overall: 38 1/2 in x 17 1/2 in; 97.79 cm x 44.45 cm
Dark blue nylon pants worn by Shannon Dunn during the opening ceremonies at the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympic Games. Dunn won the first ever gold medal in snowboarding during the women's halfpipe event.
Shannon Dunn (Downing) began snowboarding in 1988 at age 16, in her hometown of Steamboat Springs, Colorado when the sport was just gaining traction on an international level. In 1985, snowboarding became more relevant as a competitive sport with the arrival of sport specific magazines and videos, the introduction of international snowboard competitions and the acceptance of snowboarding in more resorts throughout the United States. By the late 1980s, women were beginning to enter contests hoping to spark a desire in younger girls to participate. Dunn began competing a year after she started snowboarding and took first in the 1989 Halfpipe Rocky Mountain Amateur Series and second place overall. By 1990 she was competing in the pro circuit and won third in the 1990 Body Glove Snowbout. From 1991 through 1997, Dunn was a consistent first place finisher at the pro contests and won gold in halfpipe at the first ever Winter X Games in 1997. She went on to earn a spot on the inaugural Olympic snowboarding team and became the first American athlete to medal in snowboarding winning the Bronze medal in half pipe at Nagano. Dunn continued her domination of the medal stand on the pro circuit until the 2002 Salt Lake City games where she came in fifth as American Kelly Clark to gold. After the 2002 Games Dunn retired in order to concentrate on her family. Dunn co-founded “Boarding for Breast Cancer” in 1996 and continues her philanthropic work.
The 1998 Winter Olympics, also known as the Games of the XVIII Olympiad were held in Nagano, Japan with 72 countries, 1,389 men and 787 women athletes participating. American figure skater Tara Lipinski became the youngest gold medalist in Olympic history at 15. Snowboarding was included at these Games with American Shannon Dunn becoming the first American to win a medal in the sport, taking the bronze in the Women’s giant slalom. Speed skating athletes could use clap skates for the first time at these Games, setting twelve Olympic and five World records. Germany won the medal count with 29 with the Americans taking fifth place with 13.