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February 11, 1998 – if you were a Winter Olympics watcher and you were rooting for Team USA, you had a lot to cheer about this February 11th. For the first time at the Winter Olympics in Nagano Japan, the U.S. won their first gold medal. For Skier Johnny Moseley it took four days of competition, 11 medal events and a sizable number of disappointing finishes by U.S. Olympic athletes. But under bright sunshine this morning on a hill in Iizuna Kogen Heights and on a mountain in nearby Hakuba, the United States finally put two golds on the medal scoreboard. Freestyle skier Jonny Moseley was the first, competing in an event some Americans might not even realize is in the Winter Olympics.
Skiing last of 16 in the moguls event, Moseley, 22, won the gold with a spectacular 360-degree spin on the last jump of his run.
With the medal drought officially ended, U.S. skier Picabo Street gave her country a surprising gold in the super giant slalom an hour later.
Street, a downhill specialist, was coming back from knee surgery and a crash in January to compete today in an event in which she has never excelled.
Their medals came to a nation accustomed to winning them. But Japanese speedskater Hiroyasu Shimizu had brought the first gold to his country the night before, bearing up not only under the pressures that face any athlete but also under the enormous expectation of his own nation, the host of these Games, which had not won an individual gold medal since 1972. In his audience were not the bobbing youth of Moseley’s mogul course but Crown Prince Naruhito, son of the emperor, cheering from his seat in the M-wave Arena.
But there was more happening this day – almost none of it from Nagano. Aside from a doping scandal that forced a Canadian snowboarder to be stripped of his Olympic Gold medal won earlier in the week by testing positive for Marijuana. Eyes were on Capitol Hill again as the Monica Lewinsky Sex Scandal was making for conversation and distraction everywhere not associated with Winter Olympics. Even so, military preparedness in the Persian Gulf signaled the U.S. was ready to attack Iraq within two weeks, barring any unforeseen difficulties – those difficulties were coming in the form of Saudi Arabia refusing to allow U.S. attack planes to land on Saudi airfields – the whole region was in the midst of preparing for military action which was slated to happen anytime soon.
And that’s just a small slice of what went on, this February 11, 1998 as presented by The CBS World News Roundup.