Monday, July 09, 2012

Olympics Past

This will be the last of these posts, though obviously I'll have more to say about the Olympics when it actually starts.  For the rest of this series, click on the 'Olympics' tag down at the bottom.
  • The 1998 winter games were held in Nagano, Japan.  The organizers worked hard to make certain that the games were all held in a centralized area.  Nagano was the most southerly city to ever host the winter games.  It suffered weather problems, this time they had too much snow.  Some of the skiing events had to be postponed.  New events included curling and women's hockey.  Denmark won the curling gold even though there was not a curling rink in all of Denmark.  US women won the gold in hockey.  (Nagano is located about 125 miles west of Tokyo.  Any readers ever visit there?)
  • Sydney hosted the 2000 summer games and they were a huge success.  During the closing ceremony, Olympic president Samaranch declared them the best games ever.  The opening ceremony was the most spectacular yet (though it is probably overshadowed by Beijing, 2008).  The television audience had grown to 3.5 billion people.  The only bad mark is that 35 total athletes failed drug tests.  The host Aussies won 58 medals to place fourth.  The UK had a very strong showing, with 28 medals.  The US got 97.  (I don't remember many specifics about these games.)
  • 2002 found the winter games back in the US as Salt Lake City hosted.  At the time, this marked the largest city to host, though Turin and Vancouver are both even bigger.  The run up to the games were marked with delays and a bribery scandal.  The games themselves were also marked with controversy as more and more athletes were disqualified for drug use.  Even worse, a French judge in the pairs figure skating was found to have been pressured to give the Russian skaters high marks.  The Russians and Canadians both shared a gold medal.  The US bobsleder, Jill Bakken became the first African-American to win a gold medal at a winter Olympics.  Australia also won its first winter gold as speed skater Steven Bradbury missed a big pile up in short track skating.  Canada won it's first men's hockey gold in 50 years(!).  
  • This book ('The Olympic Games, Athens 1896 - Athens 2004) must have been written before the actual 2004 games.  It talks about the great efforts that Greece took to win hosting duties.  They had wanted the 1996 games, the 100 year anniversary, but lost out to Atlanta.  My memory is of them being fairly certain they would get them and being bitterly disappointed when they didn't.  Per Wikipedia, before the 2004 games the torch was relayed around the world, the first time that has happened.  I remember there was some question with the athlete's parade because traditionally the Greeks open the parade and the host city closing.  They fixed this by having the Greek flag open up and the actual athletes march last.  Also per Wikipedia, there was nudity in the opening ceremonies (male and female) but NBC kept US viewers from seeing it.  
That's it.  Hope you all enjoyed the trip!


Heidi said...

Thanks Peder. I will have to see if my library has this book. I would love to see the pictures. I am very excited for the upcoming games. I have my olympic shirt ready to wear!

DD4 said...
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DD4 said...

Drat! I thought you would do an entry on the 2010 winter games in Vancouver. I was waiting to read your take on it.

Me personally — I loved the opening ceremony!! I'll never forget it!

The only downside was the luge competitor from the country of Georgia who was killed on the luge run that day. Very sad. His entire team (I think it numbered 8 or 9), wore black arm bands as they processed. Everyone in the audience stood for the entire walk by this team from the moment they stepped onto the floor until they were seated. Very moving.