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Alpine Skiing at the 1984 Sarajevo Winter Games:

Men's Downhill

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Host City: Sarajevo, Yugoslavia
Venue(s): , Bjelašnica
Date Started: February 16, 1984
Date Finished: February 16, 1984

Gold: USA Bill Johnson
Silver: SUI Peter Müller
Bronze: AUT Anton Steiner

Summary

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.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal T
1 Bill Johnson 23 United States USA Gold 1:45.59
2 Peter Müller 26 Switzerland SUI Silver 1:45.86
3 Anton Steiner 25 Austria AUT Bronze 1:45.95
4 Pirmin Zurbriggen 21 Switzerland SUI 1:46.05
5T Urs Räber 25 Switzerland SUI 1:46.32
5T Helmut Höflehner 24 Austria AUT 1:46.32
7 Sepp Wildgruber 25 West Germany FRG 1:46.53
8 Steve Podborski 26 Canada CAN 1:46.59
9 Todd Brooker 24 Canada CAN 1:46.64
10 Franz Klammer 30 Austria AUT 1:47.04
11 Erwin Resch 22 Austria AUT 1:47.06
12 Klaus Gattermann 23 West Germany FRG 1:47.12
13 Günther Marxer 19 Liechtenstein LIE 1:47.43
14 Conradin Cathomen 24 Switzerland SUI 1:47.63
15 Michael Mair 21 Italy ITA 1:47.70
16T Vladimir Makeyev 26 Soviet Union URS 1:47.87
16T Alberto Ghidoni 21 Italy ITA 1:47.87
18 Martin Bell 19 Great Britain GBR 1:48.00
19 Steven Lee 21 Australia AUS 1:48.02
20T Franck Piccard 19 France FRA 1:48.06
20T Danilo Sbardellotto 23 Italy ITA 1:48.06
22 Herbert Renoth 22 West Germany FRG 1:48.39
23 Valery Tsyganov 27 Soviet Union URS 1:48.46
24 Doug Lewis 20 United States USA 1:48.49
25 Michel Vion 24 France FRA 1:48.68
26 Gary Athans 22 Canada CAN 1:48.79
27 Janež Pleteršek 23 Yugoslavia YUG 1:48.97
28 Shinya Chiba 22 Japan JPN 1:49.02
29 Philippe Verneret 21 France FRA 1:49.30
30 Tomaž Jemc 19 Yugoslavia YUG 1:49.68
31 Bruce Grant 20 New Zealand NZL 1:49.94
32 Graham Bell 18 Great Britain GBR 1:50.06
33 Connor O'Brien 23 Great Britain GBR 1:50.36
34 Alistair Guss 18 Australia AUS 1:50.57
35 Markus Hubrich 21 New Zealand NZL 1:50.77
36 Hubert Hilti 20 Liechtenstein LIE 1:50.94
37 Frederick Burton 24 Great Britain GBR 1:51.15
38 Hubertus von Fürstenberg-von Hohenlohe 25 Mexico MEX 1:51.57
39 Dieter Linneberg 18 Chile CHI 1:51.68
40 Pierre Couquelet 19 Belgium BEL 1:52.40
41 Andres Figueroa 20 Chile CHI 1:52.97
42 Hans Kossmann 19 Chile CHI 1:54.36
43 Scott Alan Sánchez 25 Bolivia BOL 1:54.75
44 Miguel Purcell 21 Chile CHI 1:54.91
45 Jorge Birkner 19 Argentina ARG 1:54.92
46 Henri Mollin 25 Belgium BEL 1:55.72
47 David Lajoux 17 Monaco MON 1:56.95
48 Albert Llovera 17 Andorra AND 1:57.88
49 Nicolas van Ditmar 18 Argentina ARG 1:58.86
50 Jordi Torres 19 Andorra AND 1:59.06
51 Lamine Guèye 23 Senegal SEN 1:59.64
52 Park Byung-Ro 21 South Korea KOR 1:59.74
53 Enrique de Ridder 25 Argentina ARG 1:59.76
54 Américo Astete 16 Argentina ARG 2:01.60
55 Giannis Stamatiou 21 Greece GRE 2:01.79
56 Andreas Pantelidis 21 Greece GRE 2:01.88
57 Kim Jin-Hae 21 South Korea KOR 2:01.96
58 Eu Woo-Youn 17 South Korea KOR 2:02.67
59 Lazaros Arkhontopoulos 25 Greece GRE 2:03.93
60 Jamil El-Reedy 18 Egypt EGY 3:13.86
AC Peter Dürr 23 West Germany FRG DNF