In 1980, the Soviet Union and East Germany finished the Winter Games in a virtual tie for the unofficial team championship. The USSR won more gold medals (10–9), but the GDR won more overall medals (23–22).
In 1984, the East Germans edged into the lead in the battle of state-controlled athletic programs, winning three more golds (9–6), while the Soviets won one more overall medal (25–24).
Karin Enke was the top East German performer, taking two gold medals and two silvers in the four women's speed skating events. Teammate Andrea Schöne won a gold and two silvers. Cross-country skier Marja-Liisa Hämäläinen of Finland was the only athlete to win three events and one of only three—Enke and Swedish cross-country skier Gunde Svan were the others—to win four overall medals.
The U.S. hockey team failed to qualify for the medal round, but the men's Alpine ski team, which had never won an event before, won twice. Bill Johnson took the downhill and the Mahre brothers, Phil and Steve, finished 1–2 in the slalom.