With the selection of Nagano, Japan turned out to be the spoiler of Utah's Olympic dreams for a second time.
It was in April 1966 when the International Olympic Committee, meeting in Rome, picked Sapporo over Salt Lake City; Lahti, Finland; and Banff, Canada, as the site for the 1972 Winter Olympics.Early Sunday morning in Japan, thousands of elated Nagano boosters crowded the city's guardian temple, Zenko-ji, in a pre-dawn rally to celebrate the victory over Salt Lake City and three other host candidates.
The crowd of an estimated 3,000 townspeople waving white-and-gold flags bearing Nagano's Olympic logo watched the decision to award Nagano the Games on a giant television screen set up on the temple grounds.
Other areas that will act as venues during the Games held similar events, including a beer-and-firecracker party and traditional drum concert. In Shiga Heights, where many of the ski events are to be held, 10,000 people turned out to cheer the announcement.
"Banzai, banzai," cried Nagano citizens. "Nagano, Nagano, Nagano," they shouted.
"This is the realization of our greatest dream," said Osamu Kodama, a former Olympic athlete who joined boosters at the Nagano temple.
Several nationwide television networks broke with regular late-night programming to broadcast the results live from the city of 350,000 nestled away in the mountains about 110 miles northwest of Tokyo.
More festivities were planned on Tuesday, when the city mayor, prefectural governor and other bid committee officials return to Japan.
Going into the vote, Nagano officials figured they had an edge because of the frequency of Olympics held recently in North America. The IOC was criticized by many for choosing Atlanta over Athens, birthplace of the Olympics, for the centennial Summer Games in 1996.
Judges also couldn't fault Nagano for a lack of effort, or funds. Nagano committee officials said about $11 million had been poured into Nagano's publicity campaign since 1985.
The city, represented at the Birmingham, England, IOC meeting by 1,000 officials and boosters, first bid for a Winter Games more than 50 years ago.
It lost that first bid for the 1940 Winter Games to Sapporo, in northern Japan. Sapporo never got to host those Games, however, because of World War II.
Sapporo beat out Nagano again in 1966, when it won the rights to host the 1972 Games.
The Sapporo Games were the first winter Olympics ever staged in Asia, and no Winter Games have been held in Asia since.
Tokyo was the first Asian city to host an Olympic Games, in the summer of 1964. Seoul played host to the Summer Games in 1988.
Nagano planners had envisioned total construction costs, not including roads and other transportation networks, of 315 billion yen ($2.4 billion), most of which is to be paid through taxes.