

  • Minami Nagano Sports Park: Ceremonies (opening/ closing)
  • Aqua Wing Arena: Ice hockey
  • Big Hat: Ice hockey (final)
  • M-Wave: Speed skating
  • White Ring: Figure skating, Short track speed skating
  • Nozawaonsen:

  • Nozawa Onsen Ski Resort: Biathlon
  • Yamanouchi

  • Mount Higashidate: Alpine skiing (giant slalom)
  • Mount Yakebitai, Shiga Kogen Resort: Alpine skiing (slalom), Snowboarding (giant slalom)
  • Kanbayashi Snowboard Park: Snowboarding (Half-Pipe)
  • Cost and cost overrun

    The Oxford Olympics Study established the outturn cost of the Nagano 1998 Winter Olympics at USD 2.2 billion in 2015-dollars and cost overrun at 56% in real terms. This includes sports-related costs only, that is, (i) operational costs incurred by the organizing committee for the purpose of staging the Games, e.g., expenditures for technology, transportation, workforce, administration, security, catering, ceremonies, and medical services, and (ii) direct capital costs incurred by the host city and country or private investors to build, e.g., the competition venues, the Olympic village, international broadcast center, and media and press center, which are required to host the Games. Indirect capital costs are not included, such as for road, rail, or airport infrastructure, or for hotel upgrades or other business investment incurred in preparation for the Games but not directly related to staging the Games. The cost and cost overrun for Nagano 1998 compares with costs of USD 2.5 billion and a cost overrun of 13% for Vancouver 2010, and costs of USD 21.9 billion and a cost overrun of 289% for Sochi 2014, the latter being the most costly Olympics to date. Average cost for Winter Games since 1960 is USD 3.1 billion, average cost overrun is 142%.


    All dates are in Japan Standard Time (UTC+9)

    Medal table

    (Host nation is highlighted.)

    Participating National Olympic Committees

    72 nations participated in the 1998 Winter Olympic Games. The nations Azerbaijan, Kenya, Macedonia, Uruguay, and Venezuela participated in their first Winter Olympic Games.

    The following 13 countries registered to take part, but eventually did not send a team.


    1998 Winter Olympics Wikipedia