1984 Winter Olympics


Competition type Olympic Games
Host city Sarajevo, Yugoslavia (Venues)
Opening ceremony 8 February
Closing ceremony 19 February
Competition dates 7 – 19 February
OCOG Organizing Committee of the 14th Olympic Winter Games
Participants 1273 from 49 countries
Medal events 39 in 10 disciplines
Other events 4 in 1 disciplines


With the award of the 1984 Olympic Winter Games to Sarajevo in 1978, the IOC was bringing the Winter festival to the Eastern Bloc for the first time. Sarajevo might have seemed a surprise choice but the other two candidates had problems. Göteburg planned events to be spread so widely that air transport would be necessary, while Sapporo had hosted the Winter Olympics in 1972, only six years before the bid for the 1984 Olympic Winter Games.

After the controversy, problems, and excitement in Lake Placid, Sarajevo’s Winter Olympics were much quieter. The only difficulties were weather problems. An initial concern about lack of snow was alleviated when a blizzard hit shortly after the opening ceremonies, forcing the men’s downhill to be postponed three times and delayed an entire week. All Alpine skiing events were postponed for the first four days.

In skiing, the IOC was making a last stand to keep the Olympics amateur. The IOC upheld the ski federation (FIS) when it banned ski champions Ingemar Stenmark (SWE) and Hanni Wenzel (LIE) shortly before the Olympics. The FIS charged them with having accepted appearance money. There were also problems concerning the eligibility of ice hockey players who had competed in the National Hockey League (NHL). Shortly before the ice hockey tournament, the IOC reached a compromise in which five skaters who had played in the NHL withdrew from the Olympics, while players who had signed contracts but played only in the minor leagues were allowed to play.

In nordic skiing, Marja-Liisa Hämäläinen (FIN) won three cross-country skiing gold medals. But nordic skiing rarely captures the press notices of figure skating, alpine skiing or ice hockey, and Hämäläinen’s feat was noted with little fanfare outside Finland.

In ice hockey, the Soviets restored the status quo when they easily won the gold medal. The Canadians, having returned to Olympic ice hockey in 1980, were thought to have a chance as some professionals could now be used. But the U.S.S.R. played seven games, won seven games, took the gold medal, and went home happy.

Figure skating produced the closest thing these Olympics had to media heroes. In ice dancing, the British couple, Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean, was heavily favored based on past performances. Their final program was quite controversial, however, as it probably violated ice dancing protocol by being based on a single piece of music, Ravel’s “Bolero”. Their performance to “Bolero” was mesmerizing, building to an almost orgiastic finish that brought the crowd to a frenzy. The judges awarded the Brits the highest scores ever seen in figure skating, with 12 6.0s out of 18 marks.

In singles figure skating, Scott Hamilton (USA) and Katarina Witt (GDR) won gold medals. Hamilton was expected to win as he had been nonpareil since the 1980 Olympics. Witt was not as well known and was not favored, but her stunning beauty made her a crowd favorite.

Sarajevo held a beautiful Winter Olympics. But the beauty would fade. When Yugoslavia split into the various republics in the early 1990s, civil war ensued in Yugoslavia over ethnic cleansing, much of it fought in Bosnia & Herzegovina. Many of the Olympic sights were destroyed by the war, and the peace and tranquility of the 1984 Winter Olympics seemed but a dream.

Bid process

Bid voting at the 80th IOC Session in Athens on 18 May 1978.

Round 1 Round 2
Sarajevo Yugoslavia 31 39
Sapporo Japan 33 36
Gothenburg Sweden 10


Officially opened by Mika Špiljak (President)
Torchbearer(s) Sanda Dubravčić (Lit flame)
Taker of the Athlete's Oath Bojan Križaj
Taker of the Official's Oath Dragan Perović
Flagbearers Full list
Olympic Flag Bearers Unknown

Medal Disciplines

Alpine Skiing Figure Skating Ski Jumping
Biathlon Ice Hockey Speed Skating
Bobsleigh Luge
Cross Country Skiing Nordic Combined

Other Disciplines

Alpine Skiing

Medal table

NOC Gold Silver Bronze Total
East Germany GDR 9 9 6 24
Soviet Union URS 6 10 9 25
United States USA 4 4 0 8
Finland FIN 4 3 6 13
Sweden SWE 4 2 2 8
Norway NOR 3 2 4 9
Switzerland SUI 2 2 1 5
Canada CAN 2 1 1 4
West Germany FRG 2 1 1 4
Italy ITA 2 0 0 2
Great Britain GBR 1 0 0 1
Czechoslovakia TCH 0 2 4 6
France FRA 0 1 2 3
Japan JPN 0 1 0 1
Yugoslavia YUG 0 1 0 1
Liechtenstein LIE 0 0 2 2
Austria AUT 0 0 1 1

Most successful competitors

Athlete Nat Gold Silver Bronze Total
Marja-Liisa Kirvesniemi-Hämäläinen FIN 3 0 1 4
Karin Enke-Kania GDR 2 2 0 4
Gunde Svan SWE 2 1 1 4
Gaétan Boucher CAN 2 0 1 3
Wolfgang Hoppe GDR
2 0 0 2
Dietmar Schauerhammer GDR 2 0 0 2
Thomas Wassberg SWE 2 0 0 2
Andrea Ehrig-Schöne-Mitscherlich GDR 1 2 0 3
Peter Angerer FRG 1 1 1 3
Eirik Kvalfoss NOR 1 1 1 3

All medalists at these Games