1984 Winter Olympics

The 1984 Winter Olympics, officially known as the XIV Olympic Winter Games (Serbo-Croatian and Slovene: XIV. Zimske olimpijske igre; Cyrillic: XIV Зимске олимпијске игре; Macedonian: XIV Зимски олимписки игри, romanizedXIV Zimski olimpiski igri) and commonly known as Sarajevo 1984 (Cyrillic: Сарајево 1984; Macedonian: Сараево 1984), was a winter multi-sport event held between 8 and 19 February 1984 in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Yugoslavia.[b] It was the first Winter Olympic Games held in a socialist state and in a Slavic language-speaking country. It was the second consecutive Olympic Games to be held in a socialist state and in a Slavic language-speaking country, after the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, Soviet Union. It was also the first Olympics to take place in the Balkans since the first Olympic Games in Athens.

XIV Olympic Winter Games
1984 Winter Olympics logo.svg
Logo of the 1984 Winter Olympics[a]
Host citySarajevo, SR Bosnia and Herzegovina, Yugoslavia
Athletes1,272 (998 men, 274 women)
Events39 in 6 sports (10 disciplines)
Opening8 February
Closing19 February
Opened by
StadiumKoševo Stadium

The Games were held in Sarajevo and at resorts in the Dinaric Alps located less than 25 kilometers from the city. At the start of the Games, the sports program was disrupted by weather conditions and the alpine ski races started four days late.

The Games brought together 1272 athletes from 49 countries, which represents a significant increase compared to 1980. Athletes participated in six sports and ten disciplines in a total of thirty-nine official events, one more than the Games four years earlier. Egypt, British Virgin Islands, Monaco, Puerto Rico and Senegal participated for the first time in the Olympic Winter Games. Finland's Marja-Liisa Hämäläinen, who won all three individual races in cross-country skiing, won the most medals of the Games. Yugoslavia won the first medal in its history at the Winter Games after skier Jure Franko came second in the giant slalom. East Germany, which won all gold and silver medals in women's speed skating and bobsleigh, finished first on the medal table with twenty-four awards, nine of which were gold. The 1984 Winter Olympics, considered a success, made it possible to modernize Sarajevo and develop winter sports in Yugoslavia, but the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which broke out in 1992, heavily damaged the city and the Olympic facilities. Some sites have been renovated after the war but others remain abandoned.

Host city selectionEdit

Selection of the host cityEdit

Sarajevo in 1982

A study entitled "The possibilities and problems of tourism development continental in Yugoslavia” and published in 1968 by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) first indicated that Yugoslavia and in particular the region of Sarajevo have favorable conditions for the development of winter sports. As early as 1970, the authorities in Sarajevo planned to host the Winter Olympics to promote this development and become a sustainable winter sports center. They first considered a candidature for the Games of 1976 or 1980 but, after having modernized the city within the framework of the project “Protection of the environment and of man”, applied for those of 1984. The bid committee was created on 23 November 1977.[1][2]

Two other candidates for the Games were Göteborg in Sweden and Sapporo in Japan. The Gothenburg bid was expensive and there was vast differences in the distances between sites which would require air transport. Sapporo had previously hosted the Games in 1972, only twelve years before the proposed 1984 Games. The city therefore had experience and most of the infrastructure present, but new Olympic nations were seen as more attractive. Sarajevo presented a compact project, with all the planned venues within 25 kilometers of the city, and has experience of several international competitions such as Alpine Skiing World Cup events or the Alpine Skiing Championships, and 'Europe of figure skating'.[3]

1984 Winter Olympics bidding results[4]
City Country Round 1 Round 2
Sarajevo   Yugoslavia 31 39
Sapporo   Japan 33 36
Gothenburg   Sweden 10

The host city for the XIV Olympic Winter Games was announced on 18 May 1978, during the 80th session of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Athens, Greece. Sarajevo was selected by a margin of three votes over Sapporo, Japan. Gothenburg became the first Swedish city to lose a Winter Olympics bid; other Swedish cities, such as Falun and Östersund, would later lose consecutive bids to Calgary (1988), Albertville (1992), Lillehammer (1994), Nagano (1998), and Salt Lake City (2002), respectively. Sarajevo, the capital of present-day Bosnia and Herzegovina, was the third-largest city of the united Yugoslavia at the time.


The 1984 Winter Games took place during the Cold War, four years after the boycott of the Moscow Games by dozens of nations including the United States and a few months before the boycott of the Los Angeles Games by the Soviet Union and other aligned countries. International tensions did not affect the Winter Games.[5][6]



Chair of the Organizing Committee Branko Mikulić

A provisional organizing committee was created on July 13, 1978 and the final committee with 79 members was formed as April 1980 by the Yugoslav Olympic Committee and the Sarajevo Municipal Assembly. Branko Mikulic, member of the presidency of the central committee of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia, was appointed chairman of the organizing committee. Ahmed Karabegovic was appointed the secretary-general and Anto Sucic, then president of the Sarajevo Municipal Assembly, became the president of the executive committee. The organizing committee included the president of the Yugoslav Olympic committee and representatives of the Federal Executive Council, the League of Communists and the Socialist Alliance of the Working People.[7][3]

Financial aspectsEdit

According to the financial results of the Games, the revenues amount to 19.83 billion Yugoslav dinars (approximately US$203 million) and expenses at 17.3 billion dinars (US$177 million), which corresponds to a profit of 2.54 billion of dinars (US$26 million).[8] However, the official report for the games listed the final profit at US$10 million.[9]

The Games were organized in a Communist State but the organizers did not hesitate to partner with capitalist companies to finance the Games. The Organizing Committee argued it was not hypocritical because sport must be above political influence. The organizing committee signed 218 contracts and arrangements in Yugoslavia and 459 on the foreign market. This included the sale of television rights, sponsorship, sale of license rights, free delivery of goods and equipment, advertising, donations as well as Olympic coins, lottery and philately. Marketing brought in 4.31 billion dinars on the national market and 9.42 billion dinars on the foreign market, totaling 13.73 billion of dinars (US$141.65 million).[10][11] The government also contributed to the financing of the Games: the Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina paid 1.83 billion dinars, the Federation of Yugoslavia and the other republics and autonomous regions 0.78 billion and the city of Sarajevo 1 billion. From 1982 to the end of 1984, a deduction made from citizens' salaries (0.2% for citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina, 0.3% for those of Sarajevo) brought in 1.21 billion.[12]

Building the facilities and purchasing the equipment for the Games cost a total of 8.63 billion dinars. The expenses were listed at 2.26 billion for equipment, 0.97 billion for the Zetra hall, 0.6 billion for the alpine ski slopes, 0.57 billion for the ice rink and the center of Skenderija press, 0.56 billion for the bobsleigh and luge track, 0.4 billion for the speed skating track and 0.34 billion for the ski jumps. The organizing committee also invested 1.65 billion in posts, telegraphs and telephones, the television network, the aerodrome, the road network, 23 stations of sports of winter and sports centers and other facilities. Preparation and organization costs were listed at 4.51 billion dinar.[8]


The region's transport network was developed for the Games. Roads with a total length of 160 kilometers were constructed to improve access to mountain sites from Sarajevo or to link the sites to each other, the city's train station and the Sarajevo International Airport was renovated and a new terminal was built.[13]

Athletes, accompanying persons, officials and visitors arrived in Yugoslavia by regular flights to Zagreb and Belgrade to reach Sarajevo by train or by charters which land directly in Sarajevo.[14] Spectators were transported to the competition venues by coach and a fleet of cars, minibuses and coaches was used for official transport.[15]

Visual identityEdit

The emblem of the 1984 Winter Olympics was a stylized snowflake which also used the national embroidery motif overhung with the Olympic rings.[16] The mascot for the competition was chosen by readers of Yugoslav newspapers from among six entries. The mascot was a wolf named Vučko and created by Slovenian Jože Trobec.[17]


More than 3,000 employees of the Yugoslav public broadcaster, Yugoslav Radio Television, produced 204 hours of television broadcasts. The number of countries in which received broadcasts of the games on television increased from 40 to 100 and the broadcasting rights, which were US$20.7 million in 1980, stood at US$102.7 million. Media revenue is shared between the organizing committee which received two-thirds and the IOC which collected one-third. The channel ABC spent US$91.5 million to broadcast the footage in the United States, nearly 50% of all money spent on broadcasting rights.[18][11]

The Games were covered by 7,393 representatives of the media from 39 countries: 2,363 journalists from the print media and 5,030 employees television and radio channels.[16][19] Seven press centers were set up near the various competition venues, the main one being that of Skenderija.[20]

Torch relayEdit

Olympic torch, Sarajevo 1984

The torch relay for the 1984 Winter Olympics started in Olympia and then proceeded by airplane to Dubrovnik. The total distance of the torch relay through Yugoslavia was 5,289 kilometres (3,286 mi) plus 2,879 kilometres (1,789 mi) of local routes. There were two main routes: one in the west (SplitLjubljanaZagrebSarajevo), 2,602 kilometres (1,617 mi) in length; and the other in the east (SkopjeNovi SadBelgrade – Sarajevo), 2,687 kilometres (1,670 mi) in length. The final torchbearer, from a total of 1,600, was figure skater Sanda Dubravčić, who received the torch from skier runner Ivo Čarman.[21] One of the two original torches is held in a private collection in Žalec, Slovenia. There are also 20 more torches in Greece, owned by individual athletes who were the torchbearers from Ancient Olympia to the nearby military airport and from Athens Domestic Airport to the Panathinaikon Stadium where the Ceremony of handing over the Olympic Flame to the Sarajevo Olympic Games Committee occurred.[citation needed]

Panoramic view of Koševo Stadium during the 1984 Winter Olympics opening ceremony


The official poster of the 1984 Winter Olympics

Official mascotEdit

Readers of Yugoslav newspapers were asked to choose the mascot for the 1984 Winter Olympics from a list of six finalists. The winner was Vučko, the little wolf, designed by Slovenian designer and illustrator Jože Trobec. The other finalists were a chipmunk, a lamb, a mountain goat, a porcupine, and a snowball.[26] The Vučko is a long-time symbol of Sarajevo.[citation needed]


Bjelašnica alpine mountain

In 1978, the Sarajevo region had an artificial ice rink, a few cross-country ski trails and biathlon and alpine ski slopes. Most of the facilities remained to be built. The construction of the new venues began in the summer of 1979 and was completed in December 1982, which made it possible to organize 31 national and international events during the pre-Olympic period.[27] All the events took place in Sarajevo or at various resorts in the Dinaric Alps located less than 25 kilometers from the city.[3]

The Koševo City Stadium, built in 1947 in the center of Sarajevo, is completely renovated to host the opening ceremony of the Games. Its capacity was 45,000. The Zetra Olympic Hall, with a capacity of 8,500, is built near the Koševo stadium for part of the ice hockey and figure skating events as well as the closing ceremony. A natural speed skating track is also set up in the same district. Skenderija Sports Center, located in another part of town, was renovated and expanded for the Games to include an ice rink with a capacity 8,500 seats which hosted the other hockey and figure skating events as well as the main press center.[28][29][30]

The men's alpine ski races are held on Mount Bjelašnica, the highest mountain at 2,067 meters located southwest of Sarajevo. The women's events are contested on Mount Jahorina, at an altitude of 1,913 meters and located to the south-east of the city.[31] The Nordic events take place on Mount Igman, near Mount Bjelašnica. Igman Olympic Jumps of 70 and 90 meters are built in Malo Polje. The already existing cross-country ski and biathlon tracks in Veliko Polje are redeveloped and a new shooting range is installed for the biathlon.[32] A Bobsleigh and Luge Track, the first in the country's history, was built on the Trebević south-east of Sarajevo. The track has a length of 1300 meters and a drop of 126 meters.[33]

Accommodation sitesEdit

The main Olympic village is being built in the Mojmilo district of Sarajevo. Approximately 1,950 athletes and accompanying persons are accommodated in the 639 apartments available. The organizers built an auxiliary Olympic village on Mount Igman for athletes and coaches of cross-country skiing, Nordic combined and biathlon, with a capacity of 500 people. A press village built in the Dobrinja district accommodates representatives of the press, radio and television as well as accompanying staff with 2,100 apartments for a total of 8,500 beds. Members of the IOC, international sports federations and national committees stay in a Holiday Inn comprising 340 rooms and 16 suites built in the city center . Finally, 19,400 beds are made available to tourists in hotels, private accommodation or apartments in the Sarajevo region.[34] A total of nine hotels were built and seven more were renovated for the Games.[35]

City venuesEdit

Skenderija Complex:

Mountain venuesEdit

Other facilitiesEdit

  • City Olympic Village, Mojmilo
  • Press Village, Dobrinja
  • Hotels: Igman (Igman), Famos (Bjelašnica), Smuk (Bjelašnica), Bistrica (Jahorina)


There were 39 events contested in 6 sports (10 disciplines).


The Olympic champion Frank-Peter Rötsch in 1983

The biathlon events were held in Veliko Polje on Mount Igman.

Biathlon races began with the individual 20 km sprint. The 19-year-old East German Frank-Peter Rötsch quickly took the lead, but it was ultimately the West German Peter Angerer who won with a time one minute faster. Rötsch was second, and the bronze medal went to the Norwegian Eirik Kvalfoss.[36] The next event was the 10 km sprint. Kvalfoss, world champion in 1982 and 1983, won the race despite two missed targets. Angerer won the silver medal due to a good finish and the East German Matthias Jacob was the bronze medalist. The reigning Olympic champion Frank Ullrich missed three targets and finished only 17th.[37] The Soviets did not win an individual medal and were not favorites for the relay. Dmitriy Vasilyev, Juri Kashkarov, Algimantas Šalna and Sergei Bulygin won the race however; this was the fifth consecutive time that the Soviet Union had won gold in the relay since the start of the event in 1968. Norway finished second with 1:20 ahead of East Germany. Kvalfoss and Angerer therefore ended the Games with three medals in three different events.[38]


East Germans Wolfgang Hoppe and Dietmar Schauerhammer in 1985

The bobsleigh races took place on the bobsleigh/luge track built on the Trebević mountain. The East Germans dominated the discipline as they won the two gold medals and two silver medals. As of 2020, this performance has still not been matched.[39]

East Germans Wolfgang Hoppe and Dietmar Schauerhammer won the two-man bobsleigh event setting the fastest time in three of the four runs. They finished half a second ahead of their compatriots Bernhard Lehmann and Bogdan Musiol. The bobsledders of the Soviet Union created a surprise by placing third and fourth while the Swiss, world champions in 1982 and 1983, had to be content with fifth and sixth places. Swede Carl-Erik Eriksson was the first athlete to compete in six editions of the Olympic Winter Games. At 53 years old, he was also the oldest athlete at the 1984 Games.[40][41]

In the four-man bobsleigh event, Hoppe again finished first ahead of Lehmann while Silvio Giobellina's Swiss bobsleigh won the bronze medal. These three crews finished all the heats in the first three places and in the same order. The differences were large since the Swiss bob 2 crew, which came in fourth, was 2:68 behind.[42]

Nordic CombinedEdit

The Nordic combined athletes competed in three jumps on the 70 meters springboard, the two best being counted, then raced 15 kilometers on the tracks of Mount Igman the next day. The classification was established according to a points system.[43] The Norwegian Tom Sandberg was in first place after the jumps. Among the other favorites, the Finns Rauno Miettinen and Jouko Karjalainen occupied the sixth and 15th ranks. Karjalainen won the cross-country ski race with 1:20.7 ahead of second-placed Sandberg, but it was not enough to overtake him in the final standings. Sandberg was the Olympic gold medal champion and Karjalainen silver medalist. Surprisingly, fifth in the two events, the Finn Jukka Ylipulli won the bronze medal and Miettenen, ninth in cross-country skiing, finished fourth.[43]

Ice hockeyEdit

The ice hockey tournament took place on two rinks built in the districts of Zetra and Skenderija. The twelve teams were divided into two groups of six, and the two best teams of each group qualified for the final pool, any points acquired against the teams in the same pool being carried forward.[44]

There was controversy over player eligibility in advance of the Games. The IOC regulations stated that players who had signed a professional contract could not participate, while the International Ice Hockey Federation ruled that only players who had played a professional match were deemed ineligible. Finally, all players who had signed a contract or played a game in the National Hockey League were ineligible to take part in the Games. Conversely, Soviets and Czechoslovakians who had participated in no other activity than ice hockey could participate without any restriction.[45]

The Soviets won all their matches, notably thanks to the KLM Line made up of Vladimir Krutov, Igor Larionov, and Sergei Makarov. Continuing the tradition from the 1964 to 1976 Games, the Soviet Union won the gold medal with a 2–0 win over the Czechoslovaks who took silver. Sweden defeated Canada 2–0 to win the bronze.[46][45]


Gold medalist Steffi Martin in 1983

The luge competitions were held on the Sarajevo Olympic Bobsleigh and Luge Track built on the Trebević mountain. The East German Torsten Görlitzer and the Italian Ernst Haspinger dominated the first two rounds of the men's event, but they both lost time in the third round. The Italian Paul Hildgartner, silver medalist in 1980, set the best time of the last two races and became Olympic champion. The podium was completed by the Soviets Sergey Danilin and Valery Dudin. This was the first time that East Germany had not won a medal in the men's luge competition at the Olympic Games since 1964.[47]

East Germany dominated the women's event, taking the first three places in every round. World champion in 1983, Steffi Martin won all four races and won the gold medal, Bettina Schmidt won the silver medal, and Ute Oberhoffner won bronze.[48]

The doubles event was very close as the Soviets Yevgeny Belousov and Aleksandr Belyakov were first by 6.7 hundredths of a second after the opening round, but a small mistake at the end of the second and final round cost them the victory. The West Germans Hans Stangassinger and Franz Wembacher won the Olympic title, 4 hundredths of a second ahead of Belousov and Beliakov, and the East Germans Jörg Hoffmann and Jochen Pietzsch won bronze.[49]

Figure skatingEdit

The figure skating events took place at the Skenderija sports center. The American Scott Hamilton, world champion from 1981 to 1983, was first after the compulsory figures of the men's competition. The Canadian Brian Orser won the short program and the free skate ahead of Hamilton. Orser, who finished seventh in the compulsory figures, won the silver medal, while Hamilton won gold. The bronze medal went to Czechoslovakian Jozef Sabovčík.[50] The favorites in the women's competition were the Americans Elaine Zayak and Rosalynn Sumners, world champions in 1982 and 1983, as well as East Germany's Katarina Witt. Zayak was only thirteenth in the compulsory figures, which Sumners won, and Witt came third. The East German won the short program while Sumners took fifth place. In the free skate, Witt had a good performance that allowed her to win the gold medal while Sumners, who had a less difficult program than expected, settled for the silver medal. The Soviet Kira Ivanova took third place.[51] The Soviets Elena Valova and Oleg Vassiliev, world champions in 1983, won the short program and the free program and finished in first place in the pairs event. American siblings Kitty and Peter Carruthers were second and another Soviet pair, Larisa Seleznyova and Oleg Makarov, finished third.[52] British ice dancers Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean did not disappoint the public. They carried out a very original program set to the music of Boléro by Maurice Ravel and the nine judges give them the maximum score of six for artistic impression. Torvill and Dean become Olympic champions ahead of two Soviet couples (Natalia Bestemianova/Andrei Bukin and Marina Klimova/Sergei Ponomarenko).[53]

Speed skatingEdit

Karin Enke (pictured in 1983) won four medals in Sarajevo.

For the Games, an outdoor track was constructed with natural ice near the Zetra Olympic Hall.[54] The Soviet Sergey Fokichev won the 500 meters ahead of the Japanese skater Yoshihiro Kitazawa. Erroll Fraser, representing the British Virgin Islands, was the first athlete from the Caribbean to compete in a Winter Games.[55] After finishing third in the 500 meters, the Canadian Gaétan Boucher won the 1,000 and the 1,500 meters; the Quebecer ended the Games with three medals. Soviet Sergey Khlebnikov was second in these two races and the bronze medals were awarded to the Norwegian Kai Arne Engelstad and the Soviet Oleg Bozhev respectively.[54] The Swede Tomas Gustafson, who picked up the training techniques of Eric Heiden, won the 5,000 meters ahead of the Soviet Igor Malkov. In the 10,000 meters, Malkov was this time ahead of Gustafson. The East German René Schöfisch finished third in the two events.[54][56]

East Germany dominated the women's events, winning all of the gold and silver medals as well as a bronze medal, taking nine medals out of the twelve available. Karin Enke, who had won several world titles since winning the 500 meters Olympic gold in 1980, was the favorite in all four races. In the first event, the 1,500 meters, she easily won the gold medal by breaking the world record. She finished ahead of Andrea Ehrig and the Soviet Natalya Petrusyova, who were also among the favorites. The world record holder Christa Luding won the 500 meters ahead of Enke and the Soviet Natalya Glebova. The 1,000 meters podium was identical to that of the 1,500 meters contested three days earlier. In the last race, the 3,000 meters, the East Germans won all three medals: Ehrig ahead of Enke and Gabi Zange. This was the third time that a country had won the first three places in an Olympic speed skating event. Enke ended the Games with four medals and Ehring with three.[57][58][59]

Ski jumpingEdit

The ski jumping hills of mount Igman

The ski jumping events took place on the Igman hills, southwest of Sarajevo in windy weather conditions. On the normal hill, 20-year-old Matti Nykänen of Finland led the standings after the first round by achieving a jump of 91 meters. The 19-year-old East German Jens Weissflog was second with a jump of 90 meters. In the second run, Weissflog jumped to 87 meters and Nykänen, who would have won gold with a jump of 86 meters, landed at 84 meters. The East German was the Olympic champion ahead of the Finn. Jari Puikkonen, also Finnish, produced the best jump of the event: a jump of 91.5 meters allowed him to move up from 21st to third place. The final scores were close: there was a 1.2 point difference between the first and the second as well as between the second and the third.[60]

Nykänen largely dominated the event on the big hill. He jumped to 116 meters in the first run, while Weissflog only reached 107 meters. The Finn increased his lead by also producing the best jump of the second set. He won the Olympic title with a 17.5 points lead, the biggest gap between first and second in Olympic ski jumping history. Weissflog finished second and Czechoslovakian Pavel Ploc took third place.[61]

Alpine skiingEdit

The alpine skiing races took place on two different mountains: the men's events were contested on Bjelašnica and the women's events on Jahorina. The events started on February 13, four days behind schedule, because of strong winds and heavy snowfall.[62]

The American Bill Johnson, winner at Wengen in January, won the downhill ahead of the Swiss Peter Müller and the Austrian Anton Steiner. Johnson became the first American to win a medal in alpine skiing at the Olympic Games.[63] The Swede Ingemar Stenmark, considered one of the best skiers in the world in technical events, surrendered his Olympic eligibility in order to negotiate an agreement with the Swedish Ski Association to personally retain more of his sponsorship money.[64] Also missing was Marc Girardelli, who previously refused to train with the Austrian team and competed under the Luxembourg flag. Girardelli did not have Luxembourg citizenship and was not permitted to compete in the Games.[64] The Swiss Max Julen set the fastest time of the first heat and the second of the second heat and became Olympic champion. The Slovenian Jure Franko, winner of the second round and second in the final standings, won the first Yugoslav medal in the history of the Winter Games. The bronze medal went to Andreas Wenzel of Liechtenstein.[65] The American Phil Mahre, favorite in Stenmark's absence, finished first in the slalom ahead of his twin brother Steve. This was the eighth time that siblings had taken the top two places in an individual Olympic event, but the Mahres were the first twins to achieve this performance. The French Didier Bouvet won the bronze medal.[66] Both Mahre brothers retired from professional skiing after the Games at the age of 26.[64]

The Swiss Michela Figini won her first World Cup race two weeks before the Games. First of three of the five training heats in Sarajevo, she won the downhill ahead of her compatriot Maria Walliser and the Czechoslovak Olga Charvátová. At 17 years old, Figini became the youngest Olympic champion in alpine skiing.[67] The giant slalom podium was unexpected: the American Debbie Armstrong, who had never won a World Cup race, won gold ahead of her compatriot Christin Cooper. The Frenchwoman Perrine Pelen was third while another American, Tamara McKinney, finished in fourth place.[68] Only 21 of the 45 starters completed the two heats of the slalom. The Frenchwoman Christelle Guignard won the first round but did not complete the second. The Italian Paoletta Magoni, fourth in the first round and winner of the second round, became Olympic champion despite having also never won the World Cup. Pelen won a second medal, silver, ahead of Liechtenstein's Ursula Konzett.[69]

Cross-country skiingEdit

The cross-country skiing races took place in Veliko Polje, on the Igman mountain. A new technique, skate skiing, was widely used at the 1984 Games. However, it was prohibited on the last 200 meters of each race to avoid falls. The women's 20 kilometers, contested at the 1978 and 1982 World Championships, appeared at the Olympic Games.[70]

In the 15 kilometers, the Finn Harri Kirvesniemi led the race after 5.8 kilometers, but it was the Swede Gunde Svan who won. Aki Karvonen and Kirvesniemi, both Finnish, completed the podium.[71] The 30 kilometers took place under difficult conditions. Three-time Olympic champion in 1980, the Soviet Nikolaj Zimjatov, won another gold medal ahead of his compatriot Alexander Savjalov and Svan. Zimjatov was the third cross-country skier ever to win four Olympic titles after the Swede Sixten Jernberg and the Soviet Galina Kulakova.[72] After a tight 50 kilometers, the Swede Thomas Wassberg took the gold, just 4.9 seconds ahead of Svan, while Karvonen finished third.[73] In the 4 × 10 kilometer relay, Svan, the last rider of the Swedish team, took ten seconds ahead of the Soviet, Zimjatov, and finished in first place. Finland, eighth after the first skier, took the bronze medal. Svan ended his Games with four medals (two gold, one silver, and one bronze).[74]

After unsuccessfully competing in the 1976 and 1980 Olympics, Finland's Marja-Liisa Hämäläinen led the overall World Cup standings in 1983. In Sarajevo, she first won the 10 kilometers almost 19 seconds ahead of the Soviet Raisa Smetanina, the Olympic champion in 1976. The Norwegian Brit Pettersen won the bronze medal. Hämäläinen then won the 5 kilometers, 10 seconds ahead of the Norwegian Berit Aunli and 14 seconds ahead of the Czechoslovak Květoslava Jeriová-Pecková. She also won the 20 kilometers ahead of Smetanina and the Norwegian Anne Jahren. Norway, already in the lead after the first skier, won the 4 × 5 kilometers. Czechoslovakia won their first Olympic relay medal, silver, two seconds ahead of Finland who won the bronze medal. Hämäläinen, who won all three individual events as well as bronze in the relay, was the only three-time gold medalist of these Games.[75][76][77]

Demonstration sportEdit


The 1984 Winter Olympics took place from Wednesday 8 to Sunday 19 February, the dates were chosen to extend over twelve days and two weekends, like the previous editions. However, the ice hockey tournament began on February 7, the day before the Opening Ceremony.[78] The number of events increased from thirty-eight to thirty-nine, the 20 kilometers women was added to the cross-country skiing competitions.[79] Around 430,000 attend the competitions.[80]

All dates are in Central European Time (UTC+1)
OC Opening ceremony Event competitions 1 Event finals CC Closing ceremony
February 7th
  Ceremonies OC CC N/A
  Alpine skiing 1 1 2 1 1 6
  Biathlon 1 1 1 3
  Bobsleigh 1 1 2
  Cross country skiing 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 8
  Figure skating 1 1 1 1 4
  Ice hockey 1 1
  Luge 2 1 3
  Nordic combined 1 1
  Ski jumping 1 1 2
  Speed skating 1 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 9
Daily medal events 2 3 2 7 3 4 3 5 2 5 3 39
Cumulative total 2 5 7 14 17 21 24 29 31 36 39
February 7th
Total events

Weather conditionsEdit

The organizers had to face bad weather conditions at the start of the Games. During the night of 8 to 9 February, 40 centimeters of snow fell in Sarajevo and up to one meter on mountain sites. On February 9, the men's downhill skiing was postponed due to winds blowing up to 200 km/h and the other events were held several hours late. The situation did not improve over the following days. The biathlon, cross-country skiing, Nordic combined, ski jumping, bobsleigh and luge events were contested according to the schedule in difficult weather conditions while the alpine ski races only start on February 13.[81]

Opening CeremonyEdit

The Opening Ceremony took place on February 8 in front of 45,000 spectators at Koševo City Stadium. It is hosted by hundreds of musicians and dancers from different regions of Yugoslavia. After the parade of athletes, the Olympic flag is presented to the Mayor of Sarajevo Uglješa Uzelac. Alpine skier Bojan Križaj and referee Dragan Perović take the Olympic oath and figure skater Sanda Dubravčić lights the Olympic cauldron. Afterwards, the President of Yugoslavia Mika Špiljak declared the Games officially open.[82][83][6]

Closing CeremonyEdit

The Closing Ceremony takes place on February 19 in the Zetra Olympic Hall. After the parade of athletes, Juan Antonio Samaranch, whose first Olympiad as IOC President, thanked the organizers and declared the Games closed. The Olympic flame is extinguished at 20:21.[84]

Medal countEdit

A gold medal from the 1984 Winter Olympics.

Seventeen of the forty-nine nations participating in these Games win at least one medal, as detailed in the table below. Second behind the Soviet Union from 1972 to 1980, East Germany is first this time with twenty-four medals, nine of which are gold. East German athletes win all gold and silver medals in women's speed skating and bobsleigh. The Soviet Union, which won twenty-five medals, six of which were gold, moved to second place. This is mainly due to poorer performances in cross-country skiing since the Soviets won only one Olympic title in this discipline, against four in 1980. The United States are third, as in Lake Placid, with eight medals including four gold. They achieved one of their best performances in alpine skiing history (five medals, three of which were gold). Northern European countries occupy the following ranks: Finland is fourth (mainly thanks to the three gold medals of cross-country skier Marja-Liisa Hämäläinen), Sweden fifth, and Norway sixth. The host country is 14th with a silver medal. This is the first time that Yugoslavia won a medal at the Olympic Winter Games. Austria which finished fourth in 1980, is 17th with a bronze medal,[79] Austria's worst result since the start of the Winter Games in 1924.[85]

1  East Germany (GDR)99624
2  Soviet Union (URS)610925
3  United States (USA)4408
4  Finland (FIN)43613
5  Sweden (SWE)4228
6  Norway (NOR)3249
7  Switzerland (SUI)2215
8  Canada (CAN)2114
  West Germany (FRG)2114
10  Italy (ITA)2002
Totals (10 nations)383430102

Podium sweepsEdit

Date Sport Event NOC Gold Silver Bronze
12 February Luge Women's singles   East Germany Steffi Walter-Martin Bettina Schmidt Ute Oberhoffner-Weiß
15 February Speed skating Women's 3000 metres   East Germany Andrea Schöne Karin Enke Gabi Schönbrunn

Individual athletesEdit

Seven athletes win at least two gold medals at these Games. The Finnish cross-country skier Marja-Liisa Hämäläinen finishes first with three gold medals and one bronze. She is followed by East Germany Karin Enke, who wins two gold and two silver in speed skating, and Swedish cross-country skier Gunde Svan who also wins four medals (two gold, one silver and one bronze).[16][86]


Participating nationsEdit

A then record of 49 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) entered 1,272 athletes in the Sarajevo Games. This was a large increase from the 1,072 athletes from 37 countries in the 1980 Winter Games.[16][87] All the countries present at Lake Placid in 1980 are once again participating in Sarajevo. The British Virgin Islands, Egypt, Monaco, Puerto Rico and Senegal participate in their first Winter games. Chile, North Korea, Morocco, Mexico, San Marino, Taiwan and Turkey, absent in 1980, returned in 1984.[88]

The People's Republic of China ended its boycott of the Olympic Games over the controversy regarding the IOC's recognition of the Republic of China. The Republic of China (Taiwan) then competed as Chinese Taipei for the first time.

Participating National Olympic Committees

Reactions and falloutEdit


The Sarajevo Games were considered a success for their time. The trails were well maintained despite the bad weather conditions, the security services were discreet and the transport system worked well. In addition, the atmosphere is more festive than in previous Games and the competition leaves no debt.[5]


Olympic symbol damaged during the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina

The Olympic Games have a positive impact on Sarajevo. The expansion of the airport, the renovation of the station and the construction of hotels and restaurants increase the quality of life in the city. The Olympic Village becomes a residential area and new sports venues accelerate the development of winter sports in Yugoslavia.[89] After the Games, the Sarajevo track hosts several events of the Bobsleigh World Cup.[33]

The war in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the siege of Sarajevo, not foreseen at the time of the Games, lasted from 1992 to 1995. The conflict left tens of thousands of victims and severely damaged Sarajevo and Olympic venues. The Koševo stadium was renovated in 1998, the Zetra hall was rebuilt in 1999 with the support of the IOC and the alpine ski resorts are again in operation. However, the bobsleigh and toboggan run and the ski jumping hills are abandoned.[90][91]

In 2001, the city of Sarajevo considered a bid for the organization of the 2010 Winter Olympics to revive the economy of Bosnia and Herzegovina and accelerate the reunification of the country, divided between different ethnic groups. However, the candidacy was not considered by the IOC Executive Board.[92][93] The 2017 European Youth Winter Olympic Festival which was to take place in Sarajevo (some events were to be held on the sites used in 1984)[94] was held in Erzurum in Turkey but the city hosted the 2019 European Youth Olympic Winter Festival.


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ The emblem symbolizes a stylized snowflake, as well as the embroidery produced in the Sarajevo region with the Olympic rings above.
  2. ^ Located in what is now Bosnia and Herzegovina.
  3. ^ The 6.0 judging system has since been replaced with the ISU Judging System, therefore no other figure skater will earn perfect 6.0 scores in the future.


  1. ^ Dunkelberger 2004, p. 381
  2. ^ Organizing committee 1984, p. 4
  3. ^ a b c Dunkelberger 2004, p. 382
  4. ^ "Past Olympic host city election results". GamesBids. Archived from the original on 24 January 2011. Retrieved 17 March 2011.
  5. ^ a b Mogore 1989, p. 163
  6. ^ a b Monnin 2010, p. 109
  7. ^ Organizing committee 1984, p. 92-93
  8. ^ a b Organizing committee 1984, p. 185
  9. ^ Organizing committee 1984, p. 183
  10. ^ Organizing committee 1984, pp. 170–172
  11. ^ a b Dunkelberger 2004, p. 383
  12. ^ Organizing committee 1984, pp. 183–184
  13. ^ Organizing committee 1984, p. 105-106
  14. ^ Organizing committee 1984, p. 142-143
  15. ^ Organizing committee 1984, p. 142-145
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  19. ^ Organizing committee 1984, p. 134
  20. ^ Organizing committee 1984, p. 129-130
  21. ^ Organizing committee 1984, p. 122-124
  22. ^ Sarajevo Olympics 1984 opening ceremony on YouTube
  23. ^ "Giant Slalom Star Franko Thrills Yugoslavia". olympic.org. 14 February 1984. Retrieved 22 March 2021.
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  28. ^ Organizing committee 1984, p. 105
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External linksEdit

Winter Olympics
Preceded by XIV Olympic Winter Games

Succeeded by