1992 Winter Olympics: The Empire's Last Hurrah Former

Soviets celebrate in the men's and pairs' figure skating, while an American silver stirs the crowd

Chalk it up to injuries. Or hard ice conditions. Or the elimination of the compulsory school figures. Whatever the explanation, the 1992 Olympics will be remembered for laying to rest one of skating's favorite axioms: all medals are preordained.

Coming into the men's competition, the odds-on favorite was Canada's Kurt Browning, a level-headed and energetic three-time world champion. But a disastrous tumble early in his short program effectively took Browning out of gold-medal contention, throwing the field open to a crop of skaters who have been perennial best men but never the bridegroom. The suspense was compounded by a rash of...

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