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Best Moments of Alpine Skiing in the Olympic Winter Games. Sarajevo 1984

Sarajevo was awarded the 14th Olympic Winter Games on 18 May 1978 at the 80th IOC Session in Athens, beating competition from Sapporo (Japan) and Gothenburg (Sweden).

The XIV Olympic Winter Games were held between 8 and 19 February 1984 in Sarajevo, in former Yugoslavia, and attracted 1,272 participants (998 men and 274 women) representing 49 different countries (NOCs). The program consisted of six sports and 39 separate events.

On 8 February, the President of Yugoslavia, Mika Spiljak, declared the 14th Olympic Winter Games open. The Olympic Oath was sworn by the Alpine skier, Bojan Krizaj, and the Olympic Flame was lit by the figure skater, Sandra Dubravcic. The Official’s Oath was sworn by Dragan Perovic, who was to officiate in the Alpine skiing events.

Yugoslavia won its first-ever Winter Olympic medal at these Games, with Jure Franko sending the crowds wild by coming second in the Men’s Giant Slalom. The USA’s Phil Mahre won the gold medal in the men’s slalom, with his twin brother, Steve, finishing in second place.

The Men's races were at Bjelašnica and the women's at Jahorina. It was the last Olympic program with just six events for Alpine Skiing; ten events were held in 1988 with the return of the Combined event and the addition of the Super-G.

Banned from competition at these Olympics by the International Ski Federation (FIS) were top World Cup racers Ingemar Stenmark of Sweden and Hanni Wenzel of Liechtenstein, both double gold medalists at the 1980 Winter Olympics and leading the World Cup in 1984. They accepted promotional payments directly, rather than through national ski federations. Also absent was Marc Girardelli, who had not yet gained his citizenship from Luxembourg and was not allowed to compete for his native Austria.

Eight nations won medals in alpine skiing, with the United States leading the medal table with three gold and two silver. Perrine Pelen from France was the only racer to win multiple medals, taking a silver medal in Slalom and a bronze medal in the Giant Slalom.

Bill Johnson, the maverick skier, won America's first Olympic title at Sarajevo in 1984.

At the beginning of the Eighties, despite an excellent third place in the overall medals table at the 1980 Olympic Winter Games, the US was still trying to win its first Olympic gold medal in Alpine skiing.

At the 1984 Games, Bill Johnson was not yet 24 years old, and it was his first Olympics. Despite having been part of the Alpine ski team for some years, he did not achieve significant results until that season. In Wengen, Switzerland, less than a month before the Sarajevo Games, he claimed his first victory in the prestigious World Cup series downhill event, showing great courage on his astonishing run.

When the day arrived, on February 22, 1984, Johnson demonstrated technique and confidence in jumps and speed peaks in a pure mastery of the downhill slope, bending as if he were made of rubber, slicing through the air, and landing hard on the track of Bjelašnica. He succeeded in winning Olympic gold with apparent disarming ease.

Michela Figini’s alpine skiing career took off in 1983. She made her World Cup debut at age 16 in January. That year she captured bronze in the Giant Slalom World Junior Championships and had her first World Cup podium finish, third in the Downhill, one month later. She made an impression prior to the 1984 Winter Olympics by coming in second in the Super-G and winning a Downhill and a Combined event at the start of the World Cup season, but she was overshadowed by her compatriot Maria Walliser, who was a slight favorite in the Olympic Downhill. To everyone’s surprise, however, Figini’s time stood the onslaught of every other skier and, at age 17, she won Olympic gold 0.05 seconds ahead of Walliser.

Michela Figini, from Switzerland, was 17 years and 315 days old when she won the Ladies' Downhill at the 1984 Sarajevo Olympic Winter Games, making her the youngest alpine skiing Olympic gold medallist.


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