1992 Winter Olympics: Let The Magic Begin

Grandiose and a little garish, the Winter Olympics delight the tourism boosters and scare the region's ecologists

Snoozing at the mouth of a narrow valley, its air perfumed by nearby steel plants, its riverbank paved for a parking lot, its squat office buildings ringed by mounds of sooty snow, Albertville hardly seems destined for global fame. But raise your eyes above the small-town skyline: the Olympian glory of the French Alps explodes in a pastel sunset, sparkling through pine-serrated glaciers. After Sarajevo's Bosnian backwater and Calgary's urban stampede, the 16th Olympic Winter Games will be a soaring high-wire act: 57 events staged in 10 venues across seven valleys and 620 sq. mi. of the Savoie region's magnificent mountain...

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