Day 1 to Day 8 at the Nagano Winter Games

For 9th day onwards go

8TH DAY (FEB.14)
Women's 500 meters speed skating
Japan's Tomomi Okazaki, who place 3rd in the first leg the previous day, retained that post clocking 38.55 seconds. She's the 4th Japanese to win a medal in the Nagano Winter Games. The gold went to LeMay Doan of Canada, and runner up was teammate Susan Auch.
Nordic combined skiing
Japan's Kenji Ogiwara, who was placed 9th in the ski jumping event, fought rigorously in the rain in the 15 kilometer cross country. There were 4 in the pack trying to win 4th place. Ogiwara successfully won the place. His twin brother Tsugiharu took 6th place. Norway's Bjarte Engen Vik clinched the gold medal.
Men's 15 kilo freestyle pursuit
Thomas Alsgaard of Norway hindered did not allow fellow countryman Bjoern Daehlie to win another gold. For Daehlie, it turned out to be his 4th silver in the Winter Games.
More alpine events cancelled
Rain started pouring in Hakuba from early in the morning. The belated men's Super-G and the women's downhill events were both rescheduled to another day.
Men's figure skating
Ilya Kulik of Russia won the gold, followed by Canada's Elvis Stojko and Phillipe Candelero of France. 16 year old Takeshi Honda of Japan finished 15th.
Men's curling
Japan vs U.S.A.
4 to 5
Norway vs Switzerland
7 to 8
Canada vs U.S.A.
7 to 1

Women's curling semi-finals
Sweden vs Denmark
5 to 7
U.K. vs Canada
5 to 6

Valentine's chocolate winner
Speed skater Hiroyasu Shimizu is said to have received the most amount of Valentines chocolate. The number one non-Japanese was figure skater Iliya Kulik.

7TH DAY (FEB.13)
Men's downhill is finally held
The long awaited for competition was held on the controversial course starting from the 1765 meter point. It proved to be a tricky course, because 15 skiers dropped out from the middle of the run. 2 were severly injured. They included medal favorite Hermann Maier of Austria who crashed into the fences and beyond. France's Jean-Luc Cretier became the winner. He's the first French downhill champion since Jean-Claude Killi.
Men's alpine combined
Lasse Kjus of Norway captured the combined alpine event. He also won the silver in the downhill on the same day which is quite a feat.
Luge doubles
In a close race, the Germans captured the title in the luge doubles. They are Stefan Krausse, and Jan Behrendt. The U.S.A. teams took the silver and bronze medals.
Top notch NHL players play games
U.S.A. vs Sweden
2 to 4
Canada vs Belarus
5 to 0
Russia vs Kazahstan
9 to 2
Czech vs Finland
3 to 0

Michiyo's Note: I was thrilled to be able to see Wayne Gretzky with my own eyes.

6TH DAY (FEB.12)
Record rush in men's 1500 meters speed skating
The Japanese were thrilled over Hiroyuki Noake's time. He broke Japan's and the Olympic record by clocking 1 minute 50.09 seconds. However, one after another the speedskaters broke the Olympic record. In the end, Noake was 7th place. The gold went to Norway's Aadne Sondral who broke the WORLD record with 1 minute 47.87 seconds. In 2nd place was Ids Postma and in 3rd, Rintje Ritsma both of the Netherlands.
In cross country
It was rather wet at the Snow Harp cross country course in Hakuba. But it did not affect Bjorn Daehlie of Norway. He clinched his 6th Olympic gold with a time of 27 minutes 24.5 seconds in the men's 10 kilo classical race. Following him were Markus Gandler of Austria and Mika Myllylae of Finland. By the way, the newcomers to the Winter Games, Mongolia, Macedonia, Kenya were the last ones to finish. In the women's 10 kilo combined freestyle and pursuit, Russia's Larissa Lazutina took the gold. This is her second medal in Nagano following the silver in the 15 kilo classic.
Men's downhill postponed again
The men's downhill which was already behind schedule was cancelled again, because of the rain. Only 2 alpine skiing competitions have been completed at the Happone ski resort in Hakuba, so far.
Historical win for Japanese ice hockey
The game to determine 13th and 14th places were held at the Big Hat ice hockey arena. Austria and Japan were tied 3 to 3 after the 3rd quarter, so they went for eachothers goal. Japan succeed in putting in the puck first. It gave Japan's first Winter Olympic victory in 22 years.
Snowboarding halfpipe
Recent World Cup winner in the women's halfpipe, Yuri Yoshikawa failed to pass the preliminary round. The gold medal went to Nicola Thost of Germany. In the men's, Gian Simmen of Switzerland proved victorious.
Men's curling
Japan defeats U.S.A. team!
Canada vs Switzerland
8 to 3
U.S.A. vs Germany
8 to 5
Norway vs Sweden
7 to 4
U.K. vs Japan
9 to 5
Norway vs Switzerland
5 to 4
Canada vs Sweden
6 to 3
U.S.A. vs Germany
8 to 5
Japan vs U.S.A.
8 to 6
Germany vs U.K.
7 to 4
Women's curling
Japan vs Denmark
4 to 6
U.K. vs Germany
6 to 5
Canada vs Sweden
7 to 5
Norway vs U.S.A.
9 to 8

Canadian will not be stripped of his medal
Canadian Ross Rebagliati underwent police investigation with regard to his possession of marijuana. He responded that he was on the drug before, but not anymore. The police also did not discover any from the Canadian team. So it was decided that the Super-G Olympic champion will keep his gold medal.

5TH DAY (FEB.11)
Japan's first woman gold medalist is born !
Tae Satoya of Japan won the moguls in the freestyle skiing event. Satoya has not been a medal hope, and her feat was a surprising achievement. She is the first Japanese woman ever to win a gold in the Winter Olympics. Following her in the discipline were Tatjana Mittermayer of Germany and Kari Traa of Normay. In the men's moguls, U.S.A.'s Jonny Moseley clinched the Olympic title.
Ski jumping medal for Japan
As a result of the first try in the normal hill, Masahiko Harada was the leader with 91.5 meters. The man who has a strong physique but a weak heart was the last one to go for the second jump. He landed at 84.5 meters. He blew it. Harada finished 5th. The gold went to Jani Soininen of Finland, Japan's Kazuyoshi Funaki came in second, and Austria's Andreas Widhoelzl third.
Men's 20 kilo biathlon
Halvard Hanevold of Norway was the surprising winner. He was 46th at the previous Winter Games.
Women's luge
German Silke Kraushaar wins the gold by only .002 seconds in luge.
Women's super-G
The event took off after an one day delay. It was an incredibly sunny day in Hakuba, perhaps too warm for a skiing event. Medal favorite Katja Seizinger of Germany failed to do well. The winner was Picabo Street of U.S.A. who won by a margin. Her time was 1 minute 18.02 seconds. Runner up was Michaela Dorfmeister of Austria who was behind by .01 second.
Women's 3000 meter speed skating
Gunda Niemann-Stirnemann were among the Germans to sweep the medal in the event.
Women's ice hockey
Japan vs China
6 to 1
Canada vs Sweden
5 to 3

Women's curling
Japan vs Sweden
6 to 12
Canada vs Denmark
9 to 5
U.K. vs U.S.A.
8 to 5
Germany vs Norway
7 to 6
Denmark vs U.S.A.
8 to 5
Canada vs U.K.
8 to 3
Sweden vs Germany
8 to 3

Men's curling
Japan vs Norway
3 to 5
U.S.A. vs Switzerland
2 to 7
Canada vs Germany
10 to 6
Sweden vs U.K.
7 to 5
Canadian may be punished
Canadian Ross Rebagliati, winner of the men's Super-G in snowboarding has tested positive for doping. He admitted being in the same room as those who were sniffing marijuana, but he did not do it himself.

4TH DAY (FEB.10)
Shimizu wins gold medal
The 2nd leg of speed skating's 500 meter race was held at the M-Wave. Jeremy Wotherspoon, who holds the season's best record made up for the previous day. He clocked 35.8 seconds. He had only to wait for Hiroyasu Shimizu to see if he'll take 1st place or 2nd. Japan's Shimizu was the last to race. He had to start twice, but that didn't affect him. He took off like a rocket, went around the curves steadily, and clocked 35.59 seconds. That's even better than his record the previous day. Shimizu clinched Japan's first gold medal ever in speed skating. It's also Japan's first medal at the Winter Olympics in Nagano.
Michiyo's Note: There was a lot of pressure on Shimizu, but he was able to give all he has! He broke into big tears during the ceremony and during his winning run. What a wonderful moment it must have been for himself and his mother in the stands. She raised 4 kids alone driving a bulldozer since his dad's death.
Women's giant slalom in snowboarding
2 time overall World Cup winner, Karin Ruby of France took the gold. Her time was 2 minutes 17.34 seconds.
5-km cross country classical
15-km classical silver medalist takes the top post this time. She is Larissa Lazutina of Russia. Winner of 5 gold medals in the 97 World Championships, Elena Vaelbe caught the flu and withdrew from the race.
Snow affects more events
This time, the women's super-G in Hakuba had to be called off because of snowstorm.
Men's ice hockey
Japan's Dusty Imoo saved the goal from a numerous Belarus attacks. Although the team did not win, the draw has a significant meaning for the future of Japan's ice hockey world.
Group AAustria vs Italy
5 to 2
Kazakstan vs Slovakia
4 to 3
Group BJapan vs Belarus
2 to 2
Germany vs France
2 to 0

Women's curling
Japan vs Canada
4 to 7

Men's curling
Japan vs Sweden
6 to 5
Japan vs Switzerland
3 to 5

Russian figure skating pair overwhelms
Oksana Kazakova and Armir Dimitriev who won together the gold in Albertville and the silver in Lillehammer showed they were still in top shape. Japanese born Kyoko Ina who represented the U.S.A. with her partner Jason Danjen place 4th.

Japan's top medal favorite event begins
For the first time in this Winter Games, speed skaters are to race twice in the 500 meters, so everyone has a fair try at both the outside and inside lanes. In the first leg, world record holder Hiroyasu Shimizu clocked an Olympic record of 35.76 seconds to take the lead. Meanwhile, another medal favorite, Canada's Jeremy Wotherspoon lost balance at the curve and ranked 7th. Manabu Horii of Japan and Toshiyuki Kuroiwa tied for 12th place.
Women's biathlon
Bulgarian Ekaterina Dafovska clinched the women's 15-km biathlon race held in Nozawa Onsen. Her time was 54 minutes 52 seconds. Japan's Ryoko Takahashi placed 6th. This is an incredible result for Japan. Takahashi was a cross country long distance skier until 2 years ago.
Men's 30-km classical cross country
Silver medalist in the 50-km race at the Lillehammer Winter Games, Mika Myllylae of Finland captured the gold. The race was conducted during heavy snow in the Hakuba area.
More events are postponed
The men's combined skiing event initially set at 10:15 in the morning was delayed, then delayed even more due to snowy weather. The waiting crowd showed irritation about the situation. At last at in the afternoon, it was announced that the competition is postponed one day. At 4:30 pm, the crowd was informed at last that tickets could be refunded. Shiga Kogen too was snowy, and the women's snowboarding giant slalom event was rescheduled.
Women's curling
Japan vs England
5 to 7
Japan vs Germany
9 to 2

Men's curling
Japan vs Canada
4 to 7

Men's ice hockey
Japan was the first to lead. In the 3rd quarter, France caught up due to Japan's careless pass. The France pucked in a winning point, and added in more when Japan decided that the entire team will play offense.
Group BBelarus vs Germany
8 to 2
Japan vs France
2 to 5

Women's ice hockey
Japan vs Finland
1 to 11
USA vs Sweden
7 to 1
Canada vs China
2 to 0

NHL players arrive in Japan
23 NHL stars representing Canada arrived in Narita Airport. They include Wayne Gretzky of the New York Rangers. The team was surrounded by around 400 fans at the airport in the country where ice hockey is still not a mainstream spectator sport. The U.S. players landed in Nagoya.

Gold medal rush in men's speed skating
The first speed skating event was the 5000 meter men's race. Belgium's Bart Veldkamp was the first one to break the world record clocking 6 minutes 28.31 seconds. Then Rintje Ritsma of the Netherlands was even quicker by .07 seconds. The last to race was Netherlands' Gianne Romme. He outpowered any of them with a 6 minute 22.20 race. Japanese Keiji Shirahata came in 7th.
First medalist of the 18th Winter Games
The women's 15 kilometer cross country classical race was the first event to be awarded. The winner was Olga Danilova of Russia. Her time was 46 minutes 55.4 seconds. She has never even won a World Cup event. The highest ranking Japanese was Sumiko Yokoyama who finished 24th.
Skiing event affected by snow
Men's downhill event was cancelled because of bad weather condition in Hakuba. It is postponed to another day. The competition is to be held on the notorious course much disputed for its length.
Snowboard slalom
The first ever Olympic snowboarding title went to Ross Rebagliati of Canada. The 26 year-old professional snowboarder proved successful amidst the bad weather condition in Shiga Kogen.
Women's ice hockey begins
Japan lost to Canada 13 to 0. But the Japanese team regard this to be an improvement. The last time they played against eachother, Japan was defeated 0 to 15.
Japan vs Canada
0 to 13
Finland vs Sweden
6 to 0
USA vs China
5 to 0

Opening Ceremony
At Minami Nagano Sports Park, 3.6 kilos from the Olympic Village. The average TV rating in Japan was 35.8 percent.

  • Bell of Zenkoji
    The toll of the bell of the famous Zenkoji Temple marked the opening of the 16-day festival of sports, friendship and peace. Zenkoji temple, is the landmark of Nagano city which is said to have been founded in the mid 7th century to store Japan's first Buddha image.
  • Onbashira gates
    A number of men wearing festival outfits sang a log carrier's chant that goes with the ritual of raising some enormous wooden pillars. It represents the ritual of the festival in Suwa, the southern main center of Nagano Prefecture. 2 pillars each, 8 in all, were put up to form 4 sacred gates in the stadium. They are gates through which the participants are supposed to enter.
  • Sumo ritual
    The sound of of the wood blocks signaled the entrance of 33 high ranking sumo wrestlers. Big men came in wearing elaborately woven silk aprons under the cold winter sky of Nagano from 2 ends of the stage in the center of the stadium. After their ritual on the stage, yokozuna or grand champion Akebono was flanked by a swordbearer and a herald to purify the scene and ward off evil spirits. The 3 stood still before performing the significant act until Japan's Emperor and Empress were seated in the royal box.
  • Snow children
    150 school children from the city of Nagano came rushing in to sing and dance to a song of love and peace. They first are seen wearing straw coats. They later take them off and appear in cute white furry head covers, white leggings, and a top in the color of flags of the country they have been assigned to support.
  • Peace Appeal Song
    The Japanese version of Andrew Lloyd Webber's "When Children Rule the World" is sung by Ryoko Moriyama. Moriyama is a long time Japanese folk and pops singer.
  • Procession of athletes
    Ozeki or champion Takanonami, who won the Grand Sumo Tournament in November 1997, leads the Greek delegation while carrying a child on his shoulders. Each sumo wrestler had changed into formal Japanese wears called a haori and hakama to lead in the participating countries. Japanese regional folk songs were played in the background as the 72 countries paraded into the stadium.
  • Speeches
    Eishiro Saito, President of the Organizing Commitee for the 18th Olympic Winter Games, Nagano 1998
    Juan Antonio Samaranch, Present of the International Olympic Committee
  • Declaration of the opening
    The Emperor of Japan
  • Entrance of the Olympic flag
    The fanfare of trumpets, trombones and euphoniums below the Olympic Caldron is followed by the entrance of the Olympic flag. It is carried by Japan's Winter Olympic heroes. They include Japan's first medalist Chiharu Igaya, and first gold medalist Yukio Kasaya. The flag is hoisted on the pole. The "Kimigayo" or the Japanese song is played on instruments called ryuteki and sho which are used in court music.
  • Olympic torch relay
    Chris Moon, anti-personnel landmine activist runs into the stadium with the Olympic torch. As he enters the stadium, the snow children join him. The torch is relayed to Masako Chiba, bronze medalist in the World Athletics Championships in Athens. She passes it to the gold winning nordic combined team in Albertville. Its leader Takanori Kono runs to the central stage where World Athletics Championships gold medalist Hiromi Suzuki waits. She runs up steadily 160 steps which leads to the Olympic Caldron. 2 Japanese fans right beneath the caldron opens, and from inside, Albertville figure skating silver medalist Midori Ito emerges in the outfit of a goddess. She lights the caldron.
  • Olympic oath
    King of Ski, Kenji Ogiwara, represents the athletes and followed by former figure skater, Junko Hiranuma who represents the judges. Then 1998 balloon doves, made from potato fiber is released. It is a symbol of peace and environmental friendliness too, because the balloons will eventually decay.
  • Global Chorus
    World famous Seiji Ozawa conducts "Ode to Joy" from Beethoven's 9th Symphony. His taft links the 5 continents, namely Beijing, Berlin, Cape Point, New York, and Sydney. A special technology is used so that the voices from different parts of the world could be unified. Meanwhile, ballet dances are performed on the stage of the Olympic Stadium in Nagano.
  • Jet planes
    The acrobatic airplanes, Blue Impulse zoom right above the Olympic Stadium, leaving smokes of the 5 Olympic colors.
    Michiyo's Note: I was really looking forward to seeing how the sumo wrestlers would appear in the ceremony. Because of the size of the stadium, they looked much smaller than real life. I had a hard time recognizing some of them, because the expression on their faces were unlike what we're used to seeing during the tourneys. The children were just darlings.
    First competitions
    Ice hockey games were the only competitions scheduled on the first day.
    Group AAustria vs Slovakia
    2 to 2
    Kazakstan vs Italy
    5 to 3
    Group BBelarus vs France
    4 to 0
    Japan vs Germany
    1 to 3