THE HISTORY OF THE WINTER OLYMPICS

The Olympics have a very long history that can be traced back to Ancient times. We have always been fascinated by this kind of competition, as it gathers the best athletes from all around the world. It is also probably the best-known sports competition on the planet and manages to gather millions of viewers every year. The Winter Olympics are a bit younger than the Summer Olympics which we all know. The need for this kind of competition arose from the diversity of winter sports that were neglected in the Summer Olympics for objective reasons, such as lack of suitable weather. Like its older sibling, the Winter Olympics managed to gain more and more popularity and become the staple competition for winter sports. But its history was much more tumultuous than the one of the Summer Olympics.

Winter Olympics

The first known Winter Olympics took place in 1924 in Chamonix, France. It was named in a different way and only a few years later a specialized committee decided to consider this competition as the first edition of the Winter Olympics. It had participants from 16 countries and had 16 different sports events. The games were very popular in the sports community, and this is the main reason why the IOC decided to christen this new competition as Winter Olympics.

The idea of a Winter event dedicated to sports first came at the beginning of the 20th century, but it was delayed by Sweden that had a similar event for the Nordic countries. Many experts believed that such an event was not necessary and that many countries didn’t have athletes who could take part in the winter sports. The Swedish winter games were held every four years from 1901 until 1926.

International Organizing Committee

The idea came to the International Organizing Committee of the 1916 Summer Games to organize a similar event for the winter sports, but it had to be postponed because of the outbreak of the First World War. The opposition of the Scandinavia was very strong because this new competition would have put their sports event into shadow. After the competition in Chamonix where the Nordic countries won 28 of the 43 medals, they finally agreed with this new competition. It was decided that it would also take place every four years, just like the Summer Games. The tradition was to hold these sports events a few months earlier than the Summer Olympics and in a different location. In 1994 it was decided to move the competition 2 years from the Summer Olympics in order to help countries prepare their athletes and locations better.

The quality of the athletes grew immensely over time and the dedication of the countries regarding this event was never been stronger before. It is well known that the Summer Olympics are a huge economic burden for the host countries and the Winter Olympics soon reached such a level of popularity that the countries had to build a new Olympic city for the event. We see more and more diversity in the Winter Olympics and its popularity will never fade away.