Host City: Sarajevo, Yugoslavia
Venue(s): Veliko Polje, Igman
Date Started: February 16, 1984
Date Finished: February 16, 1984
The men’s relay race at the 1982 World Championships in Oslo turned out to be the most dramatic race in the history of cross-country skiing to this date. On the last leg, a few hundred meters from the finish, the Soviet Union’s [Aleksandr Zavyalov] and Norway’s [Oddvar Brå] were close together. Zavalyov fell, but Brå broke one of his poles, only to get a new one quickly, and they skiied side-by-side over the last meters. The race was judged a draw, and for the first time there two world champion relay teams. And that was not the end of the story. Finland and Eastern Germany had a close fight for the bronze, and the judges could not separate them either, as they shared bronze. Ties for first and third, a unique feat.
The defending Olympic Champion Soviet Union was favored to win another Olympic relay gold, but a close competition was expected with Finland and Sweden. On the first leg, Sweden’s [Thomas Wassberg] had a 10 second lead over the Soviet Union’s [Aleksandr Batyuk], with US skier [Dan Simoneau] in a surprising third. Norway in sixth and Finland in eighth position were left far behind. On the second leg, the Soviet Union’s [Aleksandr Zavyalov] passed Sweden’s [Benny Kohlberg] and sent [Vladimir Nikitin] out on the third leg with a 12 second lead over Sweden’s [Jan Ottosson]. [Juha Mieto] brought Finland back in the fight for the medals by bringing his team up to third place, half a second ahead of Norway, but over 1½ minutes behind the leading Soviet team. Ottoson was able to close the gap to Nikitin, and was only half a second behind at the last exchange. Norway’s [Ove Aunli], third at the last exchange, was 10 seconds ahead of Finland’s [Harri Kirvesniemi]. The last leg saw a close duel between the two 1984 Olympic champions, [Gunde Svan] and [Nikolay Zimyatov]. The young Swede left his Russian rival and secured Sweden their first Olympic relay gold medal since 1964. Finland’s [Aki Karvonen] had an easy contest for the bronze medal against Norway’s [Tor Håkon Holte], leaving the Norwegian almost one minute behind.