As we are in the middle of Winter Olympic Games 2018, featuring in PyeongChang (South Korea), some nostalgia is in the air of the capital city of Bosnia & Herzegovina. For a good reason. Everyone is remembering Sarajevo Winter Olympics. 34 years ago, Sarajevo (at that time part of Yugoslavia) hosted Winter Olympic Games, that brought a worldwide popularity to the whole country.
When Sarajevo was chosen, it was unprecedented that one socialist (rather communist) country hosts this event. Actually, it remains the only exception until today. Since the first WO in 1924, only 11 countries in the world had a chance to host it. Yugoslavia was a surprising choice among countries such as the US, Canada, France, Germany, Austria, Norway, Switzerland, Italy and Japan.
It was a huge opportunity for Sarajevo to be selected by IOC to welcome world’s most respected athletes of winter sports. During three years of impressive preparations, the city had transformed and enlarged enormously. New buildings were on every corner and during the WO the spirit of people was amazing – taxis were driving for free, everything was open 24/7, everyone lived this event emotionally.
Sarajevo was chosen to host those Olympics since in its vicinity are the most popular mountains in Bosnia & Herzegovina – Jahorina, Bjelašnica, Igman and Trebević. All of them are only half an hour away from the capital city, and today they have the first-class slopes, the best accommodation & renting capacities, as well as après skiing activities. Since then, Sarajevo lives that Olympic glory, despite turbulences that hit the country in 1990’s.
Decades and generations have changed, but the spirit of this place remains the same – Sarajevo will stay an Olympic city forever. In the city center, no visitor can miss a corner with an eternal flame that stands as a reminder of the greatest moments in the history of the capital. Locals are not the only people remembering Sarajevo Winter Olympics in 1984, as the opening ceremony was followed by two billion people around the world, which was an amazing success 34 years ago.
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