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Calgary Olympics wrap up

"Everything is perfect!" That's how one IOC member described the 1988 Winter Olympics to Calgary Mayor Ralph Klein. Unlike the debt-drenched 1976 Montreal Olympics, Calgary was a financial success, even turning a profit. Highlights included the dramatic battle of the Brians, Elizabeth Manley's spectacular skate and ski jumper Eddie "the Eagle." The 16-day event transformed this western cow town into a city boasting top-notch sports facilities.

At the end of the 16-day event, Canada wins a total of five medals: two silver and three bronze in Calgary. Canada is shut out of the gold medal race, continuing the legacy of being the only country to not win a gold medal at its own Games. (Canada didn't win any gold at the '76 Olympics either). More medals had been predicted for Canada but disappointing results, especially in hockey, speed skating and alpine skiing, result in the low medal count.

But CBC's Mark Lee says there are reasons to celebrate. Nineteen Canadians placed in the top eight; the scale used by Sports Canada to gauge the success of Canadian athletes. Canada bettered its previous record from four medals to five. Canada also did well in the four demonstration sports -- curling, freestyle skiing, short-track speed skating and disabled skiing. 
• Sport Canada is a branch of the federal Department of Canadian Heritage which provides funding for Canadian athletes.
• At the 1984 Sarajevo Games Canada won four medals: two gold, one silver and one bronze. At the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, Canada bettered its Calgary performance and took home a total of seven medals: two gold, three silver and two bronze.

• Five Canadian athletes won a total of five medals for Canada in Calgary. Figure skaters Elizabeth Manley and Brian Orser both took home silver, while Rob McCall and Tracy Wilson picked up bronze in ice dancing. Skier Karen Percy won two medals, taking bronze in the Super-G and the downhill competitions.

• The Calgary Games had its share of tragedies. The heavily favoured American speed skater Dan Jansen slipped twice and failed to finish both his races. He had chosen to race despite learning of his sister's death from leukemia on the day of his first race.

• The Austrian alpine ski coach was killed in a freak accident when he ran into a snow machine between runs.
Medium: Radio
Program: CBC Radio News
Broadcast Date: Feb. 29, 1988
Reporter: Mark Lee
Duration: 4:50

Last updated: February 10, 2012

Page consulted on December 6, 2013

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