Sapporo, Japan (1972)
Amateurism requirements were gradually phased out of the Olympic Charter beginning with the '72 games (it wasn't until 1988, however, that all professional athletes were eligible for the Olympics). But beyond the promise of the world's finest competitors, it makes sense that a record crowd turned out for Asia's first Winter Games. Perhaps they wanted to see the spoils of their island nation's $500 million investment in facilities upgrades. Or maybe it was the promise of a first-hand glance at Emeror Hirohito, who officiated the Opening Ceremony. Either way, the Japanese delegation noticed: Prior to Sapporo, they'd never won a gold medal in the Winter Olympics. But the host country shone, sweeping the ski jump and winning the affection of their countrymen. The IOC left happy, too, having sold the Games' television rights for a record $8.47 million.