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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

So Long to 'Best Winter Games Ever'

LILLEHAMMER, Norway -- Citius. Altius. Fortius.

Swifter. Higher. Stronger.

And now: Celsius.


As we wave goodbye to Norway, let us remember to thank the people who made these last three weeks such fun ... starting with Eddie Bauer, a winter clothing company.

Let us thank our Norwegian hosts for the unparalleled salmon, for the dependable transportation -- for their unfailing graciousness, and most of all for the plentiful hot water.

Let us remember the greatness of the athletes, such as Norway's Viking god Johann Olav Koss, the Boss. Koss is not only the greatest long-distance speed skater in the world -- three races, three golds, three world records -- and a total hunk, but he's also donated all his winnings to "Olympic Aid," for relief to young war victims in Bosnia and other ravaged lands. He is in his third year of medical school, and he's a radio reporter.

Koss stands out over the long haul. So does the incomparable Bonnie Blair. And both the Swedish and Canadian hockey teams, full of heroes, for one of the greatest games of all time. Tommy Moe and Diann Roffe-Steinrotter, who refuted the criticism that the U.S. skiing team was soft and slow by winning gold medals. Nifty Oksana Baiul. The elegant Russian pair of Yekaterina Gordeyeva and Sergei Grinkov. Class acts Duncan Kennedy, Brian Boitano, Torvill and Dean, and the incomparable Katarina Witt. The ebullient Tomba. Nancy Kerrigan, for standing up through inordinate pressure. And Dan Jansen, with the sweetest moment of all, a world record and a gold medal in his final Olympic race. Because of his many years of hard luck and his perseverance, Jansen is the most beloved of all Winter Olympians; the day after Jansen won the 1,000, sticking out of the snow on the E-6 highway to Hamar were three lovingly hand-lettered signs that simply said "Dan."

Among other things (Nancy, Tonya) these Games will be remembered for being environmentally correct. They were officially named "The Green Games." And in that spirit they actually had edible plates made out of potato starch. So instead of cleaning your plate after your meal, you could eat your plate.

One corollary to this environmental frenzy is the perpetual glaze of ice on the sidewalks and roads. The Norwegians won't use rock salt, which may explain why every fifth person you see is hobbling around on crutches, having taken a flop on the ice.

And now a few words about the Closing Ceremonies: Kept them short. Good. Additionally, there was a ceremony to introduce Nagano as the next Winter Olympic city, and a snowdrop as the official emblem. Four Snowlets, those cute little owls, are the official Nagano mascots.

One moment that gave me pause was when they brought in the expedition team. Six people and 40 huskies are on their way to Nagano "on Nature's own terms," using skis, sleds and sails. They are expected to arrive in one and a half years. To which we can only say: Better them than us.

And near the end, Juan Antonio Samaranch, the president of the International Olympic Committee, said in congratulating Lillehammer and the country: "To you, the people of Norway, it is my great honor to say that you are the real winners of these magic games. You have presented to the entire world the best Olympic Winter Games ever."

The Norwegians could not help but agree. Suddenly, the spectators were singing "Seieren Er Vaar," the Norwegian victory song, just as they had been doing for two weeks during the Games.