Share this story
Close X
Switch to Desktop Site

Olympics had moments of brilliance plus a good host in Sarajevo

About these ads

From the beginning the XIV Winter Olympics were Sarajevo's show, and it appears history will remember them that way. Most of what happened on snow and ice took a back seat to one overriding fact: Sarajevo did it. With almost no previous background in hosting winter sports - nor even the facilities needed to do so until recently - Sarajevo brought the world to its mountainous doorstep and managed to stage a successful Olympics - and the largest of its kind with 1,590 athletes representing a record 49 nations.

This isn't to say there weren't moments of athletic brilliance, because there were. The most memorable of these came in, of all things, ice dancing, where British virtuosos Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean pushed out the barriers of their event with a flock of perfect scores. And with their scintillating interpretation of Ravel's ''Bolero,'' they placed their names alongside those of Jean-Claude Killy, Eric Heiden, and Sonja Henie in the pantheon of all-time Olympic greats.

The most highly decorated individual athletes were Finnish cross-country skier Marja-Liisa Hamalainen, who collected three individual gold medals plus a relay bronze, and East German speed skater Karin Enke, who took home two golds and two silvers.

In Alpine skiing, a sport heretofore dominated by Europeans, the United States came out well on top with three gold medals and two silvers. Debbie Armstrong and Christin Cooper finished 1-2 in the women's giant slalom, Bill Johnson won the men's downhill, then on the final day twin brothers Phil and Steve Mahre captured the gold and silver respectively in the men's slalom to complete by far the best-ever American showing in this traditional glamour sport of the Games.


Page 1 of 5

Follow Stories Like This
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.