Winter Olympics in Japan were held in 1998 in Nagano and featured a variety of competitions. The 1998 games saw the return of the Olympics to the country since the Winter Olympics in 1972 in Sapporo. The very first Summer Olympic Games was held in Tokyo in 1964. As in every other Olympic host country, the award of the Olympics to the Japanese was and is a huge source of pride, and the country worked hard to prepare to showcase their country and athletes to the world. At the Nagano Olympics, Japan hosted 72 regions and nations. The games drew people from far and wide.
Nagano sits at the core of Honshu Island, an incredibly mountainous area home to several top ski resorts, so it s no wonder the Nagano Olympics were held there. It is those mountainous attributes that afforded Nagano the award of the hosting the 1998 Olympics. There are several venues in and around the area that are still of interest to tourists, and made popular by the Nagano Olympics.
The Zenkou-ji Temple was the headquarters of the CBS of Canada during the Olympics. It is an ancient Buddhist temple and the oldest in Japan. The approximately 6,5000-foot-high Mount Iizuna was the chose location for bobsled, free-style skiing, and luge competitions for the Olympics. It is renowned for being the training area for ninjas up until the seventeenth century. Today it's known for it's brilliant alpine flora, and as a ski and golf resort in the respective seasons. The Shiga Highland shares many features with Iizuna, and was Nagano's perfect solution to a snowboard and slalom venue. South of Nagano lies stunning Matsumoto Castle, a high-priority site among Olympic tourists.
At the time of the Winter Olympics in Japan, not many people around the world new much about Nagano. Through its bid to the final win of the winter games, Nagano was characterized as an ancient city rich with Japanese history. Japan’s unique culture, customs, and geography were illustrated in homes around the globe for the very first time. Though the city was hammered by the elements throughout the games, the Winter Olympics in Japan were closed with ceremonies featuring more than 50,000 Japanese lanterns and 2,000 rhythmical drums, bringing a harmonious end to the weather-beaten Nagano Olympics.
Some of the gold medal winners in Japan Winter Olympics won their top prizes during incredibly memorable moments. Tara Lipinski, a U.S. figure skater, was the youngest woman to ever win in her event, beating out a near-perfect performance by champion Michelle Kwan. In male skating, Elvis Stojko and Todd Eldridge were surpassed by young Russian Ilia Kulik. Some of the gold medal winners in Japan Winter Olympics were a pleasant surprise for the ardent pro-supporters counting on some of the old favorites to win.
The world, along with Japan, experienced a most memorable moment during the games when Japanese ski jumpers Takanobu Okabe and Masahiko Harada tied for first upon the longest ski jumps ever recorded in Olympic history—137 meters. The snow was driving down wildly and the Japanese crowd were cheering uncontrollably, all the while furiously waving their red flags. The tie was one of the biggest sources of national pride during the games. More enduring moments for gold medal winners in Japan Winter Olympics were in the new events never before played at the Olympics including curling, women’s ice hockey, and snowboarding. In the ice hockey tournaments, the U.S. team defeated the Canadian women’s team in the final period to snatch the very first gold medal awarded to the sport.