16TH DAY (FEB.22)
At 6 in the afternoon, Japan time, the Closing Ceremony took off. Emceed, by Japanese comedian Kinichi Hagimoto, the ceremony featuring Japanese festivals, especially those of Nagano Prefecture one after the other. There were girls doing the flower dance, decorated horses, and the shishimai of a 30 meter long traditional lion. The Olympic flag was then handed over to the mayor of Salt Lake City, the site of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch congratulated Nagano for a well organized Olympics. The Olympic flag was taken down, and it was followed by 5000 fireworks. Those fireworks represented the 4 seasons. The final image blasted up into the dark sky was the Nagano Olympic emblem shaped in a flower with the 5 Olympic colors. To wrap up the festivity, Japan's group Agartha sang the song supporting the Olympic mascots called snowlets with a song titled "Ile Aiye". Children, athletes and the spectators, all danced to the lively rhythm, and the 16 day festivity closed.
Men's 50 kilometer cross country
Bjoern Daehlie of Norway did it again. He added another gold to his large collection by capturing the 50 kilometer race. He clocked 2 hours 50.82 minutes for his 8th gold. Niklas Jonsson of Sweden took the silver. Daehlie needs one more to tie with the overall Olympic gold medal record held by track runner Carl Lewis and 4 others.
Czech's first Olympic gold in ice hockey
Petr Svoboda broke the ice 8 minutes into the 3rd quarter. His long shot successsfully entered the Russian goal.
Best goalkeeper: Dominik Hasek (Czech Republic)
Best forward: Pavel Bure (Russia) Best defense: Rob Blake (Canada)
|Czech Republic vs Russia|
1 to 0
15TH DAY (FEB.21)
Japan's 5th GOLD in short track race
Two Japanese made it to the final A race for the men's 500 meter short track speed skating. 19 year-old Takafumi Nishitani dashed in front of 3 other men. He kept the lead to finish first. His victory has given Japan its 5th gold medal. Runner up was Yulong An of China, and winning the bronze was another Japanese, 23 year-old Hitoshi Uematsu. Japan's medal count is now 10. In other short track events, in the men's 5000 meter relay, Canada came in first, then South Korean, and China. Japan was 5th.
Men's alpine skiing slalom
The man with a bright red head, Hans-Petter Buraas won the slalom gold. He was followed by another Norwegian Ole Christian Furuseth. Thomas Sykora of Austria was third. Italy's Alberto Tomba pulled out of the 2nd race. Japan's Kiminobu Kimura finished a disappointing 13th.
Four man bobsled
German takes the gold, after winning won also in the 2 man event. Great Britain and France shared the bronze.
Men's ice hockey
Finland wins 3rd place for the 2nd straight time in the Winter Games. The most expensive team, Canada, must go home without a medal.
14TH DAY (FEB.20)
Defending champion Japan in nordic combined team
Japan showed recovery after failing to leap far in the ski jumping event. That is, the 2nd skier in the 20 kilometer relay, Satoshi Mori took his team to 3rd place. At one point, the next Japanese skier Gen Tomii was second, but lost power to to keep the position. Japan in the end was 5th. Japan was unable to win a 3rd straight nordic combined team gold in the Winter Games following Lillehammer and Albertville. Norway became the Nagano Olympic champion. Up next was Finland, then France.
Lipinski is women's figure skating champion
As expected, the women's single gold was competed between 2 American women. They are 15 year-old Tara Lipinski and 17 year-old Michelle Kwan. Both skaters performed well but Lipinski scored just a little better to capture the Olympic title. In 3rd place was former world champion Lu Chen of China.
More gold for Compagnoni
Alpine skier Deborah Compagnoni of Italy clinched the gold in the women's giant slalom held in Shiga Kogen. She was the winner for the same event in Lillehammer, and the super-G in Albertville. Compagnoni is the first woman to win skier to capture the skiing events in 3 Olympics. Austrian Alexandra Meissnitzer was 2nds and 3rd was German's Katja Seizinger.
Another speed skating record in the women's 5000
Gunda Niemann-Stiernemann beat the world record that she set herself 4 years ago. Then her German teammate, Claudia Pechstein improved the record by .04 seconds. In 3rd place was Lyudimila Prokasheva of Kazakstan.
Men's ice hockey semi-final
|Canada vs Czech Republic|
1 to 2
13TH DAY (FEB.19)
A record crowd
The largest crowd at this Olympics gathered at the ski jumping stadium in Hakuba or 41,000. The purpose was to witness the ski jumping event in the team category of nordic ski combined. Japan has had won gold medals in both Albertville and Lillehammer Games in the event. However, Japan's Junichi Kokawa broke his finger bones during practice the previous day. He had to be replaced suddenly. This has hurt the team. But at the same time, 3-time overall World Cup champion Kenji Ogiwara failed to jump far enough. Japan ranks 5th in the ski jump portion of the combined event.
Women's 1000 meter speed skating
Marianne Timmer of the Netherlands again raced the ice the fastest. She clocked an Olympic record of 1 minute 16.51 seconds. World record holder Christine Witty of the U.S.A. came in second and Catrione Le May-Doan of Canada finished 3rd. Japan's Tomomi Okazaki who won the bronze in the 500 meter race placed 7th.
It's the monster again
Austria's Hermann Maier, this time captured the men's giant slalom in Shiga Heights. It's his 2nd gold in Nagano, after a terrible fall he experienced in the downhill in Hakuba. The famous Alberto Tomba of Italy lost balance in the beginning of the race. Japan's top skier Kiminobu Kimura who rarely enters the giant slalom competition finished 25th.
Women's alpine ski slalom
Hilde Gerg of Germany clinched the gold medal. Runner up was Italian Deborah Compagnoni.
12TH DAY (FEB.18)
A close cross country relay
The men's 40 kilo relay was held at Snow Harp in Hakuba Village. At the finish line, 2 men raced eachother fiercely. Norway entered the goal first by 0.2 seconds. Italy took second place. Finland was third. Norway's victory has personally given Bjoern Daehlie his 7th Olympic gold medal which is an Olympic record. Japan did the best ever by coming in 7th.
In the men's, American Eric Bergoust won th gold by scoring a world record of 255.64. Another American, Nikki Stone won the women's aerials. China's Zu Nannan came in second. She missed her chance to become China's first gold medalist in any Winter Olympics ever.
Men's Ice hockey quarter finals
The U.S.A. is surprisingly, eliminiated already. Defending champion Sweden also lost after missing Ulf Samuelsson.
|Russia vs Belarus |
4 to 1
|Czech vs U.S.A. |
4 to 1
|Canada vs Kazakstan |
4 to 1
|Finland vs Sweden |
2 to 1
11TH DAY (FEB.17)
Japanese jumpers are number ONE!
Heavy snow fall in Hakuba Village delayed the start of the team event for ski jumping. Japanese team consisted of Takanobu Okabe, Hiroya Saito, Masahiko Harada and Kazuyoshi Funaki who jumped in that order. The Japanese team was, after the second jumper, way ahead of the other teams. However, Harada was only able to go as far as 79.5 meters. Japan's standing in the first round was 4th. Then in the second round, both Okabe and Harada leaped to a record breaking 137 meters. Funaki's 125 meter jump secured Japan's gold. The silver went to Germany, the bronze to Austria. The victory marked Japan's 100th gold medal in the Olympics, including the Summer and Winter Games.
Michiyo's Note: The victory in the ski jumping team event has a very special place in Harada's heart. He was the final jumper in the Lillehammer Winter Games. Back then he spoiled the chance for Japan to win the gold as the final jumper of the team. I remember very clearly how much he blamed himself for the failure. Many Japanese must have felt like screaming, "not again!" after his first jump this time. But he picked himself up extremely well after that. Hurray!
Speed skating records in the men's 10,000 meters
The world record was broken again in speed skating. Gianne Romme of the Netherlands clocked an incredible time of 13 minutes 15.33 seconds. He was actually 10 seconds faster than runner up Bob De Jong. Rintje Ritsma came in third. All were Dutchman.
Short track speed skating begins
South Korea collected 2 gold medals in the short track race suddenly. Dong Sung Kim won the 1000 meter men's race, and the women's team captured the 3000 meter relay. Japanese Naoya Tamura took 5th in the men's race. The Japanese women finished 4th in the relay.
Another victory for Seizinger
German's Katja Seizinger clinched the alpine women's combined title. It's her 2nd gold medal in Nagano. She ties with Vreni Schneider of Switzerland with an overall 3 gold medals in the Olympic Winter Games. In this event, all medals were swept by German ladies.
Ice hockey player kicked out
Ulf Samuelsson, who played for the Swedish men's team so far was banned from further participation. That is because, it was learned that he did not hold Swedish nationality. Samuelson was born in Sweden, but he gained US citizenship later. At least, the Swedish team was not force out from the Olympics.
Women's ice hockey final
The Americans are the first women Olympic ice hockey champions.
|Canada vs U.S.A. |
1 to 3
10TH DAY (FEB.16)
World record in women's 1500 meters
The M-Wave had proved once again that its ice is well taken care of. That's because records were marked even in the women's 1500-meter speed skating race. Marianne Timmer of the Netherlands broke the world record clocking 1 minute 57.58 seconds. Medal favorite Gunda Niemann-Stirnemann of Germany had to skate alone, but could still keep herself going in full speed taking the silver medal with a time of 1 minute 58.66 seconds. In third was Christine Witty of the U.S.A.
Maier is a real monster
The men's super-G in alpine skiing was finally held after a 45 minute delay. Hermann Maier of Austria, who hurt himself during the downhill competition skied super well. He captured the gold medal with a time of 1 minute 34.82 seconds. Another Austrian Hans Knauss came in second.
The incredible Seizinger
Top medal favorite Katja Seizinger of Germany who had won 3 straight World Cup events this season took the gold in the women's downhill with a time of 1 minute 28.89 seconds. It's her 2nd downhill gold at the Winter Games following her victory in Lillehammer. Then an hour later, she had to compete in the first of the alpine skiing combined event. It was again in the downhill. She clocked an even faster time of 1 minute 28.52 seconds.
Lazutina collects another gold
The final skier for the Russian team, Larissa Lazutina finished the women's 20 kilo cross country relay first. Norway followed then Italy.
Ice dancing graces the rink
For the first time in the history of ice dancing, Russian pair Pasha Grishuk and Evgeny Platov won the gold. Another pair from Russia, Anjelika Krylova and Oleg Ovsyannikov performed an action filled Carmen for the second place. France's Marina Anissina and Gwendal Peizeral won the bronze.
Men's ice hockey results
Canada's superstar Wayne Gretzky scored his first goal at the Nagano Winter Games in the game against the U.S.A.
|U.S.A. vs Canada|
1 to 4
|Sweden vs Belarus|
5 to 2
|Russia vs Czech|
2 to 1
|Kazakstan vs Finland|
2 to 8
9TH DAY (FEB.15)
Japanese jumpers claim more medals
Japan's top jumpers Kazuyoshi Funaki and Masahiko Harada were 4th and 6th respectively in the 1st round. In the 2nd round, Harada jumped beyond the 135- meter line. The judges could not give the exact measurement even after the final jumper finished. It turned out to be a record breaking 136 meters. Harada for the first time clinched a medal at the Olympic Winter Games for just himself. It was a bronze. The gold went to Funaki who's first jump was 126 meters, and his second 132.5 which was given a perfect score of 20 from all judges for his jumping style. Silver medalist is Jani Soininen of Finland, the normal hill Olympic champion.
Another bronze for Shimizu
500-meter champion, Hiroyasu Shimizu marked his best time of 1 minute 11 seconds for the bronze medal in the men's 1000-meter race. The top 2 winners were from the Netherlands. The gold medalist is Ids Postman with the time of 1 minute 10.64 seconds, and second is Jans Bos at 1 minute 10.71 seconds. Former world record holder Manabu Horii finished 17th. He was so disappointed about his performance that he could not hold back his tears after the race.
Women's 7.5 kilo sprint
Russian Galina Koukleva finished first.
First Olympic curling champions
In the finals, Canadian women beat the Danes 7 to 5 for the first Olympic victory while the Candian men lost to Switzerland 3 to 9.
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