Time for another edition of the Videos of the Week as I get you ready for the Winter Olympics in Vancouver on February 12. I’ve already presented a look back at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary through the eyes of ABC Sports. And last week, there was the flashback to the 1992 Winter Games in Albertville.
Now we go to 1994 in Lillehammer, Norway, probably one of the best run Olympics and one that really had the community feel. This was the year the International Olympic Committee separated the Summer and Winter Games, running them in two year cycles instead of a full four year cycle. It also gave the IOC the opportunity to fully concentrate on the Olympics in separate years instead of running themselves thin doing the Summer and Winter Olympiads in the same years.
Thanks to winning the bid for the 1992 Winter Olympics, CBS nabbed the U.S. rights to Lillehammer. CTV had the Canadian rights and as usual, BBC through the European Broadcasting Union aired the Games in the UK.
I’ll begin with a CBS Olympic ID used in advance of the Olympics.
Here’s how CTV opened its coverage for the 17 Days of Glory in Lillehammer. It would be the last time CTV aired the Games in Canada until this year.
We have the opening to BBC Olympic Grandstand with its standard music for the Winter Olympics. Steve Rider and Sue Barker are the hosts.
This was the opening of coverage for the Olympics in the home country of Norway.
I’m so happy to have Olympic hockey video. This marked the final year of “amateur” hockey in the Olympics. Four years later in Nagano, NHL players would be allowed to participate and it’s been that way ever since. In 1994, Sweden was the favorite for the gold medal. Canada was not expected to get to the gold medal game, but it managed to get there and to my dismay, the game was decided in a shootout. Peter Forsberg and Paul Kariya had the last opportunity to win the game for Sweden and Canada respectively. You see the result. My thanks to Keith Stewart of The Cycle blog for finding this video and sending me the link. Familar NHL voices Mike Emrick and John Davidson are on the call for CBS.
One of the great stories of the 1994 Olympics was U.S. speedskater Dan Jansen. Up until the 1,000 meters, Jansen had lost or fell in every one of his Olympic races. His sister had died before his first race in 1988 and Jansen was considered the odds-on favorite to win the gold, however, he fell in the 500 meters and then again in the 1,000 meters. In 1992 in Albertville, Jansen finished out of the medals in both races despite being again, the odds-on favorite to win gold. In 1994, he was considered snake-bitten and finishing 8th after slipping in the 500 meters did not help matters. His last race of his career was the 1,000 meters and it was not his best distance. Dick Stockton called it for CBS, but we don’t have that video. We do have a Norwegian feature on Dan including the call of the race in the Viking Ship arena in Hamar.
One of the bigger stories in the Olympic Games was the whole Tonya Harding-Nancy Kerrigan affair. Before the U.S. Nationals in Detroit, someone hit Kerrigan in the knee injuring her and preventing Nancy from skating in the competition. It was later determined that Tonya’s husband, Jeff Gillooly and her bodyguard, Shawn Eckardt hired someone to whack Nancy with a club. Tonya won the nationals, but the U.S. Figure Skating Association allowed Nancy to go to Lillehammer. So we go to the women’s free skate in the figure skating competition. By this time, Tonya has no shot to win after a fall in the short program. But as she did frequently in the past, Tonya had to have some drama. Verne Lundquist and Scott Hamilton are on the call for CBS.
So Josee Chouinard of Canada had to hurry to skate next after all that and she did not do well because she had to hurry to the ice. Once Tonya got her lace fixed, she went back out to the ice and this is how she did.
She was such a drama queen and as Scott Hamilton said, only these things happened to her. Let’s go to Nancy Kerrigan’s performance and unlike Tonya, Nancy skated the program of her life. Up until this performance, Nancy had had problems with her nerves and she nailed her program.
But it was Oksana Baiul of Ukraine who won the gold medal. She had a problem early in her program, but she threw in a triple jump late knowing that she needed it to win the free skate and the gold medal. By doing that, she rightly surpassed Kerrigan and won the competition.
On the last day of coverage, CBS put together a closing montage using its Olympic theme.
CBS would have one more Olympic Games to cover in the 1990′s and that would be in Nagano, Japan. We’ll have videos from CBS, CBC and the BBC next Sunday.