Sarajevo marks 38th anniversary of spectacular opening of 14th Winter Olympics

NEWS 08.02.2022 19:46
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Source: N1

Thirty-eight years ago, the Olympic flame was lit at Sarajevo's Kosevo stadium, marking the beginning of the 14th Winter Olympic Games - the ceremony performed in front of more than 60,000 spectators on the site and two more billions who watched it on TV across the world.

The Olympic cauldron was lit by figure skater Sanda Dubravcic.

For ten days, the Bosnian capital hosted 49 national teams with over 2,500 athletes and their team members, who contested in six sports – ten disciplines.

Thirty-nine sports events were held from February 8 through February 19 at four city venues, five venues on the mountains surrounding the city and other facilities including the Olympic village and press village.

By that time, it was the record number of National Olympic Committees (49) to enter the Olympics.

The International Olympic Committee in Athens selected Sarajevo as the organiser of the 14th Winter Olympic Games in 1978, the “race” in which Sarajevo defeated the Japan's Sapporo and the joint candidacy of the two Swedish cities, Falun and Gothenburg.

Both the participants and spectators share very fond memories of the event. The hosts were especially pleased that Slovenian alpine skier Jure Franko won a silver medal in the giant slalom – the first medal Yugoslavia won at the Winter Olympics. The people of Sarajevo supported the Slovenian skier with banners that read “We love our Jurek more than home-made burek”, or in short, “We love Jurek, more than burek” – referring to a popular home-made pastry.

Olympic spirit

However, the biggest stars of the Sarajevo Olympics were participants in figure skating competition. The best impression was left by the British couple Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean who won the gold medal. East German skater Katarina Witt also won a gold medal, which made her one of the greatest sports icons of the late 20th century.

On February 19, at the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics, then-President of the International Organizing Committee Juan Antonio Samaran said Sarajevo was the best organiser of the Winter Olympics so far in their history. “Goodbye, dear Sarajevo,” Samaran said closing the ceremony.

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