| Event type

Downhill, Men1

Date16 February 1984 — 12:00
LocationBjelašnica (Olympia)
Participants61 from 25 countries
Course SetterKarl FrehsnerSUI
DetailsGates: 34
Length: 3066 m
Start Altitude: 2076 m
Vertical Drop: 803 m

No American had ever won the men’s downhill at the Olympics. In fact, they had never won an Olympic medal in the event, and their only major international win had come in 1959 when Buddy Werner triumphed on the Hahnenkamm. A few weeks before Sarajevo there was nothing to suggest this would change, until Bill Johnson won the Lauberhorn in Wengen, Switzerland. Known as a good glider, but not so good on a difficult course with lots of turns, the Sarajevo downhill set up perfectly for him.

The race had difficulty starting as it was postponed three times and seven days because of heavy snows. After Johnson had several of the best training runs, he was a slight favorite, and starting in sixth position, he posted the best time which held up for the gold medal. Asked later what this meant to him, he responded, “Millions!” Johnson would win two more World Cup downhills in 1984, at Aspen and Whistler in March, but never again won a major race after 1984. His victory was derided by the European skiers, who claimed he only won because the course was easy, to which Johnson asked, “If it was so easy, why didn’t they win it?” Johnson was a cocky, controversial character who had a very short period in the skiing limelight. He attempted a comeback for the 2002 Winter Olympics, but crashed during the US Championships in 2001 and sustained significant brain damage, spending several weeks in a coma. He never fully recovered and requires constant day-to-day care.

16Bill JohnsonUSA1:45.59Gold
211Peter MüllerSUI1:45.86Silver
313Anton SteinerAUT1:45.95Bronze
42Pirmin ZurbriggenSUI1:46.05
=59Urs RäberSUI1:46.32
=57Helmut HöflehnerAUT1:46.32
714Sepp WildgruberFRG1:46.53
812Steve PodborskiCAN1:46.59
915Todd BrookerCAN1:46.64
103Franz KlammerAUT1:47.04
1110Erwin ReschAUT1:47.06
1221Klaus GattermannFRG1:47.12
1325Günther MarxerLIE1:47.43
145Conradin CathomenSUI1:47.63
154Michael MairITA1:47.70
=1618Vladimir MakeyevURS1:47.87
=1616Alberto GhidoniITA1:47.87
1826Martin BellGBR1:48.00
198Steven LeeAUS1:48.02
=2027Franck PiccardFRA1:48.06
=2019Danilo SbardelottoITA1:48.06
2224Herbert RenothFRG1:48.39
2320Valery TsyganovURS1:48.46
2422Doug LewisUSA1:48.49
2531Michel VionFRA1:48.68
261Gary AthansCAN1:48.79
2730Janež PleteršekYUG1:48.97
2828Shinya ChibaJPN1:49.02
2923Philippe VerneretFRA1:49.30
3032Tomaž JemcYUG1:49.68
3138Bruce GrantNZL1:49.94
3229Graham BellGBR1:50.06
3334Connor O'BrienGBR1:50.36
3435Alistair GussAUS1:50.57
3537Markus HubrichNZL1:50.77
3636Hubert HiltiLIE1:50.94
3733Frederick BurtonGBR1:51.15
3841Hubertus von FürstenbergMEX1:51.57
3943Dieter LinnebergCHI1:51.68
4040Pierre CouqueletBEL1:52.40
4142Andrés FigueroaCHI1:52.97
4244Hans KossmannCHI1:54.36
4345Scott Alan SánchezBOL1:54.75
4448Miguel PurcellCHI1:54.91
4546Jorge BirknerARG1:54.92
4639Henri MollinBEL1:55.72
4750David LajouxMON1:56.95
4857Albert LloveraAND1:57.88
4947Nicolás van DitmarARG1:58.86
5056Jordi TorresAND1:59.06
5149Lamine GuèyeSEN1:59.64
5260Park Byung-RoKOR1:59.74
5352Enrique de RidderARG1:59.76
5451Américo AsteteARG2:01.60
5558Giannis StamatiouGRE2:01.79
5653Andreas PantelidisGRE2:01.88
5759Kim Jin-HaeKOR2:01.96
5854Eu Woo-YounKOR2:02.67
5955Lazaros ArchontopoulosGRE2:03.93
6061Jamil El-ReedyEGY3:13.86
DNF17Peter DürrFRG