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A cluster of venues within Nagano, a city of 360,000 surrounded by mountains, will host competitions in five events: ice hockey (two sites); speedskating; figure skating, short-track speedskating; bobsled and luge; and freestyle skiing. The opening and closing ceremonies will take place in Nagano City as well.

Ice hockey will take place at two sites — in the "Big Hat," so named for shape of its exterior, and "Aqua Wing," in the Nagano Sports Park. "Big Hat" will host most of the main matches, including the medal games.

Figure skating and short-track speedskating will be held in the city's "White Ring" stadium, which also gets its name from its outside appearance. The stadium is in Nagano's Mashima district, southeast of the city center.

Long-track speedskating will take place in the "M-Wave" stadium, a structure that straddles the city's Asahi and Mamejina districts and which is built to mimic the contours of the surrounding mountains.

Luge and bobsledding will be held at the "Spiral" track in Iizuna Kogen, an area northwest of Nagano City that is characterized by lakes, forests and marshes. Freestyle skiing also will be held here.

A stadium for 50,000 spectators has been built at the Minami Nagano Sports Park in the Tofukuji district or the opening and closing ceremonies.

 Known for: Ancient Buddhist Zenkoji Temple; 7 million visit yearly
 Altitude: 1,888 ft.
 Average snowfall: 3.5 ft.
 Average temperature: 26 degrees F

  Bobsled and Luge

All Olympic sledding competition will be held at a track called "Spiral" that winds in 15 curves down the foothills of Mount Iizuna in the Asakawa district northeast of Nagano City. "Spiral" is unique because it has two uphill sections that make the track more demanding for lugers and bobsled teams. The first, out of Turn 7, rises 6 feet 2 inches over 164 feet. The second and more dramatic is out of Turn 11, which climbs 39 feet 4 inches over 403 feet.

Knight-Ridder/Tribune Photo

Luge Events

 Men's singles: 1,326 meters; vertical drop, 114 meters
 Women's singles and doubles: 1,194 meters; vertical drop, 96 meters

Bobsled Events

 Two-man (men only): 1,360 meters; vertical drop, 113 meters
 Four-man (men only): 1,360 meters; vertical drop, 113 meters

Notes on the Site

 Cooling system: First track with indirect refrigeration system; ammonia solution is cooled, then it cools a liquid freezing agent, which is pumped through pipes in concrete track to make ice


 Total area: 45 acres
 Spectator capacity: 10,000
 Estimated construction cost: $78 million


The speedskating venue has been nicknamed the "M-Wave" and is located in the Asahi and Maejima districts of Nagano city. The name comes from the design of the roof, which looks like a giant "M" against the backdrop of the Japanese Alps. The river Chikuma flows nearby.

Knight-Ridder/Tribune Photo

Speedskating Events

 Men: 500m, 1,000m, 1,500m, 5,000m, 10,000m
 Women: 500m, 1,000m, 1,500m, 3,000m, 5,000m

Notes on the Site

 Distance from Olympic Village: 7.5 miles
 A first: Japan's first indoor rink with standard 400-meter double track
 Nickname: Called "M-Wave" because roof resembles ocean waves


 Construction: Roof has distinctive suspended design; made from aromatic wood of locally cut larch trees; interior resembles Japanese lattice
 Arena capacity: 10,000
 Other international competitions held at this site: Speed Skating World Championships, 1997

© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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