These Games are controversial starting about three years before they begin, as it is revealed that several IOC members accepted inappropriately large gifts in exchange for voting to hold the Games in Salt Lake City. At least four IOC members resign, as do top Salt Lake City committee officials, in the midst of several investigations, and the IOC pledges to change the way host cities are chosen.
Also controversial is the United States' decision to include, in the Opening Ceremony, a flag that had been at Ground Zero in New York. This is seen by some as contrary to the Olympic spirit
These Games are also dominated by doping scandals. Spain's Johann Muehlegg and Russia's Larissa Lazutina and Olga Danilova are disqualified due to darbepoetin use; the first two lose gold medals, although all retain medals won before they were tested. Britain's Alain Baxter similarly loses his bronze slalom medal after a drug test, although the drug detected turns out to be a Vicks inhaler. Unknown to him, it has a different formulation in America than in the UK. A later investigation clears him of all moral guilt, but his medal is not returned.
Russian figure skating pair Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze win the gold over Canadian pair Jamie Sale and David Pelletier. The Canadians protest, the French judge admits to having been pressured to give the Russians a higher ranking, and, in an unprecedented ceremony, the Canadian pair is given gold medals, although the Russians retain theirs.
American Sarah Hughes gives the free-skating performance of a lifetime, nailing two triple-triple combinations and vaulting from fourth-place dark horse to gold medalist. This, too, has some measure of controversy, as a slight change in the judges' placement would have put Russia's Irina Slutkaya ahead, but that protest goes nowhere.
The International Skating Union votes to radically overhaul the scoring system for figure skating and ice dancing in future competitions.
The Canadian men's ice hockey team wins the gold medal, 50 years to the day after the last time they'd done so. Their women's ice hockey team also emerge victorious. In both cases, the Americans take the silver.
Skeleton is an event for the first time since 1948; for a change, John Heaton is not around to compete.
German speed-skater Claudia Pechstein wins two gold medals, taking home a medal in four straight Winter Games. Teammate Georg Hackl gets the silver in luge, becoming the first athlete ever to win five medals in one event. Norway's Ole Einar Bjørndalen wins all four men's biathlon events.
For the first time since 1968, female athletes are not tested for gender. There are 41 men's events, 34 women's events, and 3 mixed events. Germany, the United States, and Norway end up with the most medals, with Norway taking home the most golds.
|1998 Olympics||Winter Olympics Through The Years||Event-by-Event|