Olympic Preview: The Foreign Favorites

An East German speed skater, female skiers from Switzerland, a ski-jumping Finn, pairs skaters from the Soviet Union and Sweden's cross-country iron men -- these are among the outstanding Europeans wh

Americans who watch international sporting events only to see Americans win miss most of what is best in the Winter Olympics. At Sarajevo in 1984, the Soviets collectively came in first, the East Germans second. U.S. Olympians were fifth, taking just eight of the 117 medals awarded. That total was bettered by athletes from Finland and Norway and equaled by the Swedes. Even the quark-size principality of Liechtenstein claimed two bronzes. The long white winters of Europe, from Lapland down to Alpine Italy, virtually invite the young and gifted to test their skills on slopes and frozen ponds. In an athletic...

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