The Winter Olympic Games (French: Jeux olympiques d'hiver)[nb 1] is a major international multi-sport event held once every four years for sports practiced on snow and ice. The first Winter Olympic Games, the 1924 Winter Olympics, were held in Chamonix, France. The modern Olympic Games were inspired by the ancient Olympic Games, which were held in Olympia, Greece, from the 8th century BC to the 4th century AD. Baron Pierre de Coubertin founded the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1894, leading to the first modern Summer Olympic Games in Athens, Greece in 1896. The IOC is the governing body of the Olympic Movement, with the Olympic Charter defining its structure and authority.
The original five Winter Olympic sports (broken into nine disciplines) were bobsleigh, curling, ice hockey, Nordic skiing (consisting of the disciplines military patrol,[nb 2] cross-country skiing, Nordic combined, and ski jumping), and skating (consisting of the disciplines figure skating and speed skating).[nb 3] The Games were held every four years from 1924 to 1936, interrupted in 1940 and 1944 by World War II, and resumed in 1948. Until 1992, the Summer Olympic Games and the Winter Olympic Games were held in the same year, and in accordance with the 1986 decision by the IOC to place the Summer Olympic Games and the Winter Olympic Games on separate four-year cycles in alternating even-numbered years, the next Winter Olympic Games after 1992 were held in 1994.
The Winter Olympic Games have evolved since their inception. Sports and disciplines have been added and some of them, such as Alpine skiing, luge, short track speed skating, freestyle skiing, skeleton, and snowboarding, have earned a permanent spot on the Olympic programme. Some others, including curling and bobsleigh, have been discontinued and later reintroduced; others have been permanently discontinued, such as military patrol, though the modern Winter Olympic sport of biathlon is descended from it.[nb 2] Still others, such as speed skiing, bandy and skijoring, were demonstration sports but never incorporated as Olympic sports. The rise of television as a global medium for communication enhanced the profile of the Games. It generated income via the sale of broadcast rights and advertising, which has become lucrative for the IOC. This allowed outside interests, such as television companies and corporate sponsors, to exert influence. The IOC has had to address numerous criticisms over the decades like internal scandals, the use of performance-enhancing drugs by Winter Olympians, as well as a political boycott of the Winter Olympic Games. Countries have used the Winter Olympic Games as well as the Summer Olympic Games to proclaim the superiority of their political systems.
The Winter Olympic Games have been hosted on three continents by twelve different countries. They have been held four times in the United States (1932, 1960, 1980 and 2002), three times in France (1924, 1968 and 1992) and twice each in Austria (1964 and 1976), Canada (1988 and 2010), Japan (1972 and 1998), Italy (1956 and 2006), Norway (1952 and 1994) and Switzerland (1928 and 1948). Also, the Winter Olympic Games have been held just once each in Germany (1936), Bosnia and Herzegovina (1984), Russia (2014) and South Korea (2018). The IOC has selected Beijing, China, to host the 2022 Winter Olympics, and the host of the 2026 Winter Olympics will be selected on June 23, 2019. As of 2018, no city in the Southern Hemisphere has applied to host the cold-weather-dependent Winter Olympic Games, which are held in February at the height of the Southern Hemisphere's summer.
To date, twelve countries have participated in every Winter Olympic Games – Austria, Canada, Finland, France, Great Britain, Hungary, Italy, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States. Six of these countries have won medals at every Winter Olympic Games – Austria, Canada, Finland, Norway, Sweden and the United States. The only country to have won a gold medal at every Winter Olympic Games is the United States. Germany (including the former countries of West Germany and East Germany) leads the all-time medal table of the Winter Olympic Games both on number of gold and overall medals won, followed by Norway, Russia (including the former Soviet Union), and the United States.
|Winter Olympic Games|
A predecessor, the Nordic Games, were organised by General Viktor Gustaf Balck in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1901 and were held again in 1903 and 1905 and then every fourth year thereafter until 1926. Balck was a charter member of the IOC and a close friend of Olympic Games founder Pierre de Coubertin. He attempted to have winter sports, specifically figure skating, added to the Olympic programme but was unsuccessful until the 1908 Summer Olympics in London, United Kingdom. Four figure skating events were contested, at which Ulrich Salchow (10-time world champion) and Madge Syers won the individual titles.
Three years later, Italian count Eugenio Brunetta d'Usseaux proposed that the IOC stage a week of winter sports included as part of the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden. The organisers opposed this idea because they desired to protect the integrity of the Nordic Games and were concerned about a lack of facilities for winter sports.
The idea was resurrected for the 1916 Games, which were to be held in Berlin, Germany. A winter sports week with speed skating, figure skating, ice hockey and Nordic skiing was planned, but the 1916 Olympics was cancelled after the outbreak of World War I.
The first Olympics after the war, the 1920 Summer Olympics, were held in Antwerp, Belgium, and featured figure skating and an ice hockey tournament. Germany, Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria and Turkey were banned from competing in the games. At the IOC Congress held the following year it was decided that the host nation of the 1924 Summer Olympics, France, would host a separate "International Winter Sports Week" under the patronage of the IOC. Chamonix was chosen to host this "week" (actually 11 days) of events. The games proved to be a success when more than 250 athletes from 16 nations competed in 16 events. Athletes from Finland and Norway won 28 medals, more than the rest of the participating nations combined. Germany remained banned until 1925, and instead hosted a series of games called Deutsche Kampfspiele, starting with the winter edition of 1922 (which predated the first Winter Olympics). In 1925 the IOC decided to create a separate winter event and the 1924 games in Chamonix was retroactively designated as the first Winter Olympics.
St. Moritz, Switzerland, was appointed by the IOC to host the second Winter Games in 1928. Fluctuating weather conditions challenged the hosts. The opening ceremony was held in a blizzard while warm weather conditions plagued sporting events throughout the rest of the games. Because of the weather the 10,000 metre speed-skating event had to be abandoned and officially cancelled. The weather was not the only noteworthy aspect of the 1928 games: Sonja Henie of Norway made history when she won the figure skating competition at the age of 15. She became the youngest Olympic champion in history, a distinction she held for 70 years.
The next Winter Olympics, held in Lake Placid, New York, was the first to be hosted outside of Europe. Seventeen nations and 252 athletes participated. This was less than in 1928, as the journey to Lake Placid was long and expensive for most competitors, who had little money in the midst of the Great Depression. The athletes competed in fourteen events in four sports. Virtually no snow fell for two months before the Games, and there was not enough snow to hold all the events until mid-January. Sonja Henie defended her Olympic title, and Eddie Eagan of the United States, who had been an Olympic champion in boxing in 1920, won the gold medal in the men's bobsleigh event to become the first, and so far only, Olympian to have won gold medals in both the Summer and Winter Olympics.
The German towns of Garmisch and Partenkirchen joined to organise the 1936 edition of the Winter Games, held from 6–16 February. This was the last time the Summer and Winter Olympics were held in the same country in the same year. Alpine skiing made its Olympic debut, but skiing teachers were barred from entering because they were considered to be professionals. Because of this decision the Swiss and Austrian skiers refused to compete at the games.
World War II interrupted the holding of the Winter Olympics. The 1940 games had been awarded to Sapporo, Japan, but the decision was rescinded in 1938 because of the Japanese invasion of China. The games were then to be held at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, but the 1940 games were cancelled following the German invasion of Poland in 1939. Due to the ongoing war, the 1944 games, originally scheduled for Cortina D'Ampezzo, Italy, were cancelled.
St. Moritz was selected to host the first post-war games, in 1948. Switzerland's neutrality had protected the town during World War II, and most of the venues were in place from the 1928 games, which made St. Moritz a logical choice. It became the first city to host a Winter Olympics twice. Twenty-eight countries competed in Switzerland, but athletes from Germany and Japan were not invited. Controversy erupted when two hockey teams from the United States arrived, both claiming to be the legitimate U.S. Olympic hockey representative. The Olympic flag presented at the 1920 Summer Olympics in Antwerp was stolen, as was its replacement. There was unprecedented parity at these games, during which 10 countries won gold medals—more than any games to that point.
The Olympic Flame for the 1952 games in Oslo, was lit in the fireplace by skiing pioneer Sondre Nordheim, and the torch relay was conducted by 94 participants entirely on skis. Bandy, a popular sport in the Nordic countries, was featured as a demonstration sport, though only Norway, Sweden, and Finland fielded teams. Norwegian athletes won 17 medals, which outpaced all the other nations. They were led by Hjalmar Andersen who won three gold medals in four events in the speed skating competition.
After not being able to host the games in 1944, Cortina d'Ampezzo was selected to organise the 1956 Winter Olympics. At the opening ceremonies the final torch bearer, Guido Caroli, entered the Olympic Stadium on ice skates. As he skated around the stadium his skate caught on a cable and he fell, nearly extinguishing the flame. He was able to recover and light the cauldron. These were the first Winter Games to be televised, and the first Olympics ever broadcast to an international audience, though no television rights were sold until the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome. The Cortina games were used to test the feasibility of televising large sporting events. The Soviet Union made its Olympic debut and had an immediate impact, winning more medals than any other nation. The Soviets' immediate success might be explained by the advent of the state-sponsored "full-time amateur athlete". The USSR entered teams of athletes who were all nominally students, soldiers, or working in a profession, but many of whom were in reality paid by the state to train full-time. Chiharu Igaya won the first Winter Olympics medal for Japan and the continent of Asia when he placed second in the slalom.
The IOC awarded the 1960 Olympics to Squaw Valley, United States. It was an undeveloped resort in 1955, so from 1956 to 1960 the infrastructure and all of the venues were built at a cost of US$80,000,000. The opening and closing ceremonies were produced by Walt Disney. The Squaw Valley Olympics was the first Winter Games to have a dedicated athletes' village, the first to use a computer (courtesy of IBM) to tabulate results, and the first to feature female speed skating events. The bobsleigh events were absent for the only time due to the cost of building a bobsleigh run.
The Austrian city of Innsbruck was the host in 1964. Although Innsbruck was a traditional winter sports resort, warm weather caused a lack of snow during the games and the Austrian army was enlisted to transport snow and ice to the sports venues. Soviet speed-skater Lidia Skoblikova made history by winning all four speed skating events. Her career total of six gold medals set a record for Winter Olympics athletes. Luge was first contested in 1964, but the sport received bad publicity when a competitor was killed in a pre-Olympic training run.
Held in the French town of Grenoble, the 1968 Winter Olympics were the first Olympic Games to be broadcast in colour. There were 1,158 athletes from 37 nations competing in 35 events. French alpine ski racer Jean-Claude Killy became only the second person to win all the men's alpine skiing events. The organising committee sold television rights for US$2 million, which was more than twice the cost of the broadcast rights for the Innsbruck Games. Venues were spread over long distances requiring three athletes' villages. The organisers claimed that this was necessary to accommodate technological advances, however critics disputed this, alleging that the layout would incorporate the best possible venues for television broadcasts at the athletes' expense.
The 1972 Winter Games, held in Sapporo, Japan, were the first to be hosted on a continent other than North America or Europe. The issue of professionalism was disputed during these Games when a number of alpine skiers were found to have participated in a ski camp at Mammoth Mountain in the United States; three days before the opening ceremony, IOC president Avery Brundage threatened to bar the skiers from competing in the Games as he insisted that they were no longer amateurs having benefited financially from their status as athletes. Eventually only Austrian Karl Schranz, who earned more than the other skiers, was excluded from the competition. Canada did not send teams to the 1972 or 1976 ice hockey tournaments in protest at not being able to use players from professional leagues. It also accused the Soviet Union of using state-sponsored athletes, who were de facto professionals. Francisco Fernández Ochoa became the first (and, as of 2018, only) Spaniard to win a Winter Olympic gold medal when he triumphed in the slalom.
The 1976 Winter Olympics had initially been awarded in 1970 to Denver, Colorado in the United States. These Games would have coincided with the year of Colorado's centennial and the United States Bicentennial. However, in November 1972 the people of Colorado voted against public funding of the Games by a 3:2 margin. The IOC responded by offering the Games to Vancouver-Garibaldi, British Columbia, which had previously been an official candidate for the 1976 Games. However, a change in the provincial government resulted in an administration that did not support the Olympic bid, so the IOC's offer was rejected. Salt Lake City, previously a candidate for the 1972 Winter Olympics, then put itself forward, but the IOC opted instead to invite Innsbruck to host the 1976 Games, as most of the infrastructure from the 1964 Games had been maintained. Despite only having half the usual time to prepare for the Games, Innsbruck accepted the invitation to replace Denver in February 1973. Two Olympic flames were lit because it was the second time that the Austrian town had hosted the Winter Games. The 1976 Games featured the first combination bobsleigh and luge track, in neighbouring Igls. The Soviet Union won its fourth consecutive ice hockey gold medal.
In 1980 the Winter Olympics returned to Lake Placid, which had hosted the 1932 Games. The first boycott of a Winter Olympics took place at these Games, when Taiwan refused to participate after an edict by the IOC mandated that they change their name and national anthem. This was an attempt by the IOC to accommodate China, who wished to compete using the same name and anthem as those used by Taiwan. As a result, China participated for the first time since 1952. American speed-skater Eric Heiden set either an Olympic or World record in every one of the five events in which he competed, winning a total of five individual gold medals and breaking the record for most individual golds in a single Olympics (both Summer and Winter). Hanni Wenzel won both the slalom and giant slalom and her country, Liechtenstein, became the smallest nation to produce an Olympic gold medallist. In the "Miracle on Ice", the American hockey team composed of college players beat the favoured seasoned professionals from the Soviet Union, and progressed to eventually win the gold medal.[nb 4]
Sapporo, Japan, and Gothenburg, Sweden, were front-runners to host the 1984 Winter Olympics. It was therefore a surprise when Sarajevo, Yugoslavia, was selected as host. The Games were well-organised and not affected by the run-up to the war that engulfed the country eight years later. A total of 49 nations and 1,272 athletes participated in 39 events. Host nation Yugoslavia won its first Olympic medal when alpine skier Jure Franko won silver in the giant slalom. Another sporting highlight was the free dance performance of British ice dancers Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean; their Boléro routine received unanimous perfect scores for artistic impression, earning them the gold medal.
In 1988, the Canadian city of Calgary hosted the first Winter Olympics to span three weekends, lasting for a total of 16 days. New events were added in ski-jumping and speed skating, while future Olympic sports curling, short track speed skating and freestyle skiing made their debut appearance as demonstration sports. The speed skating events were held indoors for the first time, on the Olympic Oval. Dutch skater Yvonne van Gennip won three gold medals and set two world records, beating skaters from the favoured East German team in every race. Her medal total was equalled by Finnish ski jumper Matti Nykänen, who won all three events in his sport. Alberto Tomba, an Italian skier, made his Olympic debut by winning both the giant slalom and slalom. East German Christa Rothenburger won the women's 1,000 metre speed skating event. Seven months later she would earn a silver in track cycling at the Summer Games in Seoul, to become the only athlete to win medals in both a Summer and Winter Olympics in the same year.
The 1992 Winter Games were the last to be held in the same year as the Summer Games. They were hosted in the French Savoie region, with 18 events held in the city of Albertville and the remaining events spread out over the Savoie. Political changes of the time were reflected in the composition of the Olympic teams competing in France: this was the first Games to be held after the fall of Communism and the fall of the Berlin Wall, and Germany competed as a single nation for the first time since the 1964 Games; former Yugoslavian republics Croatia and Slovenia made their debuts as independent nations; most of the former Soviet republics still competed as a single team known as the Unified Team, but the Baltic States made independent appearances for the first time since before World War II. At 16 years old, Finnish ski jumper Toni Nieminen made history by becoming the youngest male Winter Olympic champion. New Zealand skier Annelise Coberger became the first Winter Olympic medallist from the southern hemisphere when she won a silver medal in the women's slalom.
The 1994 Winter Olympics, held in Lillehammer, Norway, were the first Winter Games to be held separately from the Summer Games. This change resulted from the decision reached in the 91st IOC Session (1986) to separate the Summer and Winter Games and place them in alternating even-numbered years. Lillehammer is the northernmost city to ever host the Winter Games. It was the second time the Games were held in Norway, after the 1952 Winter Olympics in Oslo, and the first time the Olympic Truce was observed. As a result, after the dissolution of Czechoslovakia in 1993, the Czech Republic and Slovakia made their Olympic debuts. The women's figure skating competition drew media attention when American skater Nancy Kerrigan was injured on 6 January 1994, in an assault planned by the ex-husband of opponent Tonya Harding. Both skaters competed in the Games, but the gold medal was controversially won by Oksana Baiul who became Ukraine's first Olympic champion, while Kerrigan won the silver medal. Johann Olav Koss of Norway won three gold medals, coming first in all of the distance speed skating events. 13-year-old Kim Yoon-Mi became the youngest-ever Olympic gold medallist when South Korea won the women's 3,000 meter speed skating relay. Bjørn Dæhli of Norway won a medal in four out of five cross-country events, becoming the most decorated Winter Olympian until then. Russia won the most events, with eleven gold medals, while Norway achieved 26 podium finishes, collecting the most medals overall on home ground. Juan Antonio Samaranch described Lillehammer as "the best Olympic Winter Games ever" in his closing ceremony speech.
The 1998 Winter Olympics were held in the Japanese city of Nagano and were the first Games to host more than 2,000 athletes. The men's ice hockey tournament was opened to NHL players for the first time. Canada and the United States were favoured to win the tournament as they both fielded more NHL players than European countries, but surprisingly neither team won any medals and it was the Czech Republic who prevailed. The Czech team was mainly composed of domestic pros with some additions from the NHL The tournament was played under the IHHF rules, which were unfamiliar to many NHLers. Women's ice hockey made its debut and the United States won the gold medal. Bjørn Dæhlie of Norway won three gold medals in Nordic skiing, becoming the most decorated Winter Olympic athlete, with eight gold medals and twelve medals overall. Austrian Hermann Maier survived a crash during the downhill competition and returned to win gold in the super-G and the giant slalom. Tara Lipinski of the United States, aged just 15, became the youngest ever female gold medallist in an individual event when she won the Ladies' Singles, a record that had stood since Sonja Henie of Norway won the same event, also aged 15, in St. Moritz in 1928. New world records were set in speed skating largely due to the introduction of the clap skate.
The 2002 Winter Olympics were held in Salt Lake City, United States, hosting 77 nations and 2,399 athletes in 78 events in 7 sports. These Games were the first to take place since the September 11 attacks of 2001, which meant a higher degree of security to avoid a terrorist attack. The opening ceremony saw signs of the aftermath of the events of that day, including the flag that flew at Ground Zero, and honour guards of NYPD and FDNY members.
German Georg Hackl won a silver in the singles luge, becoming the first athlete in Olympic history to win medals in the same individual event in five consecutive Olympics. Canada achieved an unprecedented double by winning both the men's and women's ice hockey gold medals. Canada became embroiled with Russia in a controversy that involved the judging of the pairs figure skating competition. The Russian pair of Yelena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze competed against the Canadian pair of Jamie Salé and David Pelletier for the gold medal. The Canadians appeared to have skated well enough to win the competition, yet the Russians were awarded the gold. The French judge, Marie-Reine Le Gougne, awarded the gold to the Russians. An investigation revealed that she had been pressured to give the gold to the Russian pair regardless of how they skated; in return the Russian judge would look favourably on the French entrants in the ice dancing competition. The IOC decided to award both pairs the gold medal in a second medal ceremony held later in the Games. Australian Steven Bradbury became the first gold medallist from the southern hemisphere when he won the 1,000 metre short-track speed skating event.
The Italian city of Turin hosted the 2006 Winter Olympics. It was the second time that Italy had hosted the Winter Olympic Games. South Korean athletes won 10 medals, including 6 gold in the short-track speed skating events. Sun-Yu Jin won three gold medals while her teammate Hyun-Soo Ahn won three gold medals and a bronze. In the women's Cross-Country team pursuit Canadian Sara Renner broke one of her poles and, when he saw her dilemma, Norwegian coach Bjørnar Håkensmoen decided to lend her a pole. In so doing she was able to help her team win a silver medal in the event at the expense of the Norwegian team, who finished fourth. On winning the Super-G, Kjetil-Andre Aamodt of Norway became the most decorated ski racer of all time with 4 gold and 8 overall medals. He is also the only ski racer to have won the same event at three different Olympics, winning the Super-G in 1992, 2002 and 2006. Claudia Pechstein of Germany became the first speed skater to earn nine career medals. In February 2009, Pechstein tested positive for "blood manipulation" and received a two-year suspension, which she appealed. The Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld her suspension but a Swiss court ruled that she could compete for a spot on the 2010 German Olympic team. This ruling was brought to the Swiss Federal Tribunal, which overturned the lower court's ruling and precluded her from competing in Vancouver.
In 2003 the IOC awarded the 2010 Winter Olympics to Vancouver, thus allowing Canada to host its second Winter Olympics. With a population of more than 2.5 million people Vancouver is the largest metropolitan area to ever host a Winter Olympic Games. Over 2,500 athletes from 82 countries participated in 86 events. The death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili in a training run on the day of the opening ceremonies resulted in the Whistler Sliding Centre changing the track layout on safety grounds. Norwegian cross-country skier Marit Bjørgen won five medals in the six cross-country events on the women's programme. She finished the Olympics with three golds, a silver and a bronze. For the first time, Canada won a gold medal at an Olympic Games it hosted, having failed to do so at both the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal and the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary. In contrast to the lack of gold medals at these previous Olympics, the Canadian team finished first overall in gold medal wins, and became the first host nation—since Norway in 1952—to lead the gold medal count, with 14 medals. In doing so, it also broke the record for the most gold medals won by a NOC at a single Winter Olympics (the previous was 13, set by the Soviet Union in 1976 and matched by Norway in 2002). The Vancouver Games were notable for the poor performance of the Russian athletes. From their first Winter Olympics in 1956 to the 2006 Games, a Soviet or Russian delegation had never been outside the top five medal-winning nations, but in 2010 they finished sixth in total medals and eleventh in gold medals. President Dmitry Medvedev called for the resignation of top sports officials immediately after the Games. Russia's disappointing performance at Vancouver is cited as the reason behind the implementation of a doping scheme alleged to have been in operation at major events such as the 2014 Games at Sochi. The success of Asian countries stood in stark contrast to the under-performing Russian team, with Vancouver marking a high point for medals won by Asian countries. In 1992 the Asian countries had won fifteen medals, three of which were gold. In Vancouver the total number of medals won by athletes from Asia had increased to thirty-one, with eleven of them being gold. The rise of Asian nations in Winter Olympics sports is due in part to the growth of winter sports programmes and the interest in winter sports in nations such as South Korea, Japan and China.
Sochi, Russia, was selected as the host city for the 2014 Winter Olympics over Salzburg, Austria, and Pyeongchang, South Korea. This was the first time that Russia had hosted a Winter Olympics. The Games took place from 7 to 23 February 2014. A record 2,800 athletes from 88 countries competed in 98 events. The Olympic Village and Olympic Stadium were located on the Black Sea coast. All of the mountain venues were 50 kilometres (31 miles) away in the alpine region known as Krasnaya Polyana. The Games were the most expensive so far, with a cost of £30 billion (USD 51 billion).
On the snow, Norwegian biathlete Ole Einar Bjørndalen took two golds to bring his total tally of Olympic medals to 13, overtaking his compatriot Bjørn Dæhlie to become the most decorated Winter Olympian of all time. Another Norwegian, cross-country skier Marit Bjørgen took three golds; her total of ten Olympic medals tied her as the female Winter Olympian with most medals, alongside Raisa Smetanina and Stefania Belmondo. Snowboarder Ayumu Hirano became the youngest medallist on snow at the Winter Games when he took a silver in the halfpipe competition at the age of fifteen. On the ice, the Dutch dominated the speed skating events, taking 23 medals, four clean sweeps of the podium places and at least one medal in each of the twelve medal events. Ireen Wüst was their most successful competitor, taking two golds and three silvers. In figure skating, Yuzuru Hanyu became the first skater to break the 100-point barrier in the short programme on the way to winning the gold medal. Among the sledding disciplines, luger Armin Zöggeler took a bronze, becoming the first Winter Olympian to secure a medal in six consecutive Games.
Following their disappointing performance at the 2010 Games, and an investment of £600 million in elite sport, Russia initially topped the medal table, taking 33 medals including thirteen golds. However Grigory Rodchenkov, the former head of the Russian national anti-doping laboratory, subsequently claimed that he had been involved in doping dozens of Russian competitors for the Games, and that he had been assisted by the Russian Federal Security Service in opening and re-sealing bottles containing urine samples so that samples with banned substances could be replaced with "clean" urine. A subsequent investigation commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency led by Richard McLaren concluded that a state-sponsored doping programme had operated in Russia from "at least late 2011 to 2015" across the "vast majority" of Summer and Winter Olympic sports. On 5 December 2017, the IOC announced that Russia would be banned from the 2018 Winter Olympics with immediate effect and by the end of 2017 the IOC Disciplinary Commission had disqualified 43 Russian athletes, stripping thirteen medals and knocking Russia from the top of the medal table, thus putting Norway in the lead.
On 6 July 2011, Pyeongchang, South Korea, was selected to host the 2018 Winter Olympics over Munich, Germany, and Annecy, France. This was the first time that South Korea had been selected to host a Winter Olympics and it was the second time the Olympics were held in the country overall, after the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul. The Games took place from 9 to 25 February 2018. More than 2,900 athletes from 92 countries participated in 102 events. The Olympic Stadium and many of the sports venues were situated in the Alpensia Resort in Daegwallyeong-myeon, Pyeongchang, while a number of other sports venues were located in the Gangneung Olympic Park in Pyeongchang's neighboring city of Gangneung.
The lead-up to the 2018 Winter Olympics was affected by the tensions between North and South Korea and the ongoing Russian doping scandal. Despite tense relations, North Korea agreed to participate in the Games, enter with South Korea during the opening ceremony as a unified Korea, and field a unified team in women's ice hockey. Individual Russian athletes, who qualified and could demonstrate they had complied with the IOC's doping regulations, were given the option to compete neutrally in Pyeongchang as "Olympic Athletes from Russia" (OAR) but they were not allowed to compete under the Russian flag.
The Games saw the addition of big air snowboarding, mass start speed skating, mixed doubles curling, and mixed team alpine skiing to the programme. On the ice, the Netherlands again dominated the speed skating, winning gold medals in seven of the ten individual events. Dutch speed skater Sven Kramer won gold in the men's 5000m event, becoming the only male speed skater to win the same Olympic event three times. On the snow, Norway led the medal tally in cross-country skiing, with Marit Bjørgen winning bronze in the women's team sprint and gold in the 30 kilometre classical event, bringing her total Olympic medal haul to fifteen, the most won by any athlete (male or female) in Winter Olympics history. Johannes Høsflot Klæbo became the youngest ever male to win an Olympic gold in cross-country skiing when he won the men's sprint at age 21. Noriaki Kasai of Japan became the first athlete in history to participate in eight Winter Olympics when he took part in the ski jumping qualification the day before the opening of the Games. Ester Ledecká of the Czech Republic won gold in the skiing super-G event and another gold in the snowboarding parallel giant slalom, making her the first female athlete to win Olympic gold medals in two different sports at a single Winter Games.
Norway led the total medal standings with 39, the highest number of medals by a nation in any Winter Olympics, followed by Germany's 31 and Canada's 29. Host nation South Korea won seventeen medals, its highest medal haul at a Winter Olympics.
The host city for the 2022 Winter Olympics is Beijing, the capital of People's Republic of China, elected on 31 July 2015 at the 128th IOC Session in Kuala Lumpur. Beijing will be the first city ever to have hosted both the Summer and Winter Olympics. The 2022 Winter Olympics will take place between 4 and 20 February 2022. While the 2026 Winter Olympics will be in either Milan-Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy or Stockholm-Åre, Sweden, will be elected on 24 July 2019 at the 134th IOC Session in Lausanne. The 2026 Winter Olympics will take place between 6 and 22 February 2026.
The process for awarding host city honours came under intense scrutiny after Salt Lake City had been awarded the right to host the 2002 Games. Soon after the host city had been announced it was discovered that the organisers had engaged in an elaborate bribery scheme to curry favour with IOC officials. Gifts and other financial considerations were given to those who would evaluate and vote on Salt Lake City's bid. These gifts included medical treatment for relatives, a college scholarship for one member's son and a land deal in Utah. Even IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch received two rifles valued at $2,000. Samaranch defended the gift as inconsequential since, as president, he was a non-voting member. The subsequent investigation uncovered inconsistencies in the bids for every Olympics (both Summer and Winter) since 1988. For example, the gifts received by IOC members from the Japanese Organising Committee for Nagano's bid for the 1998 Winter Olympics were described by the investigation committee as "astronomical". Although nothing strictly illegal had been done, the IOC feared that corporate sponsors would lose faith in the integrity of the process and that the Olympic brand would be tarnished to such an extent that advertisers would begin to pull their support. The investigation resulted in the expulsion of 10 IOC members and the sanctioning of another 10. New terms and age limits were established for IOC membership, and 15 former Olympic athletes were added to the committee. Stricter rules for future bids were imposed, with ceilings imposed on the value of gifts IOC members could accept from bid cities.
According to the IOC, the host city for the Winter Olympics is responsible for "...establishing functions and services for all aspects of the Games, such as sports planning, venues, finance, technology, accommodation, catering, media services, etc., as well as operations during the Games." Due to the cost of hosting the Games, most host cities never realise a profit on their investment. For example, the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy, cost $3.6 billion to host. By comparison, the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan, cost $12.5 billion. The organisers of the Nagano Games claimed that the cost of extending the bullet train service from Tokyo to Nagano was responsible for the large price tag. The organising committee had hoped that the exposure gained from hosting the Winter Olympics, and the improved access to Nagano from Tokyo, would benefit the local economy for years afterwards. In actual fact, Nagano's economy did experience a post-Olympic boom for a year or two, but the long-term effects have not materialised as anticipated. The likelihood of heavy debt is a deterrent to prospective host cities, as well as the prospect of unused sports venues and infrastructure saddling the local community with upkeep costs into the future with no appreciable post-Olympic value.
The Winter Olympics has the added problem of the alpine events requiring a mountain location; the men's downhill needs an 800 meter altitude difference along a suitable course. As this is a focal event that is central to the Games, the IOC has previously not agreed to it taking place a great distance from the main host city. (In opposite to the Summer games where sailing and horse sports have taken place more than 1000 km away) The requirement for a mountain location also means that venues such as hockey arenas often have to be built in sparsely populated areas with little future need for a large arena and for the hotels and infrastructure needed for all olympic visitors. Due to cost issues, the only candidate cities for the 2022 Winter Olympics were in dictatorship countries, and a number of European countries declined due to political doubt over costs. Both the 2006 and 2010 Games, which were hosted in countries where large cities are located close to suitable mountain regions, had lower costs since more venues, hotels and transport infrastructure already existed. In contrast the 2014 games had large cost due to most installations had to be built.
The IOC has enacted several initiatives to mitigate these concerns. Firstly, the commission has agreed to fund part of the host city's budget for staging the Games. Secondly, the qualifying host countries are limited to those that have the resources and infrastructure to successfully host an Olympic Games without negatively impacting the region or nation; this consequently rules out a large portion of the developing world. Finally, any prospective host city planning to bid for the Games is required to add a "legacy plan" to their proposal, with a view to the long-term economic and environmental impact that hosting the Olympics will have on the region.
For the 2022 Winter Games, IOC allowed a longer distance between the alpine events and other events. The Oslo bid had 220 kilometres (140 mi) to the Kvitfjell downhill arena. For the 2026 Winter Games, IOC allowed Stockholm to have the alpine event in Åre, 620 kilometres (390 mi) away (road distance).
In 1967 the IOC began enacting drug testing protocols. They started by randomly testing athletes at the 1968 Winter Olympics. The first Winter Games athlete to test positive for a banned substance was Alois Schloder, a West German hockey player, but his team was still allowed to compete. During the 1970s testing outside of competition was escalated because it was found to deter athletes from using performance-enhancing drugs. The problem with testing during this time was a lack of standardisation of the test procedures, which undermined the credibility of the tests. It was not until the late 1980s that international sporting federations began to coordinate efforts to standardise the drug-testing protocols. The IOC took the lead in the fight against steroids when it established the independent World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in November 1999.
The 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin became notable for a scandal involving the emerging trend of blood doping, the use of blood transfusions or synthetic hormones such as Erythropoietin (EPO) to improve oxygen flow and thus reduce fatigue. The Italian police conducted a raid on the Austrian cross-country ski team's residence during the Games where they seized blood-doping specimens and equipment. This event followed the pre-Olympics suspension of 12 cross-country skiers who tested positive for unusually high levels of haemoglobin, which is evidence of blood doping.
The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi's Russian Doping Scandal has resulted in the International Olympic Committee to begin disciplinary proceedings against 28 (later increased to 46) Russian athletes who competed at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, acting on evidence that their urine samples were tampered with.
The Winter Olympics have been an ideological front in the Cold War since the Soviet Union first participated at the 1956 Winter Games. It did not take long for the Cold War combatants to discover what a powerful propaganda tool the Olympic Games could be. The advent of the state-sponsored "full-time amateur athlete" of the Eastern Bloc countries further eroded the ideology of the pure amateur, as it put the self-financed amateurs of the Western countries at a disadvantage. The Soviet Union entered teams of athletes who were all nominally students, soldiers, or working in a profession, but many of whom were in reality paid by the state to train on a full-time basis. Nevertheless, the IOC held to the traditional rules regarding amateurism until the '90s.
The Cold War created tensions amongst countries allied to the two superpowers. The strained relationship between East and West Germany created a difficult political situation for the IOC. Because of its role in World War II, Germany was not allowed to compete at the 1948 Winter Olympics. In 1950 the IOC recognised the West German Olympic Committee, and invited East and West Germany to compete as a unified team at the 1952 Winter Games. East Germany declined the invitation and instead sought international legitimacy separate from West Germany. In 1955 the Soviet Union recognised East Germany as a sovereign state, thereby giving more credibility to East Germany's campaign to become an independent participant at the Olympics. The IOC agreed to provisionally accept the East German National Olympic Committee with the condition that East and West Germans compete on one team. The situation became tenuous when the Berlin Wall was constructed in 1962 and western nations began refusing visas to East German athletes. The uneasy compromise of a unified team held until the 1968 Grenoble Games when the IOC officially split the teams and threatened to reject the host-city bids of any country that refused entry visas to East German athletes.
The Winter Games have had only one national team boycott when Taiwan decided not to participate in the 1980 Winter Olympics held in Lake Placid. Prior to the Games the IOC agreed to allow China to compete in the Olympics for the first time since 1952. China was given permission to compete as the "People's Republic of China" (PRC) and to use the PRC flag and anthem. Until 1980 the island of Taiwan had been competing under the name "Republic of China" (ROC) and had been using the ROC flag and anthem. The IOC attempted to have the countries compete together but when this proved to be unacceptable the IOC demanded that Taiwan cease to call itself the "Republic of China". The IOC renamed the island "Chinese Taipei" and demanded that it adopt a different flag and national anthem, stipulations that Taiwan would not agree to. Despite numerous appeals and court hearings the IOC's decision stood. When the Taiwanese athletes arrived at the Olympic village with their Republic of China identification cards they were not admitted. They subsequently left the Olympics in protest, just before the opening ceremonies. Taiwan returned to Olympic competition at the 1984 Winter Games in Sarajevo as Chinese Taipei. The country agreed to compete under a flag bearing the emblem of their National Olympic Committee and to play the anthem of their National Olympic Committee should one of their athletes win a gold medal. The agreement remains in place to this day.
The Olympic Charter limits winter sports to "those ... which are practised on snow or ice." Since 1992 a number of new sports have been added to the Olympic programme; which include short track speed skating, snowboarding, freestyle and moguls skiing. The addition of these events has broadened the appeal of the Winter Olympics beyond Europe and North America. While European powers such as Norway and Germany still dominate the traditional Winter Olympic sports, countries such as South Korea, Australia and Canada are finding success in the new sports. The results are: more parity in the national medal tables; more interest in the Winter Olympics; and higher global television ratings.
|Sport||Years||Events||Medal events contested in 2014|
|Alpine skiing||Since 1936||11||Men's and women's downhill, super G, giant slalom, slalom, and combined, and parallel slalom.|
|Biathlon||Since 1960Note 3||11||Sprint (men: 10 km; women: 7.5 km), the individual (men: 20 km; women: 15 km), pursuit (men: 12.5 km; women: 10 km), relay (men: 4x7.5 km; women: 4x6 km; mixed: 2x7.5 km+2x6 km), and the mass start (men: 15 km; women: 12.5 km).|
|Bobsleigh||Since 1924 (except 1960)||3||Four-man race, two-man race and two-woman race.|
|Cross-country skiing||Since 1924||12||Men's sprint, team sprint, 30 km pursuit, 15 km, 50 km and 4x10 km relay; women's sprint, team sprint, 15 km pursuit, 10 km, 30 km and 4x5 km relay.|
|Curling||1924, since 1998||3||Men's, women's and mixed doubles. tournaments.|
|Figure skating||Since 1924Note 1||5||Men's and women's singles; pairs; ice dancing and team event.|
|Freestyle skiing||Since 1992||10||Men's and women's moguls, aerials, ski cross, superpipe, and slopestyle.|
|Ice hockey||Since 1924Note 2||2||Men's and women's tournaments.|
|Luge||Since 1964||4||Men's and women's singles, men's doubles, team relay.|
|Nordic combined||Since 1924||3||Men's 10 km individual normal hill, 10 km individual large hill and team.|
|Short track speed skating||Since 1992||8||Men's and women's 500 m, 1000 m, 1500 m; women's 3000 m relay; and men's 5000 m relay.|
|Skeleton||1928, 1948, Since 2002||2||Men's and women's events.|
|Ski jumping||Since 1924||4||Men's individual large hill, team large hill; men's and women's individual normal hill.|
|Snowboarding||Since 1998||8||Men's and women's parallel, half-pipe, snowboard cross, and slopestyle.|
|Speed skating||Since 1924||14||Men's and women's 500 m, 1000 m, 1500 m, 5000 m, mass start, team pursuit; women's 3000 m; men's 10,000 m.|
^ Note 1. Figure skating events were held at the 1908 and 1920 Summer Olympics.
^ Note 2. A men's ice hockey tournament was held at the 1920 Summer Olympics.
^ Note 3. The IOC's website now treats Men's Military Patrol at the 1924 Games as an event within the sport of Biathlon.[nb 2]
Demonstration sports have historically provided a venue for host countries to attract publicity to locally popular sports by having a competition without granting medals. Demonstration sports were discontinued after 1992. Military patrol, a precursor to the biathlon, was a medal sport in 1924 and was demonstrated in 1928, 1936 and 1948, becoming an official sport in 1960. The special figures figure skating event was only contested at the 1908 Summer Olympics. Bandy (Russian hockey) is a sport popular in the Nordic countries and Russia. In the latter it's considered a national sport. It was demonstrated at the Oslo Games. Ice stock sport, a German variant of curling, was demonstrated in 1936 in Germany and 1964 in Austria. The ski ballet event, later known as ski-acro, was demonstrated in 1988 and 1992. Skijöring, skiing behind dogs, was a demonstration sport in St. Moritz in 1928. A sled-dog race was held at Lake Placid in 1932. Speed skiing was demonstrated in Albertville at the 1992 Winter Olympics. Winter pentathlon, a variant of the modern pentathlon, was included as a demonstration event at the 1948 Games in Switzerland. It included cross-country skiing, shooting, downhill skiing, fencing and horse riding.
The table below uses official data provided by the IOC.
|2||United States (USA)||23||105||110||90||305|
|4||Soviet Union (URS)||9||78||57||59||194|
|13||East Germany (GDR)||6||39||36||35||110|
|15||South Korea (KOR)||18||31||25||14||70|
|18||West Germany (FRG)||6||11||15||13||39|
|19||Great Britain (GBR)||23||11||4||16||31|
|20||Czech Republic (CZE)||7||9||11||11||31|
|I||1924||Chamonix, France||Undersecretary Gaston Vidal||25 January – 5 February||16||258||247||11||6||9||16||Norway (NOR)|||
|II||1928||St. Moritz, Switzerland||President Edmund Schulthess||11–19 February||25||464||438||26||4||8||14||Norway (NOR)|||
|III||1932||Lake Placid, United States||Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt||4–15 February||17||252||231||21||4||7||14||United States (USA)|||
|IV||1936||Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany||Chancellor Adolf Hitler||6–16 February||28||646||566||80||4||8||17||Norway (NOR)|||
|1940||Awarded to Sapporo, Japan; cancelled because of World War II|
|1944||Awarded to Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy; cancelled because of World War II|
|V||1948||St. Moritz, Switzerland||President Enrico Celio||30 January – 8 February||28||669||592||77||4||9||22|| Norway (NOR)
|VI||1952||Oslo, Norway||Princess Ragnhild||14–25 February||30||694||585||109||4||8||22||Norway (NOR)|||
|VII||1956||Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy||President Giovanni Gronchi||26 January – 5 February||32||821||687||134||4||8||24||Soviet Union (URS)|||
|VIII||1960||Squaw Valley, United States||Vice President Richard Nixon||18–28 February||30||665||521||144||4||8||27||Soviet Union (URS)|||
|IX||1964||Innsbruck, Austria||President Adolf Schärf||29 January – 9 February||36||1091||892||199||6||10||34||Soviet Union (URS)|||
|X||1968||Grenoble, France||President Charles de Gaulle||6–18 February||37||1158||947||211||6||10||35||Norway (NOR)|||
|XI||1972||Sapporo, Japan||Emperor Hirohito||3–13 February||35||1006||801||205||6||10||35||Soviet Union (URS)|||
|XII||1976||Innsbruck, Austria||President Rudolf Kirchschläger||4–15 February||37||1123||892||231||6||10||37||Soviet Union (URS)|||
|XIII||1980||Lake Placid, United States||Vice President Walter Mondale||13–24 February||37||1072||840||232||6||10||38||Soviet Union (URS)|||
|XIV||1984||Sarajevo, Yugoslavia||President Mika Špiljak||8–19 February||49||1272||998||274||6||10||39||East Germany (GDR)|||
|XV||1988||Calgary, Canada||Governor General Jeanne Sauvé||13–28 February||57||1423||1122||301||6||10||46||Soviet Union (URS)|||
|XVI||1992||Albertville, France||President François Mitterrand||8–23 February||64||1801||1313||488||6||12||57||Germany (GER)|||
|XVII||1994||Lillehammer, Norway||King Harald V||12–27 February||67||1737||1215||522||6||12||61||Russia (RUS)|||
|XVIII||1998||Nagano, Japan||Emperor Akihito||7–22 February||72||2176||1389||787||7||14||68||Germany (GER)|||
|XIX||2002||Salt Lake City, United States||President George W. Bush||8–24 February||78||2399||1513||886||7||15||78||Norway (NOR)|||
|XX||2006||Turin, Italy||President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi||10–26 February||80||2508||1548||960||7||15||84||Germany (GER)|||
|XXI||2010||Vancouver, Canada||Governor General Michaëlle Jean||12–28 February||82||2566||1522||1044||7||15||86||Canada (CAN)|||
|XXII||2014||Sochi, Russia||President Vladimir Putin||7–23 February||88||2873||1714||1159||7||15||98||Russia (RUS)|||
|XXIII||2018||Pyeongchang, South Korea||President Moon Jae-in||9–25 February||92||2922||1680||1242||7||15||102||Norway (NOR)|||
|XXIV||2022||Beijing, China||President of the People's Republic of China (expected)||4–20 February||Future event||7||15||109|||
|XXV||2026||TBD||TBD||6-22 February||Future Event|
Unlike the Summer Olympics, the cancelled 1940 Winter Olympics and 1944 Winter Olympics are not included in the official Roman numeral counts for the Winter Games. While the official titles of the Summer Games count Olympiads, the titles of the Winter Games only count the Games themselves.
The 1924 Winter Olympics, officially known as the I Olympic Winter Games (French: Les Iers Jeux olympiques d'hiver), were a winter multi-sport event which was held in 1924 in Chamonix, France. Originally held in association with the 1924 Summer Olympics, the sports competitions were held at the foot of Mont Blanc in Chamonix, and Haute-Savoie, France between January 25 and February 5, 1924. The Games were organized by the French Olympic Committee, and were originally reckoned as the "International Winter Sports Week." With the success of the event, it was retroactively designated by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as the I Olympic Winter Games.
The tradition of holding the Winter Olympics in the same year as the Summer Olympics would continue until 1992, after which the current practice of holding a Winter Olympics in the second year after each Summer Olympics began.
Although Figure Skating had been an Olympic event in both London and Antwerp, and Ice Hockey had been an event in Antwerp, the winter sports had always been limited by the season. In 1921, at the convention of the IOC in Lausanne, there was a call for equality for winter sports, and after much discussion it was decided to organize an "international week of winter sport" in 1924 in Chamonix.1928 Winter Olympics
The 1928 Winter Olympics, officially known as the II Olympic Winter Games (French: Les IIes Jeux olympiques d'hiver; German: Olympische Winterspiele 1928; Italian: II Giochi olimpici invernali; Romansh: Gieus olimpics d'enviern 1928), were a winter multi-sport event which was celebrated February 11–19, 1928 in St. Moritz, Switzerland.
The 1928 Games were the first true Winter Olympics held on its own as they were not in conjunction with a Summer Olympics. The preceding 1924 Games were retroactively renamed the inaugural Winter Olympics, though they had been in fact part of the 1924 Summer Olympics. All preceding Winter Events of the Olympic Games were the winter sports part of the schedule of the Summer Games, and not held as a separate Winter Games. These games also replaced the now redundant Nordic Games, that were held quadrennially since early in the century.
Fluctuating weather conditions made these Olympics memorable. The opening ceremony was held in a blizzard. In contrast, warm weather conditions plagued the Olympics for the remainder of the Games, requiring cancellations of one event with temperatures as high as 25 °C (77 °F). (See further description at the Wikipedia main article on Winter Olympic Games.)1932 Winter Olympics
The 1932 Winter Olympics, officially known as the III Olympic Winter Games, were a winter multi-sport event in the United States, held in Lake Placid, New York. The games opened on February 4 and closed on February 15. It was the first of four Winter Olympics held in the United States; Lake Placid hosted again in 1980.
The games were awarded to Lake Placid in part by the efforts of Godfrey Dewey, head of the Lake Placid Club and son of Melvil Dewey, inventor of the Dewey Decimal System. California also had a bid for the 1932 Winter Games. William May Garland, president of the California X Olympiad Association, wanted the games to take place in Wrightwood and Big Pines, California. The world's largest ski jump at the time was constructed in Big Pines for the event, but the games were ultimately awarded to Lake Placid.1936 Winter Olympics
The 1936 Winter Olympics, officially known as the IV Olympic Winter Games (French: Les IVes Jeux olympiques d'hiver) (German: Olympische Winterspiele 1936), were a winter multi-sport event which was celebrated in 1936 in the market town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Bavaria, Germany. Germany also hosted that year's Summer Olympics in Berlin. 1936 is the last year in which the Summer and Winter Games were both held in the same country (the cancelled 1940 Games would have been held in Japan, with that country likewise hosting the Winter and Summer games).
The 1936 Winter Olympics were organized on behalf of the German League of the Reich for Physical Exercise (DRL) by Karl Ritter von Halt. Von Halt had been named President of the Committee for the organization of the Fourth Winter Olympics in Garmisch-Partenkirchen by Reichssportführer Hans von Tschammer und Osten.1948 Winter Olympics
The 1948 Winter Olympics, officially known as the V Olympic Winter Games (French: Les Ves Jeux olympiques d'hiver; German: Olympische Winterspiele 1948; Italian: V Giochi olimpici invernali; Romansh: Gieus olimpics d'enviern 1948), was a winter multi-sport event celebrated in 1948 in St. Moritz, Switzerland.
The Games were the first to be celebrated after World War II; it had been 12 years since the last Winter Games in 1936. From the selection of a host city in a neutral country to the exclusion of Japan and Germany, the political atmosphere of the post-war world was inescapable during the Games. The organizing committee faced several challenges due to the lack of financial and human resources consumed by the war. These were the first of two winter Olympic Games under the IOC presidency of Sigfrid Edström.
There were 28 nations that marched in the opening ceremonies on January 30, 1948. Nearly 670 athletes competed in 22 events in four sports. The Games also featured two demonstration sports: military patrol, which later became the biathlon, and winter pentathlon, which was discontinued after these Games. Notable performances were turned in by figure skaters Dick Button and Barbara Ann Scott and skier Henri Oreiller. Most of the athletic venues were already in existence from the first time St. Moritz hosted the Winter Games in 1928. All of the venues were outdoors, which meant the Games were heavily dependent on favorable weather conditions.1952 Winter Olympics
The 1952 Winter Olympics (Norwegian: Vinter-OL 1952), officially known as the VI Olympic Winter Games (French: Les VIes Jeux olympiques d'hiver), took place in Oslo, Norway, from 14 to 25 February 1952.
Discussions about Oslo hosting the Winter Olympic Games began as early as 1935; the city wanted to host the 1948 Games, but World War II made that impossible. Instead, Oslo won the right to host the 1952 Games in a contest that included Cortina d'Ampezzo in Italy and Lake Placid in the United States. All of the venues were in Oslo's metropolitan area except for the alpine skiing events, which were held at Norefjell, 113 km (70 mi) from the capital. A new hotel was built for the press and dignitaries, along with three dormitories to house athletes and coaches, creating the first modern athlete's village. The city of Oslo bore the financial burden of hosting the Games in return for the revenue they generated.
The Games attracted 694 athletes representing 30 countries, who participated in four sports and 22 events. Japan and Germany made their returns to winter Olympic competition, after being forced to miss the 1948 Games in the aftermath of World War II. Germany was represented solely by West German athletes because East Germany declined to compete as a unified team. Portugal and New Zealand made their Winter Olympic debuts, and for the first time women were allowed to compete in cross-country skiing.
Norwegian truck driver Hjalmar Andersen won three out of four speed skating events to become the most decorated athlete at the Games. Germany resumed its former prominence in bobsleigh, with wins in the four- and two-man events. Dick Button of the United States performed the first triple jump in international competition to claim his second consecutive men's figure skating Olympic title. The 1952 Games featured one demonstration sport, bandy, but only three Nordic countries competed in the tournament. Norway dominated the overall medal count with 16 medals, seven of them gold. The Games closed with the presentation of a flag that would be passed from one Winter Olympics host city to the next. The flag, which became known as the "Oslo flag", has been displayed in the host city during each subsequent Winter Games.1964 Winter Olympics
The 1964 Winter Olympics, officially known as the IX Olympic Winter Games (French: Les IXes Jeux olympiques d'hiver) (German: Olympische Winterspiele 1964), was a winter multi-sport event which was celebrated in Innsbruck, Austria, from January 29 to February 9, 1964. The Games included 1091 athletes from 36 nations, and the Olympic Torch was carried by Joseph Rieder, a former alpine skier who had participated in the 1956 Winter Olympics.
The Games were affected by the deaths of Australian alpine skier Ross Milne and British luge slider Kazimierz Kay-Skrzypeski, during training, and by the deaths, three years earlier, of the entire US figure skating team and family members.1972 Winter Olympics
The 1972 Winter Olympics, officially known as the XI Olympic Winter Games (Japanese: 第十一回オリンピック冬季競技大会, Dai Jūichi-kai Orinpikku Tōkikyōgi Taikai) (French: Les XIes Jeux olympiques d'hiver), were a winter multi-sport event which was held from February 3 to February 13, 1972, in Sapporo, Hokkaidō, Japan. It was the first Winter Olympics to be held outside Europe and North America, and only the third game (summer or winter) held outside those regions overall, after Melbourne (1956 Summer Olympics) and Tokyo (1964 Summer Olympics).1976 Winter Olympics
The 1976 Winter Olympics, officially known as the XII Olympic Winter Games (French: XIIes Jeux olympiques d'hiver, German: Olympische Winterspiele 1976), were a winter multi-sport event which was celebrated February 4–15, 1976 in Innsbruck, Austria. It was the second time the Tyrolean city hosted the Games, which were awarded to Innsbruck after Denver, the original host city, withdrew in 1972.1980 Winter Olympics
The 1980 Winter Olympics, officially known as the XIII Olympic Winter Games, was a multi-sport event which was celebrated from February 13, through February 24, 1980, in Lake Placid, New York, United States. This was the second time the Upstate New York village hosted the Games, after 1932. The only other candidate city to bid for the Games was Vancouver-Garibaldi, British Columbia, Canada, which withdrew before the final vote (though Vancouver would eventually win the bid to host the 2010 Winter Olympics.)
The mascot of the Games was "Roni", a raccoon. The mask-like rings on a raccoon's face recall the goggles and hats worn by many athletes in winter sports. The sports were played at the Olympic Center, Whiteface Mountain, Mt. Van Hoevenberg Olympic Bobsled Run, the Olympic Ski Jumps, the Cascade Cross Country Ski Center, and the Lake Placid High School Speed Skating Oval.1984 Winter Olympics
The 1984 Winter Olympics, officially known as the XIV Olympic Winter Games (French: XIVes Jeux olympiques d'hiver; Serbo-Croatian: XIV. zimske olimpijske igre / XIV Зимске олимпијске игре; Macedonian: XIV Зимски олимписки игри; Slovene: XIV olimpijske zimske igre), was a winter multi-sport event which took place from 8–19 February 1984 in Sarajevo, SFR Yugoslavia, in present-day Bosnia and Herzegovina. Other candidate cities were Sapporo, Japan; and Gothenburg, Sweden.
It was the first Winter Olympic Games held in a socialist state. It was also the second Olympics overall, as well as the second consecutive Olympics, to be held in a socialist country after the 1980 Summer Olympics were held in Moscow, Soviet Union. The only other games that have since been held in a socialist state are the 2008 Summer Olympics held in Beijing and 2014 Summer Youth Olympics in Nanjing, and the 2022 Winter Olympics which will be held in Beijing. All of these have been in China. The Sarajevo games have also been the only Olympics so far to be hosted by a Muslim-majority city. During the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, numerous newspapers drew attention to the Games' neglected venues as it was the 30th anniversary of the 1984 Winter Olympics.1992 Winter Olympics
The 1992 Winter Olympics, officially known as the XVI Olympic Winter Games (French: Les XVIes Jeux olympiques d'hiver), were a winter multi-sport event celebrated from 8 to 23 February 1992 in Albertville, France. They were the last Winter Olympics to be held the same year as the Summer Olympics, and the first where the Winter Paralympics were held at the same site. Albertville was selected as host in 1986, beating Sofia, Falun, Lillehammer, Cortina d'Ampezzo, Anchorage and Berchtesgaden. The games were the third Winter Olympics held in France, after Chamonix in 1924 and Grenoble in 1968, and the fifth Olympics overall in the country.
Only some of the skating and the opening and closing ceremonies took place in Albertville, while the rest of the events took place in the villages of Courchevel, La Plagne, Les Arcs, Les Menuires, Les Saisies, Méribel, Pralognan-la-Vanoise, Tignes and Val d'Isère. Sixty-four nations with 1,801 athletes participated in the games, including the Unified Team which represented non-Baltic former Soviet republics. Germany participated as a unified team, while five newly independent European countries debuted, as did six "warm-weather" countries. Short track speed skating, moguls and women's biathlon made their debut as an Olympic sport. The games were the last Winter Games until 2014 to have demonstration sports, consisting of curling, aerials, ski ballet and speed skiing. It was the last Olympics to have an outdoor speed skating rink. The games were succeeded by the 1992 Winter Paralympics from 25 March to 1 April.
Norwegians won every male cross-country skiing race, with Bjørn Dæhlie and Vegard Ulvang both collecting three gold. Ski jumper Toni Nieminen, 16, became the youngest male gold medalist of a Winter Olympic event. Petra Kronberger won both the combined event and the slalom, while Bonnie Blair won both the 500 m and 1000 m speed skating events and Gunda Niemann took both of the longest races. Kim Kihoon earned gold medals in both men's short track events. Ye Qiaobo of China won the country's first medal in the Winter Olympics, a silver in women's 500 metres speed skating. Annelise Coberger of New Zealand won the southern hemisphere's first Winter Olympic medal—a silver in the women's slalom. Nicolas Bochatay was killed during a training session. Germany won the most medals and the most gold.1998 Winter Olympics
The 1998 Winter Olympics, officially the XVIII Olympic Winter Games (French: Les XVIIIes Jeux olympiques d'hiver) (Japanese: 第十八回オリンピック冬季競技大会, Dai Jūhachi-kai Orinpikku Tōkikyōgi Taikai), and commonly known as Nagano 1998, was a winter multi-sport event celebrated from 7 to 22 February 1998 that were centered in Nagano, Japan. The Games also took place in the nearby mountain communities of Hakuba, Karuizawa, Nozawa Onsen, and Yamanouuchi. The city of Nagano had previously been a candidate to host the 1940 Winter Olympics (which were later cancelled), as well as the 1972 Winter Olympics, but each time Nagano was eliminated at the national level by Sapporo.
The games hosted 2,176 athletes from 72 nations competing in 7 sports and 68 events. The number of athletes and participating nations were a record at the time. The Games saw the introduction of women's ice hockey, curling and snowboarding. National Hockey League players were allowed to participate in the men's ice hockey for the first time. Five countries, Azerbaijan, Kenya, Macedonia, Uruguay, and Venezuela made their debut at the Winter Olympics.
The athlete who won the most medals at these games was the Russian cross-country skier Larisa Lazutina who won five medals, including three gold. The Norwegian cross-country skier Bjørn Dæhlie won four medals, including three gold, which took his total Olympic medal total to 12, including eight gold, which is a record for Winter Olympics. In ice hockey, professionals from the North American National Hockey League participated for the first time. Despite their participation, the Czech men's ice hockey team won the gold medal. In Ski Jumping, Kazuyoshi Funaki won two gold medals and one silver for host Japan. The American Figure skater Tara Lipinski became the youngest champion in Olympic history at the age of 15 years and 255 days. Germany dominated the medal table with 29 medals, including 12 gold. Germany was followed by Norway and Russia, who won 25 and 18 medals respectively. Canada, which finished fourth in the medal table with 15 medals, including six gold, had its most successful Winter Olympics up until that point.
The host was selected on June 15, 1991, over Salt Lake City, Östersund, Jaca and Aosta. They were the third Olympic Games and second Winter Olympics to be held in Japan, after the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo and the 1972 Winter Olympics in Sapporo. The games were succeeded by the 1998 Winter Paralympics from 5 to 14 March. These were the final Winter Olympic Games under the IOC Presidency of Juan Antonio Samaranch.
The hosting of the games improved transportation networks with the construction of the high-speed Shinkansen, the Nagano Shinkansen, now the Hokuriku Shinkansen, between Takasaki and Nagano. In addition, upgrades and new highways were built, including the Nagano Expressway and the Jōshin-etsu Expressway.2002 Winter Olympics
The 2002 Winter Olympics, officially the XIX Olympic Winter Games and commonly known as Salt Lake 2002, was a winter multi-sport event that was celebrated from 8 to 24 February 2002 in and around Salt Lake City, Utah, United States.
2,399 athletes from 78 nations participated in 78 events in fifteen disciplines, held throughout 165 sporting sessions. The 2002 Winter Olympics and the 2002 Paralympic Games were both organized by the Salt Lake Organizing Committee (SLOC), the first time in Olympic and Paralympic history that both events were organized by a single committee. Utah became the fifth state in the United States to host the Olympic Games and the 2002 Winter Olympics were the last Olympics to be held in the United States until the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. These were the first Olympic Games under the IOC presidency of Jacques Rogge.
The opening ceremony was held on February 8, 2002, and sporting competitions were held up until the closing ceremony on February 24, 2002. Production for both ceremonies was designed by Seven Nielsen, and music for both ceremonies was directed by Mark Watters. Salt Lake City became the most populous area ever to have hosted the Winter Olympics, although the two subsequent host cities' populations were larger. Following a trend, the 2002 Olympic Winter Games were also larger than all prior Winter Games, with 10 more events than the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan. Norway won the most gold medals while Germany won the most number of medals.The Salt Lake Games faced a bribery scandal and some local opposition during the bid. Nevertheless, from sporting and business standpoints, this was one of the most successful Winter Olympiads in history; records were set in both the broadcasting and marketing programs. Over 2 billion viewers watched more than 13 billion viewer-hours. The Games were also financially successful raising more money with fewer sponsors than any prior Olympic Games, which left SLOC with a surplus of $40 million. The surplus was used to create the Utah Athletic Foundation, which maintains and operates many of the remaining Olympic venues.2006 Winter Olympics
The 2006 Winter Olympics, officially known as the XX Olympic Winter Games (Italian: XX Giochi olimpici invernali) and commonly known as Turin 2006 or Torino 2006, was a winter multi-sport event which was held in Turin, Piedmont, Italy from February 10 to 26, 2006. This marked the second time that Italy had hosted the Winter Olympic Games, the first being the 1956 Winter Olympics in Cortina d'Ampezzo. Italy also hosted the Summer Olympics in 1960 in Rome. Turin was selected as the host city for the 2006 Games in June 1999.
The official motto of the XX Olympic Winter Games was "Passion lives here". The official logo depicts a stylized profile of the Mole Antonelliana building, drawn in white and blue ice crystals, signifying the snow and the sky. The crystal web was also meant to portray the web of new technologies and the Olympic spirit of community. The Olympic mascots of the Games were Neve ("snow" in Italian), a female snowball, and Gliz, a male ice cube.2010 Winter Olympics
The 2010 Winter Olympics, officially known as the XXI Olympic Winter Games (French: Les XXIes Jeux olympiques d'hiver) and commonly known as Vancouver 2010, informally the 21st Winter Olympics, was an international winter multi-sport event that was held from 12 to 28 February 2010 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, with some events held in the surrounding suburbs of Richmond, West Vancouver and the University Endowment Lands, and in the nearby resort town of Whistler.
Approximately 2,600 athletes from 82 nations participated in 86 events in fifteen disciplines. Both the Olympic and Paralympic Games were organized by the Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC), headed by John Furlong. The 2010 Winter Olympics were the third Olympics hosted by Canada and the first by the province of British Columbia. Canada hosted the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, Quebec, and the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Alberta. Metro Vancouver is the largest metropolitan area to host the Winter Olympics, although Calgary is the largest city to host the Winter Olympics. They will both be surpassed by Beijing in 2022.
Following Olympic tradition, the incumbent mayor of Vancouver Sam Sullivan received the Olympic flag during the closing ceremony of the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy. The flag was raised on February 28, 2006, in a special ceremony and was on display at Vancouver City Hall until the Olympic opening ceremony. The event was officially opened by Governor General Michaëlle Jean, who was accompanied by the Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge.For the first time, Canada won gold in an official sport at an Olympic Games hosted at home, having failed to do so at both the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal and the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary (although Canada won the woman's curling event in Calgary when it was still only a demonstration sport). Canada clinched their first gold medal on the second day of the competition and first topped the gold medal tally on the second to last day of competition and went on to become the first host nation since Norway in 1952 to lead the gold medal count. With 14, Canada broke the record for the most gold medals won at a single Winter Olympics, which was 13, set by the Soviet Union in 1976 and Norway in 2002. The United States won the most medals in total, their second time doing so at the Winter Olympics, and broke the record for the most medals won at a single Winter Olympics with 37, a record held up to then by Germany in 2002 with 36 medals. Athletes from Slovakia and Belarus won the first Winter Olympic gold medals for their nations.2014 Winter Olympics
The 2014 Winter Olympics, officially called the XXII Olympic Winter Games (French: Les XXIIes Jeux olympiques d'hiver) (Russian: XXII Олимпийские зимние игры, tr. XXII Olimpiyskiye zimniye igry) and commonly known as Sochi 2014, was an international winter multi-sport event that was held from 7 to 23 February 2014 in Sochi, Krasnodar Krai, Russia, with opening rounds in certain events held on the eve of the opening ceremony, 6 February 2014.
Both the Olympics and 2014 Winter Paralympics were organized by the Sochi Organizing Committee (SOOC). Sochi was selected as the host city in July 2007, during the 119th IOC Session held in Guatemala City. It was the first Olympics to be held in a CIS state since the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991. The Soviet Union was previously the host nation for the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow. These were the first Olympic Games under the International Olympic Committee (IOC) presidency of Thomas Bach.
A record 98 events in fifteen winter sport disciplines were held during the Games. A number of new competitions—a total of twelve accounting for gender—were held during the Games, including biathlon mixed relay, women's ski jumping, mixed-team figure skating, mixed-team luge, half-pipe skiing, ski and snowboard slopestyle, and snowboard parallel slalom. The events were held around two clusters of new venues: an Olympic Park constructed in Sochi's Imeretinsky Valley on the coast of the Black Sea, with Fisht Olympic Stadium, and the Games' indoor venues located within walking distance, and snow events in the resort settlement of Krasnaya Polyana.
The 2014 Winter Olympics were the most expensive Games in the history of the Olympics. While originally budgeted at US$12 billion, major cost overruns, alleged to have been the result of corruption, caused this figure to expand to US$51 billion, more than three times the cost of the 2012 London Olympics and even surpassing the estimated $44 billion cost of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. The 2014 Games achieved a record broadcast audience of 2.1 billion people worldwide.In 2016, an independent report commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency confirmed allegations that the Russian Olympic team had been involved in a state-sponsored doping program, active from at least late-2011 through August 2015. The program was active during the Winter Olympics in Sochi, and athletes had benefited from the cover-up. The IOC stripped thirteen medals from Russian athletes in 2017, but nine were reinstated by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. In December 2017, the IOC voted to suspend the Russian Olympic Committee, with an option for whitelisted athletes to compete independently during the 2018 Winter Olympics.2022 Winter Olympics
The 2022 Winter Olympics, officially known as the XXIV Olympic Winter Games (French: Les XXIVèmes Jeux olympiques d'hiver; Chinese: 第二十四届冬季奥林匹克运动会; pinyin: Dì Èrshísì Jiè Dōngjì Àolínpǐkè Yùndònghuì), and commonly known as Beijing 2022, is an international winter multi-sport event that is scheduled to take place from 4 to 20 February 2022, in Beijing and towns in the neighbouring Hebei province, China.Beijing was elected as the host city in July 2015 at the 128th IOC Session in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. These Games will be the first Winter Olympics ever to be held in China, the fourth Winter Olympics held in East Asia, and the last of three consecutive Olympics to be held in East Asia, following the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, and the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. With its previous hosting of the 2008 Summer Olympics, Beijing will be the first city to have ever hosted both the Summer and Winter Olympics: there are plans to utilize many of the same venues that were used for the 2008 Games, including its indoor venues, and Beijing National Stadium as ceremonies venue.Figure skating at the 1994 Winter Olympics
The 1994 Winter Olympics figure skating competition was held at the Hamar Olympic Amphitheatre.
Nations that have competed at the Olympic Games
|Jeu de paume|
|Tug of war|
|Short track speed skating|
Winter Olympic Games host cities