5 Things You May Not Know About The Winter Olympics

On January 25, 1924, the first Winter Olympic Games took place at Chamonix in the French Alps. Here are five interesting facts you probably didn't know about the Winter Olympics...

ADVERTISEMENT

Figure Skating And Ice Hockey Were Originally Part Of The Summer Olympics Two of the most popular sports on ice actually made their Olympic debuts during the Summer Games. That said, the Summer Olympics took place over a much longer period of time than they do nowadays, so these two particular sports actually were scheduled in the latter months of the year. Figure skating first took place at the London Summer Games in October 1908, then returned to the tournament along with hockey in April 1920 in Antwerp.  Both sports shifted to the Winter Olympics when they debuted in 1924.

A Lack Of Snow Required Military Intervention In 1964 Certain sports in the Winter Games require snow and ice. Unfortunately, there was a lack of snow back in the 1964 Games held in Sochi, Russia. To deal with the absence of snow, the Austrian army was called in to transfer over 50,000 cubic yards of snow from other nearby mountains to the ski courses of Innsbruck, along with 20,000 ice blocks for the bobsled and luge tracks. The soldiers worked tirelessly to not only bring the in ice and snow to Sochi, but also packed it down with their hands and feet.

ADVERTISEMENT

It Took 82 Years For A British Curling Team To Receive Gold Medals At the inaugural Winter Olympic Games, Great Britain took the top spot it the curling event.  Curling did not return to the official program of the Winter Games until 1998. For decades, curling was considered to have been a demonstration sport at the 1924 Winter Olympics. However, in 2006 the International Olympic Committee ruled that the sport had indeed been part of the official program, and it upgraded the curling team’s gold medals from demonstration to official status.

Norway Has More Winter Olympic Gold Medals Than Any Other Nation Despite its small population of just five million people, Norway has won more gold medals in the Winter Olympics than any other country.  a total of 368 medals since the first Winter Olympics in 1924 – this tally includes 132 gold medals, 125 silver, and 111 bronze.  Furthermore, Norway is one of only three countries—the other two being Liechtenstein and Austria—that has taken home more Olympic medals in the Winter Games than the Summer Games.

Two Men’s Hockey Teams From The United States Arrived At The 1948 Games Two men’s hockey teams from the United States arrived at the 1948 Games. Talk about awkward. Two teams, backed by rival hockey associations, arrived at the 1948 St. Moritz Winter Games claiming they were the rightful squad to compete for the United States. The team backed by the American Hockey Association, which included professionals, was ultimately recognized as the official American team, while the strictly amateur squad sponsored by the Amateur Athletic Union and the United States Olympic Committee sat on the sidelines and even booed their compatriots from the stands.