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Index – Sports – Carmen of the German Democratic Republic on ice

Index – Sports – Carmen of the German Democratic Republic on ice

1924, 1928, 1932, 1936, 1948, 1952, 1956, 1960, 1964, 1968, 1972, 1976, 1980, 1984, 1988, 1992, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006, 201 0

15. Winter Olympics

location: Calgary, Canada
date: February 13-28, 1988
Other developed cities: Fallon (Sweden), Cortina d'Ampezzo (Italy)
program: 10 sports/46 numbers
number of participants: 57 countries, 1425 athletes (1110 men, 315 women) Height above sea level: 1048 AD

Canada was considered a winter sports power before, but it was unable to host the Winter Olympics, but it was able to host the Summer Olympics, in 1976 through Montreal. She won the Winter Games for the eighth time, defeating Sweden's Fallon and Italy's Cortina in the seventy-first vote. Montreal's failure was a vivid and frustrating example for organizers in Calgary: the organization's costs had skyrocketed, and the city was riddled with ill-conceived facilities, leaving it mired in debt for decades.

Alberta (Calgary Province) leaders have taken care of this from the beginning, and promised that they would not have such problems. They did everything they could to make that happen, even though they referred to the Calgary games as such. This also required the American channel ABC to pay a record huge sum of $398 million for the broadcast rights. The federal, provincial and city governments also footed their bills. The volunteer system that had been used successfully at the world-famous local fair/festival, Stampede, was used here as well, with very few paid staff involved in the organization.

There are still problems, mostly location-related. None of the facilities promised in 1971, when the settlement was won, were built on the planned site. This was primarily due to environmental concerns. However, the sites were designed keeping in mind that their use after the Olympics would be disbanded. Following the IOC's decision, many critics also blamed the warm, dry Chinook winds, which Calgary regularly experiences in February, would cause very serious problems.

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It caused, in the end, not as much as they feared. This was the first Olympic Games that closely resembled today's games. On the one hand, a large city was the host, and since then the program has lasted sixteen days. Although no new sports were added, gold was awarded in five disciplines in alpine skiing, team competitions in ski jumping and combined nordic appeared, and speed skaters competed on an indoor track for the first time. Only for demo purposes, but curling, freestyle skating and short track speed skating are also included. The result: more athletes, more journalists, more sponsors and more money.

Hungarians: A few, a few

Among the five-member Hungarian delegation, Klara Inge and Attila Toth emerged seventh, but the ice dancing duo were hoping for a better ranking.

The biggest stars emerged specifically from the Alpine numbers, which were revised for the first time since 1952: two-time winner Alberto Tomba, the downhill gold medalist, Swiss Bermin Zurbriggen, third in the giant slalom, and the two – women's champion Freni, also from Switzerland. Schneider. Tomba La Bomba, a lively and energetic person who is very popular with the fans, won two more gold and two silver medals at the Olympic Games during his career that lasted until 1998, but he had only one success in the junior category.

Also on the ice, among the skaters, the 88th greatest performance was clear: Matti Nykänen went home with all three available gold medals. The Finn, who won the Great Wall in 1984, was already struggling with alcohol and behavior problems before Calgary, but he pulled himself together over those two weeks. However, Nikkanen soon stopped practicing and went from national hero to scandal hero.

Medals table
1. soviet union 11 9 9
2. German Democratic Republic 9 10 6
3. Switzerland 5 5 5
4. Finland 4 1 2
5. Sweden 4 0 2

On the ice, among women's speed skaters, everyone was waiting for the East Germans' tremendous success. In fact: Christa Luding-Rothenberger, Andrea Ihrig and Karen Kania won ten of the fifteen medals available, but only one of them was gold. First place went to American Bonnie Blair, but Dutchwoman Yvonne van Gennep was a joke. He also won the 1,500, 3,000 and 5,000 meter races, and broke his own world records in the last two races by four and seven seconds, respectively. What distinguishes Van Gennep's career is that he never won a World Series either before or after Calgary.

The men's and women's figure skaters' competition attracted great interest. “Battle of the Brians” – this is how the North American press presented the fight between Canadian Brian Orser and American Brian Boitano. Competing on home soil, Orser finished second in Sarajevo, and since then has missed out on victory in almost every competition, developing a picture of his inability to win at major tournaments. In comparison, he still stood 7-3 ahead of Boitano, who had beaten him at the 1986 World Championship, but the standings were reversed at the 1987 World Championship. Coming into the Olympics it was practically impossible to tell the difference, they were just as good.

After the short program, Orser had a narrow lead over Boitano. The American, who was the first on the ice (a rather unfavorable position in figure skating), was able to withstand the enormous pressure and ran flawlessly, being a bit unsure on one landing. However, Orser, who was unprecedented in his artistic presentation, had an even greater burden: he was given the opportunity, he led, and it all happened to him in front of a local audience. A minute and a half later, he exited a triple somersault with two feet, but that would not have been the mistake that would cost him the gold medal. However, he eventually tired and converted a triple Axel into a double – and thus his chances were gone.

The Bryans were fighting, according to the press, and were actually good friends. So much so that Boitano, at the top of the podium, thought about not hurting his friend. Brian Boitano later admitted: “I almost felt guilty because I felt relieved. I tried to hold back so my joy wouldn't hurt him.”

The show was expected to be a dual event for women as well, but it unexpectedly expanded. The battle between defending champion Katarina Witt and American Debbie Thomas was also special because they both performed the song Carmen Bizet. After the short program, Thomas led, and Witt followed first into the heat. Technically his performance was perfect, but technically Thomas knew better. However, Elizabeth Manley, a favorite of the home team, stepped onto the ice between them, whose drill was perfect. Not so for Thomas, who botched a jump combination twenty seconds later and collapsed. Witt won, Manley finished second, and Thomas became the first black Winter Olympics medalist. The Canadians have never won a gold medal in their respective Olympics, and in addition to the silver skaters, they have captured three more bronzes.

For many, these Olympics remained unforgettable not because of these heroes, but because of enthusiastic outsiders. In ski jumping, the extremely short-sighted Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards, and in bobsleigh, the Jamaican quad caused delight, or even annoyance. These athletes have already come out of the Olympics, which has gone beyond glorifying amateur sport above all else. The Jamaican skiers came out late on one of the final corners of the race and fell, but fortunately the reggae boys had no trouble. They did not finish the race alone. Skier Edwards finished at least double digits where he started, coming last, scoring just a third of winner Matti Nikkanen's points on both slopes.

Athletes and fans alike loved Calgary, and this turned out to be the first Olympics of a new era. According to early reports, the event was not only paid for, but also made a profit. However, it was later pointed out that if we carefully calculate and take into account the state's resources, we cannot talk about profit. However, a portion of the proceeds ended up in the foundation, which to this day contributes significantly to funding the Canadian Olympic Movement. Calgary began its Olympic bid back in the early 2000s, but the country's Olympic Committee launched Vancouver to host the 2010 Games, and the latter city reached the finish line.