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Alpine Skiing at the 1998 Nagano Winter Games:

Men's Downhill

Alpine Skiing at the 1998 Winter Games: Previous Winter Games ▪ Next Winter Games


Host City: Nagano, Japan
Venue(s): Happo'one, Hakuba
Date Started: February 13, 1998
Date Finished: February 13, 1998

Gold: FRA Jean-Luc Crétier
Silver: NOR Lasse Kjus
Bronze: AUT Hannes Trinkl


The biggest story in the 1998 men’s downhill was the controversy over the course. After a test event had been held there the skiers felt that it was too short for a championship downhill. They requested that the start be moved higher up the mountain, but the Japanese organizers demurred, stating that this would take the course into an environmentally protected region. The Fédération Internationale de Ski (FIS) countered that many recreational skiers used that area and could not understand why the Olympic skiers could not race there as well. Eventually a compromise was reached with the course lengthened slightly. In fact, at a length of 3,289 metres, it became the longest men’s downhill in Olympic history.

However, starting the 1998 Olympic downhill was anything but easy, as the event, traditionally the first Alpine event at the Olympics, had to be postponed three times because of weather. It did not start until five days after it was scheduled. Though the course was not felt to be difficult, that failed to take into consideration the 7th turn, which caused 14 of the 15 non-finishers to fall or miss the turn, leading to their disqualification. France’s [Jean-Luc Crétier] was the third skier out of the starthouse, and posted the fastest time to that point. As contender after contender, including Austrian [Hermann “The Herminator” Maier], met their fate on the seventh turn, Crétier’s time held up for the gold medal. Crétier was also helped by the absence of his former teammate, [Luc Alphand]. Alphand was World Cup champion in 1997 in the overall, the downhill, and the super-G, but he then abruptly retired and turned his attention to race-car driving. In 2006 he won the Dakar Rally, a year after placing second in that cross-country race.

View a Phase of this EventFinal Standings

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal T
1 Jean-Luc Crétier 31 France FRA Gold 1:50.11
2 Lasse Kjus 27 Norway NOR Silver 1:50.51
3 Hannes Trinkl 30 Austria AUT Bronze 1:50.63
4 Jürg Grünenfelder 24 Switzerland SUI 1:50.64
5 Ed Podivinsky 27 Canada CAN 1:50.71
6 Kristian Ghedina 28 Italy ITA 1:50.76
7 Andreas Schifferer 23 Austria AUT 1:50.77
8 Didier Cuche 23 Switzerland SUI 1:50.91
9 Kyle Rasmussen 29 United States USA 1:51.09
10 Patrik Järbyn 28 Sweden SWE 1:51.22
11 Fritz Strobl 25 Austria AUT 1:51.34
12 Tommy Moe 27 United States USA 1:51.43
13 Kjetil André Aamodt 26 Norway NOR 1:51.72
14 Franco Cavegn 27 Switzerland SUI 1:51.74
15 Jason Rosener 22 United States USA 1:52.33
16 Werner Perathoner 30 Italy ITA 1:52.36
17 Tsuyoshi Tomii 26 Japan JPN 1:52.62
18 Andrey Filichkin 23 Russia RUS 1:52.65
19 Kevin Wert 22 Canada CAN 1:52.67
20 Jernej Koblar 26 Slovenia SLO 1:52.79
21 Enis Bećirbegović 21 Bosnia and Herzegovina BIH 1:53.47
22 Andrzej Bachleda-Curuś 23 Poland POL 1:53.62
23 Graham Bell 32 Great Britain GBR 1:53.93
24 Vasily Bezsmelnitsyn 23 Russia RUS 1:54.27
25 Linas Vaitkus 24 Lithuania LTU 1:56.22
26 Nils Linneberg 30 Chile CHI 1:56.59
27 Patrick-Paul Schwarzacher-Joyce 25 Ireland IRL 1:58.71
28 Rainer Grob 24 Chile CHI 1:58.75
AC Hermann Maier 25 Austria AUT DNF
AC Nicolas Burtin 26 France FRA DNF
AC Bruno Kernen 25 Switzerland SUI DNF
AC Luca Cattaneo 25 Italy ITA DNF
AC Peter Runggaldier 29 Italy ITA DNF
AC Luke Sauder 27 Canada CAN DNF
AC Aleš Brezavšček 25 Slovenia SLO DNF
AC A J Kitt 29 United States USA DNF
AC Brian Stemmle 31 Canada CAN DNF
AC Adrien Duvillard 28 France FRA DNF
AC Peter Pen 25 Slovenia SLO DNF
AC Jürgen Hasler 24 Liechtenstein LIE DNF
AC Andrew Freshwater 24 Great Britain GBR DNF
AC Yasuyuki Takishita 22 Japan JPN DNF
AC Thomás Grob 21 Chile CHI DNF