The 1994 Winter Olympics (Norwegian: Olympiske vinterleker 1994), officially known as the XVII Olympic Winter Games (French: Les XVIIes Jeux olympiques d'hiver), was a winter multi-sport event celebrated from 12 to 27 February 1994 in and around Lillehammer, Norway. Lillehammer failed to win the bid for the 1992 event, losing to Albertville. Lillehammer was awarded the 1994 Winter Olympics in 1988, after beating Anchorage, United States; Östersund, Sweden; and Sofia, Bulgaria. Lillehammer is the northernmost city to ever host the Winter Games and the Olympic Games overall. The Games were the first to be held in a different year from the Summer Olympics, the first and only one to be held two years after the previous winter games. The Games were the second Winter Olympics hosted in Norway, after the 1952 Winter Olympics in Oslo, and the fourth Olympics in the Nordic countries, after the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden, and the 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki, Finland. While many events took place in Lillehammer, skating took place in Hamar, some ice hockey matches were placed in Gjøvik, while Alpine skiing was held in Øyer and Ringebu. Sixty-seven countries and 1,737 athletes participated in six sports and sixty-one events. Fourteen countries made their debut in the Winter Olympics, of which nine were former Soviet republics. The Games also saw the introduction of stricter qualifying rules, reducing the number of under-performing participants from warm-weather countries.
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