Juan Antonio Samaranch, the late president of the IOC, made his mark at the end of each Games calling them "the best ever" (with the exception of Atlanta 1996). This sentence has seldom been justified, but so it was on the evening oft February 27th, 1994.
Lillehammer provided one last glimpse at the "old school" Winter Games. Already a colossal event with almost 1800 participants, it still had the charming aura of a non-political, merely sporting festival seated within in an almost iconic winter landscape. German commentators easily called it the "Winter fairy tale" - with some justification.
Enthusiastic and bipartisan crowds, a genuine sense for sports, superstars like Johan Olav Koss, Markus Wasmeier, Jens Weißflog or Bjoern Daehlie - Lillehammer had it all. Furthermore, they were the last Winter Games in a small town of just over 26,000 residents, and they were placed in a traditional winter sports region. After Lillehammer, the Winter Games finally and forever went off to the big cities or to newly developed winter sports resorts.
Sure, even these Games had their share of ugliness with the awfully hyped Nancy Kerrigan/Tony Harding saga:
Still, what remains where brilliant competitions in an almost purely euphoric atmosphere. The home crowds went ballistic especially in the nordic ski events and also endured the surprise defeat of the home ski relay team in the most dramatic fashion. Enjoy the highlight of these Games with original Norwegian commentary: