Winter Olympic Games

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 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), Yugoslavia (1984), Russia (2014), and South Korea (2018). The IOC has selected Beijing, China, to host the 2022 Winter Olympics and the Italian cities of Milan and Cortina d'Ampezzo to host the 2026 Winter Olympics.[6] 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.

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. Norway leads the all-time Olympic Games medal table for Winter Olympic Games. When including defunct states, Germany (including the former countries of West Germany and East Germany) leads, followed by Norway, Russia (including the former Soviet Union), and the United States.

  1. ^ "Jeux Olympiques – Programme, médailles, résultats et actualités". 19 July 2018.
  2. ^ "Biathlon Results - Chamonix 1924". International Olympic Committee. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
  3. ^ "Olympic Games Medals, Chamonix 1924". International Olympic Committee. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
  4. ^ Official Report (1924), p 646: Le Programme ... II. — Epreuves par équipes - 12. Ski : Course militaire (20 à 30 kilomètres, avec tir). (The Programme ... II. — Team events - 12. Skiing : Military Race (20 to 30 kilometres, with shooting)).
  5. ^ Official Report (1924), p 664: CONCOURS DE SKI - Jurys - COURSE MILITAIRE. (Skiing Competitions - Juries - Military Race)
  6. ^ "Winter Olympics: Italy's Milan-Cortina bid chosen as host for the 2026 Games". BBC. 24 June 2019.


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