The Albertville 1992 Winter Olympics were the last Games to be staged in the same year as the Summer Games. It was the third time France had hosted the Winter Olympics, and Jean-Claude Killy, the legendary triple gold medallist of the Grenoble 1968 Olympics, served as chairman of the organising committee. Only 18 of the 57 events were held in Albertville itself, while nearby resorts hosted the rest. The bone-quaking drama of freestyle skiing and electrifyingly fast short track speed skating debuted as medal disciplines.
Political changes sweeping through central and eastern Europe had a great impact on the Games. Most athletes from the new republics of the former Soviet Union banded together and competed as the Unified Team. A united team from Germany participated, leading the medal table with 10 golds. Athletes from nations such as Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia proudly marched under their own flags.
Norway dominated the men’s cross-country skiing, winning all five events. Björn Daehlie and Vegard Ulvang each won three gold medals – two individual titles each, and shared glory in the 4x10km relay. In women’s cross-country, the star was the Unified Team’s Lyubov Yegorova. From five cross-country events she won five medals – three gold and two silver.
In alpine skiing, it was total Tombamania as frenzied Italians roared for their idol Alberto “La Bomba” Tomba as he sped through the gates to take gold in the giant slalom, thus becoming the first alpine skier to win the same event twice.