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Bobsleigh at the 1984 Sarajevo Winter Games

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Sports:

Host City: Sarajevo, Yugoslavia
Date Started: February 10, 1984
Date Finished: February 18, 1984
Events: 2

Participants: 111 (111 men and 0 women) from 16 countries
Youngest Participant: YUG Zoran Sokolović (18 years, 260 days)
Oldest Participant: SWE Carl-Erik Eriksson (53 years, 273 days)
Most Medals (Athlete): 4 athletes with 2 medals
Most Medals (Country): GDR East Germany (4 medals)

Overview

Similar to Oslo in 1952 and Sapporo in 1972, the 1984 Winter Olympics came to a country which had little in the way of a tradition of bobsledding. There had never been a bob run in Yugoslavia and the country had never before entered a team at the Winter Games.

A track was built on Trebević mountain to the southeast of Sarajevo. With thirteen curves and an average gradient of 10.2% the run dropped 126 m down the mountain and, at 1300 m, was slightly shorter than previous Olympic tracks.

The story of the Games was the strength of the teams from the German Democratic Republic as the East Germans dominated competition and finished 1-2 in both events. In the two-man event this was a breakthrough Olympics for a Soviet team packed with emerging talent from Latvia whilst Switzerland, who had been the most successful nation at world championship level over the previous three years were reduced to a single bronze medal in the four-man event.

As well as Yugoslavia there were first-time entrants from Chinese Taipei and the return, after nearly half a century, of a Dutch bobsleigh team. Sarajevo also marked the end of the Olympic career of Carl-Erik Eriksson. Already in his mid-thirties when he made his début Eriksson retired after sixth Olympics and was, at the age of 53, the oldest ever Olympic bobsledder.

The Sarajevo track continued to host World Cup events throughout the eighties but the track’s last trace came in early 1991. From 1992 onwards the Olympic run came to be used from a sinister purpose. Throughout the Bosnian conflict the mountain gained a strategic importance and the track was used to host artillery positions for Serb forces. By 1996 little was left of the Olympic site bar a few scraps of twisted, rusting metal standing forlornly on a war-scarred hillside.

Medalists