Host City: Albertville, France
Date Started: February 9, 1992
Date Finished: February 9, 1992
Participants: 223 (139 men and 84 women) from 40 countries
Youngest Participant: Li Gyong-Ae (15 years, 172 days)
Oldest Participant: Maurilio De Zolt (41 years, 150 days)
Most Medals (Athlete): Yelena Välbe and Lyubov Yegorova (5 medals)
Most Medals (Country): Unified Team and Norway (9 medals)
The 1992 cross-country events were held at Les Saisies, in a Nordic centre specially constructed there for the Winter Olympics. Les Saisies is a resort located at 1,650 m in the Savoie, between two valleys, the Beaufortain and Val d’Arly. It is about 30 km from Albertville.
There were several changes to the Olympic Program in 1992 for cross-country. The longest women’s race was increased from 20 km, which it had been since its introduction in 1984, to 30 km, and the middle women’s race was increased from 10 km to 15 km. The shortest men’s race was decreased from 15 km to 10 km. Both men and women added another individual event, the pursuit race. The pursuit used the times and placements from the shortest distance (10 km for men, 5 km for women), both skied in the classical style. The skiers then skied a second race, starting with the leaders going first, at intervals determined by their placement in the short classical race. The pursuit section was skied freestyle and the final placements were based on when the skiers crossed the finish line, making it more exciting for spectators. The relay was also changed for men and women. In Calgary, the lead skier had to start in the classical style, but could switch to skating technique after 500 metres, and all other skiers could ski freestyle. This was done to avoid flying skis and dangerous conditions at the start. But beginning in Albertville, the Olympic relay has been contested with the first and third legs skied classically, and the second and anchor legs skied freestyle.
The two dominant skiers in Albertville were the Norwegian superstars Vegard Ulvang and Bjørn Dæhlie. Both won four medals (of a possible five), and three golds, with Ulvang winning the 10 km, 30 km, and relay, and Dæhlie winning the 50 km, pursuit, and relay. For Dæhlie, it was the start of his Olympic career that would eventually see him win eight golds and 12 Olympic medals, records for any athlete at the Winter Olympics.