For the second time in their history the Winter Olympic Games are to be held in Asia, where they will be hosted from 7th to 22nd February by the Japanese city of Nagano. After a successful debut in Sapporo in 1972, Japan now welcomes to the 18th Winter Olympics 3,000 participants from sixty countries, who are to compete in seven sports. Sixty-eight sets of medals are on offer, and Slovakia's hockey players will be fighting for one of them. Their supporters are confident the Nagano ice will bring them luck. After all, at Sapporo more than a quarter of a century ago Ondrej Nepela won Slovak sport its first Gold at the Winter Olympics.
Nagano will also play host - from 5th to 14th March - to the Winter Paralympics, at which 1,500 participants from thirty countries, including Slovakia, will compete in five sports.