Host City: Lillehammer, Norway
Venue(s): Lysgårdsbakkene Ski Jumping Arena, Lillehammer
Date Started: February 22, 1994
Date Finished: February 22, 1994
Format: Two jumps per team member, with both scored on distance and form. Four members per team, with all four jumps in each round to count towards team total.
Traditionally the domain of the Finns and Norwegians, the two nations had won all but one of the world and Olympic championships to be held, the 1994 Olympic title was to be decided between two nations who had never challenged for a major title beforehand. After the first round Germany and Japan were separated by less than a point but Jinya Nishikata and Takanobu Okabe performed well in the second round and with one man left for each nation Japan held the advantage. By the time Masahiko Harada stood at the top of the jump he knew what he had to do to ensure a Japanese victory. A jump of around 105 m would be enough and since he had made a leap of 122 m in the first round this appeared to be a relative formality. Instead the jump turned into a disaster as he mistimed his leap and landed at just 97.5 m. One of the defining images of the 1994 Games is of Harada kneeling in the snow with head in his hands as his team-mates stood in disbelief. Prior to 1994 only the best three jumps of each team counted per round but the rules were changed before Lillehammer and all jumps were now added to the team’s score. If the old rules had still been in place Japan would have recorded a clear victory.