Host City: Nagano, Japan
Venue(s): White Ring, Nagano
Date Started: February 18, 1998
Date Finished: February 20, 1998
Format: Skaters were ranked on Ordinal Placement, based on judges' points, with final placement for each section determined by Majority Placements. The tiebreaker for the Short Program was the Required Elements score, while the tiebreaker for the Free Skating was the Technical Merit score. Thus, if a skater was ranked first by a majority of the judges, that skater was placed first overall for that section. Ties were broken by a Subsequent Majority rule, i.e., if the skaters were ranked for the same position by the same number of judges, Majority Placement for the next higher position for each skater determined who was ranked higher. Final placement was determined by factored placements. The tiebreakers were then 1) Number of Majority Placements, 2) Total Ordinals of Majority, 3) Total Ordinals. The placement for the the Short Program was factored by 0.5 (33.3%), and the placement for Free Skating was factored by 1.0 (66.7%). The sums of the factored placements were then used to determine final placement, with the Free Skating being the tiebreaker.
Michelle Kwan had a chance to be on the 1994 US Olympic team but stepped aside to allow Nancy Kerrigan to compete, after she had been attacked just before the US Trials. By 1998 she was the top female skater in the world, having been the most consistent since the last Winter Olympics. She had won the 1996 World Championship, placed second in 1997, and would win again in 1998. Placing 15th at the 1996 Worlds was an American prodigy, Tara Lipinski, and in 1997, she shocked Kwan by defeating her at the US Nationals, and then again at the World Championships, winning that at only 14-years-old. But in the 1997-98 season, Kwan had re-established her supremacy, defeating Lipinski at Skate America and then won the US Trials with the performance of her life. In Nagano, Kwan started out strongly, winning the short program to give her the advantage going into the free skate. Kwan could win the gold medal either by winning the free skate, or by placing better than Lipinski, if third-placer Mariya Butyrskaya did not win the free program. In the free program, Kwan went first and skated a solid program. She received all 5.9s for artistic impression, but her technical scores of 5.7s and 5.8s left a little room for Lipinski. Lipinski skated last, landing seven clean triple jumps, as had Kwan. But she had two triple-triple combinations, and her increased technical difficulty brought her the gold medal. She received all scores of 5.8 and 5.9 and was placed first in the free program by seven of the nine judges, making her the youngest ever gold medalist in the event, two months younger than Sonja Henie had been in 1928. Lu Chen repeated her bronze medal performance from 1994. One athlete who was not present was Tanja Szewczenko of Germany, the 1994 World bronze medalist, who had to withdraw because of the flu.
|1||Tara Lipinski||15||United States||USA||Gold||2.0||1.0||1.0|
|2||Michelle Kwan||17||United States||USA||Silver||2.5||0.5||2.0|
|17||Nicole Bobek||20||United States||USA||25.5||8.5||17.0|
|18||Lenka Kulovaná||23||Czech Republic||CZE||26.0||8.0||18.0|
|24||Shirene Human||18||South Africa||RSA||35.5||11.5||24.0|
|25 r1/2||Ivana Jakupčević||20||Croatia||CRO||12.5|
|26 r1/2||Helena Grundberg||25||Sweden||SWE||13.0|
|27 r1/2||Tony-Sabrina Bombardieri||19||Italy||ITA||13.5|
|28 r1/2||Sofiya Penkova||19||Bulgaria||BUL||14.0|