Host City: Nagano, Japan
Date Started: February 14, 1998
Date Finished: February 21, 1998
Participants: 156 (156 men and 0 women) from 28 countries
Youngest Participant: Gabriel Tătaru (20 years, 216 days)
Oldest Participant: Paul Neagu (43 years, 254 days)
Most Medals (Athlete): Christoph Langen and Markus Zimmermann (2 medals)
Most Medals (Country): Germany (2 medals)
The 1998 Olympic bobsleigh competitions were held on the slopes of Mount Iizuna to the North of Nagano. The “Spiral”, as the course was nicknamed, was the first artificial course to be built in Asia and was unique in that included two short uphill sections. The course measured 1700 m, had fifteen curves, and descended 113 m from start to finish.
A notable aspect of the 1998 Winter Games was the wide spread of nations who challenged for the top positions. Switzerland and Germany were still the premier forces in the sport but they were the only nations to place two sleds in the top ten of either event. Canada and Great Britain both won medals for the first time since 1964 whilst France’s bronze medal in the four man event was their first ever despite having first entered a bob in the 1924 Games.
The tie between Italy I and Canada I for the gold medal in the two man event was the first time medals had been shared in Olympic bobsleigh history but was a unique occurrence only for six days. The four man event, which included a tie for bronze, was restricted to three runs because of the weather and this may have accounted for the closeness of the finishing times. Although Switzerland were clear winners the rest of the top ten were separated by less than four tenths of a second.