1968 Winter Olympics

Facts

Competition type Olympic Games
Host city (Venues)
Opening ceremony 6 February
Closing ceremony 18 February
Competition dates 4 – 18 February
OCOG Comité d'organisation des Xèmes Jeux Olympiques d'hiver
Participants 1160 from 37 countries
Medal events 35 in 10 disciplines
Other events 1 in 1 disciplines

Overview

The controversy so often associated with the Olympic Games began to reach Winter Olympia in 1968 at Grenoble. Though the Games went fairly well, there were many problems. It began before the Olympics when the IOC, led by President Avery Brundage, decided it wished to curb advertising on skis and clothing by the alpine skiiers. They threatened to expel certain skiiers, while the skiiers threatened to withdraw en masse in revolt. A compromise was reached eventually in which the skiiers agreed to remove all equipment with advertising prior to being photographed or interviewed.

Grenoble was in the Dauphine region of the French Alps, but the 1968 Winter Olympics were spread all through the mountains. There were separate Olympic Villages because the distance to the events – a main one in Grenoble, and the others in Chamrousse and Autran. Only the skating and ice hockey events were actually held in Grenoble.

The Games’ hero of heroes was Jean-Claude Killy, who had grown up and learned to ski in the neighboring mountains. He was favored, and expected by France to duplicate Toni Sailer’s 1956 feat and win all three alpine skiing gold medals. He succeeded but not without a major controversy in the slalom. The race was held in fog and both Karl Schranz (AUT) and Håkon Mjøen (NOR) posted faster times. But both were disqualified for missing gates. Schranz appealed, stating that he had been interfered with and replays showed he had. He was allowed a re-start and again posted a winning time. But he was then disqualified when further investigation revealed that the interference on the first run occurred after Schranz had missed his gates. Killy had his third gold medal and France had its hero.

Another star of the Games was America’s Peggy Fleming. She was the American figure skating hope to resurrect the American program after the tragic events of February 1961, when the entire American figure skating was killed in a plane crash en route to the world championships. Fleming was the heavy favorite to win the women’s figure skating title at Grenoble, having won the world championship in 1966-1967, and she did not disappoint, winning the women’s title easily, placing first both in school figures and free skating. In pairs figure skating, the lyrical, almost poetic team of Lyudmila Belousova and Oleg Protopopov won their second consecutive championship.

In the bobsled events, held on l’Alpe d’Huez, site of so much heroism and suffering during the Tour de France, Eugenio Monti of Italy finally succeeded in winning an Olympic gold medal. In fact he won both bobsled events. Monti was a multiple world champion, and had been considered the best bobsledder in the world, but he had not previously been able to strike Olympic gold.

Grenoble was really the first time that controversy marred the Olympic Winter Games, which had been relatively immune to the political problems so often seen at their summer counterparts. It would not get any better at the next few Winter Olympics.

Bid process

Bid voting at the 62nd IOC Session in Innsbruck on 28 January 1964.

Round 1 Round 2 Round 3
Grenoble France 15 18 27
Calgary Canada 12 19 24
Lahti Finland 11 14
Sapporo Japan 6
Oslo Norway 4
Lake Placid United States 3

Ceremonies

Officially opened by Charles de Gaulle (President)
Torchbearer(s) Alain Calmat (Lit flame)
Taker of the Athlete's Oath Léo Lacroix
Flagbearers Full list
Olympic Flag Bearers Ten unknown members of the French alpine forces

Medal Disciplines

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

Other Disciplines

Figure Skating

Medal table

NOC Gold Silver Bronze Total
Norway NOR 6 6 2 14
Soviet Union URS 5 5 3 13
France FRA 4 3 2 9
Italy ITA 4 0 0 4
Austria AUT 3 4 4 11
Netherlands NED 3 3 3 9
Sweden SWE 3 2 3 8
West Germany FRG 2 2 3 7
United States USA 1 5 1 7
East Germany GDR 1 2 2 5
Finland FIN 1 2 2 5
Czechoslovakia TCH 1 2 1 4
Canada CAN 1 1 1 3
Switzerland SUI 0 2 4 6
Romania ROU 0 0 1 1

Most successful competitors

Athlete Nat Gold Silver Bronze Total
Jean-Claude Killy FRA 3 0 0 3
Toini Gustafsson SWE 2 1 0 3
Luciano De Paolis ITA 2 0 0 2
Ole Ellefsæter NOR 2 0 0 2
Harald Grønningen NOR 2 0 0 2
Eugenio Monti ITA 2 0 0 2
Carry Geijssen NED 1 1 0 2
Nancy Greene CAN 1 1 0 2
Kaija Mustonen FIN 1 1 0 2
Berit Mørdre-Lammedal NOR 1 1 0 2
Lyudmila Titova URS 1 1 0 2
Thomas Köhler GDR
GER
1 1 0 2
Fred Anton Maier NOR 1 1 0 2
Odd Martinsen NOR 1 1 0 2
Jiří Raška TCH 1 1 0 2
Manfred Schmid AUT 1 1 0 2
Magnar Solberg NOR 1 1 0 2
Aleksandr Tikhonov URS 1 1 0 2
Kees Verkerk NED 1 1 0 2

All medalists at these Games