When Albertville 1992 brought the Olympic Winter Games to France for a third time – following nearby Chamonix in 1924 and Grenoble in 1968 – it led to the creation of a number of long-term legacies for the Alpine resort.
Many of the venues, for instance, are still in use today. These include La Halle Olympique, home to the figure skating and short track events, which now includes climbing, tennis and concert facilities, as well as the original ice rink.
The speed skating ring, meanwhile, which hosted the last outdoor skating events to take place at the Winter Games, has since been converted into a multipurpose stadium used for athletics and football events. Elsewhere, the curling venue has been converted into a leisure centre and the Olympic Village in Bride- les-Bains has been adapted to become a summer thermal resort and winter sports resort.
The 1992 Winter Games also made use of some of the best-known ski resorts in France, with Les Arcs, Courchevel, Meribel, La Plagne, Tignes and Val d'Isère all hosting events. Today, these resorts are more popular than ever, welcoming amateur and elite skiers alike, while the ski jumps and bob track are used year round for both training and competition.
Indeed, the La Plagne bob track hosted the skeleton part of the FIBT World Championships in 1993, while the venue was also part of Annecy's recent bid for the 2018 Winter Games in July 2011.
Val-d'Isère, meanwhile, hosted the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in 2009 and continues to host a round of the annual FIS Alpine Ski World Cup.
Many of these on-going legacies were only possible, however, thanks to the considerable infrastructure improvements that were made ahead of the 1992 Winter Games.
Méribel, for instance, used the Games as a catalyst to restructure the resort and redevelop the resort, while Val d’Isère also launched a period of urban reconstruction, building new hotels, modernising existing facilities and creating a congress centre.
Numerous other amenities in the region were also built and modernised, including the motorway to Moutiers and the high-speed TGV railway line to Bourg St Maurice, which now easy access to the many resorts in the region.
Indeed, the Savoie-Mont Blanc region is now home to 110 mountain resorts and 15 linked ski areas, welcoming millions of visitors per year and providing a welcome boost to the local
Albertville was the first host city to stage the Olympic Winter Games followed by the Winter Paralympic Games, the start of a tradition that has continued ever since. As the 30th anniversary of the Games approached, a wide range of celebration activities were planned across the region, in Albertville, Courchevel, Meribel, La Léchère-les-Bains/Valmorel, Les Saisies and Tignes.
At the Olympic Winter Games Albertville 1992, freestyle skiing, short-track speed skating and women’s biathlon debuted as official disciplines.
In cross-country skiing, Norwegians Björn Daehlie and Vegard Ulvang each won three gold medals. This made it a clean sweep for Norway.
American speed skater Bonnie Blair won the 500m and 1000m events, while Gunda Niemann of Germany took both of the longest races. Alpine skier Petra Kronberger of Austria won both the combined event and the slalom. Ki-hoon Kim of South Korea earned gold medals in both short track events. Toni Nieminen of Finland won the men’s ski jump title to become, at 16, the youngest male winner of a winter event.