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Maksim Fyodorov, editor-in-chief of the Publishing House MediaYug  
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The Team of Our Pride

1 (2008)
Viewed: 1973
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Of 14 Winter Games in which the Soviet and Russian sportsmen participated our combined team took the first place among other countries seven times, and the second place was taken four times.

Winter Olympic Games have been held for 84 years. During this period they were held twenty times: four times in the USA, tree times in France, two times in Switzerland, Norway, Italy, Austria and Japan. The representatives of the USSR — Russia have been participating in the White Olympics since 1956, and they have made the whole world of sport respect and reckon with them. Our athletes have never taken the lower place than the fourth one among the other combined teams.

1924. The program of the first Winter Olympics included competition in skiing, skating, bobsled, figure skating and ice hockey. The first winner in the history of the Games was the American skater Charlie Juterow. Nobody could compete with Canada in hockey. Unofficially the best athletes were from Norway.

1928. The program included skeleton for the first time. One of the heroes of the Games was the skater from Finland, Klass Tunberg who won two gold medals. The best team was from Norway again (5 medals on the whole and 93 points)…

1932. For the first time the Olympics were held outside Europe – in the American city Lake Placid. This fact mostly justifies the success of the hosts who received 6 gold medals, 4 silver medals and 2 bronze medals and took the first place in the unofficial team contest.

1936. In spite of the sport public protests the International Olympic Committee didn’t change its decision to conduct the Winter Games in Nazi Germany. That was the reason why many famous athletes refused to participate in them. For the first time the contest in biathlon (men and women) and men ski relay race were included in the program. Ice hockey tournament ended with sensation: Canada lost the finals, and Great Britain took the first place. Norway was back at the first place in the team contest: 15 medals and 100 points.

1948. The program of the first after-war Games included two more skiing branches – jet skiing and downhill skiing (men and women). The first place in the team contest held Sweden: 70 points and 10 medals; and the second place was given to Switzerland: 68 points and 9 medals.

1952. Ski races for women were included in the program. The hosts — Norwegians — won gold, silver and bronze medals in skiing for the first time. The combined team of Norway took the first place for the fourth time: 16 medals and 104.5 points.

1956. The major event at the Winter Olympics was the debut of the Soviet athletes who radically changed the scene of the Games. For the first time the athletes gave the Olympic oath and the first TV transmitting was executed. The Soviet sportsmen won the team contest: 16 medals and 103 points.

1960. The competition is remembered due to impressive opening and closing ceremonies that were directed by the famous producer and animator Walt Disney. The representatives of all five continents participated in the Games for the first time. The Soviet team again had indisputable advantage: 21 medals and 146.5 points.

1964. The organizers came across a sudden problem – lack of snow and ice. They were forced to call the Austrian army for help to deliver 15 thousand cubic meters of snow to the Olympic routes. The heroine of the Games was the Soviet skater Lidiya Skoblikova who won all four distances competition. Nobody had done it before. In the team contests the combined team of the USSR had no equal rivals for the third time: 162 points and 25 medals.

1968. For the first time the athletes of the German Democratic Republic and the Federative Republic of Germany were in separate teams. Two innovations — the dope control test and the sex belonging test for the female athletes – were introduced. The French skier Jean Claude Killi became the best sportsman of the Games (3 gold medals). After the 16-years interval Norway took the first place in the team contest: 103 points and 14 medals. The Soviet team held the second place: 92 and 13 respectively.

1972. Those were the first Games in the history which were conducted in Asia. The greatest surprise was the Spaniard Fransisco Fernandes Aciao who won downhill skiing contest. It was the first medal of Spain in the history of its participation in the Winter Olympics. The Soviet athletes won the ice hockey tournament and biathlon relay race. The combined team of the USSR became the leader in the team contest again: 102 points and 16 medals.

1976. The combined team of the USSR became the leader of the team contest with the record sum of points (192) and 27 medals (13 gold ones). By the way, no country has ever had more «golds» since then.

1980. The heroes of the Games were the American skater Erik Haiden (5 gold medals) and the Soviet skier Nickolai Zimyatov (3 gold medals). The team of the USA sensationally won the hockey tournament. For the first time in the history the leader of the team contest was the GDR (24 medals and 154.5 points), the Soviet athletes were the second (22 and 147.5 respectively).

1984. For the first and the only time in the history the Olympics were held on the territory of a socialist state. The combined team of the USSR was honored as the leader of the team contest. It had 25 medals (6 gold medals, 10 silver medals and 9 bronze medals) and 167 points.

1988.  For the first time the skating competitions were conducted in a roofed Sport Palace. The performance of the skiers and bobsledders of Switzerland was successful — they let their team take the third place in the team contest, the USSR being the first and the GDR — the second.

1992. Germany came as one team after the GDR and the FRG being united. The decayed USSR was represented by the combined team of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). The program of competition was notably innovated — short — track, ski freestyle and female biathlon were introduced. Germany took the first place with its 26 medals and 181 points. The team of the CIS was the second with 23 medals and 163 points.

1994. According to the IOC decision from that time on, the Winter Olympics should be held in two years after the Summer Games. Considering the organization level the Games in Lillehammer are recognized as the best in the history of winter competitions. For the first time Russia presented the separate team which won the most gold medals — 11. The first place was taken by Norway (26 medals and 176 points), The second one belonged to Russia (23 and 172).

1998. One of the remarkable results of the Games was the phenomenal success of the Russian women-skiers who won 5 gold medals. In the hockey finals the Czechs defeated the Russian team. 29 medals were won by the German athletes who became the leaders of the team contest, 25 medals were given to the Norwegian sportsmen. The Russians were only the third with 18 medals.

2002. The best results were shown by Germany (245.75 points and the record number of medals — 35). The team of Russia made way for the USA and Norway and occupied only the forth line in the list with 130 points and 16 medals.

2006. Three best teams of the Olympics were from Germany, America and Austria. The only athlete who won 5 medals was the Canadian skater Cindy Classen. The Russians had no decent rivals in figure skating. Our country once again took the forth place in the list of winners: 22 medals (gold — 8, silver — 6, bronze — 8).