|Date||16 February 1984 — 12:00|
|Participants||61 from 25 countries|
|Course Setter||Karl Frehsner||SUI|
|Venue details||Gates: 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.
|38||41||Hubertus von Fürstenberg||MEX||1:51.57|
|43||45||Scott Alan Sánchez||BOL||1:54.75|
|49||47||Nicolás van Ditmar||ARG||1:58.86|
|53||52||Enrique de Ridder||ARG||1:59.76|