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1988: Let the Calgary Games begin!

The Story

It's the day before the official opening of the 1988 Winter Games. The stage is set for what some say is the most organized Games in Olympic history. Some 100,000 spectators, 10,000 volunteers, 5,000 members of the media, 225 masseuses and plenty of celebrities are in Calgary to kick off the XV Winter Olympics, reports CBC Television. Everyone from Prince Rainer of Monaco to Entertainment Tonight host Mary Hart to the Jamaican bobsled team have all descended on Calgary for the first Winter Games to be hosted by Canada.

Medium: Television
Program: The Journal
Broadcast Date: Feb. 12, 1988
Guest(s): Liz Palmer, Kevin Peterson
Host: Barbara Frum, Paul Griffin
Duration: 8:59

Did You know?

• The opening ceremony for the XV Winter Olympics was held at McMahon Stadium. An unprecedented 1,423 athletes from 57 countries participated in 46 events at the 1988 Calgary Games.

• Montreal hosted Canada's first Summer Olympics in 1976.

• Over 60,000 spectators gathered at the newly renovated stadium to watch the Olympic torch being lit by Robyn Perry, a local seventh grader and figure skater. Skier Ken Read and speed skater Cathy Priestner passed the Olympic torch to Perry in the final leg of the run.

• Mascots for the 1988 Winter Games were Howdy and Hidy - a pair of brother and sister polar bears. Their names were chosen to embody the warmth of Canadian hospitality: "Hidy" being an extension of "hi" and "Howdy" being slang for "hello."

• The official logo for the 1988 Winter Games consisted of a snowflake above the Olympic rings. It also resembled a stylized maple leaf. The logo was composed of different "C" letters to represent Canada and Calgary.

• The 1988 Calgary Winter Games were hampered by unusually mild temperatures. Temperatures fluctuated from -30 to a balmy 12 C over night. The warm weather - coupled with record strong winds - led to 33 events being rescheduled.

• Canada won just five medals at the Calgary games: two silver and three bronze. Canada was shut out of the gold medal race, continuing the experience of being the only host country to not win a gold medal at its own Games. (Canada didn't win any gold at the '76 Olympics either.)


The Calgary Olympics: The Winter of '88 more