Winter Olympics History: XII, XIII, XIV, XV, & XVI

By: Sean Sporman
By: Sean Sporman

The 22nd Winter Olympic Games continue in Sochi, Russia this week, and each day News 4 This Morning will be taking a look back at the Winter Olympiads of the past, leading up to Sochi.

The 1976 Winter Olympic Games were originally awarded to Denver, Colorado. However, a vote was made prohibiting the use of public funds for the games, so they went to Innsbruck in Austria, which had hosted the games just twelve years earlier. For the second time in a row, Canada sent no hockey team. Two communist nations dominated the medal count in East Germany and the Soviet Union, with the United States coming in third. Ice dancing in figure skating made its debut in these games.

The Winter Olympics would return to the United States in the 1980 Lake Placid games. The most well known event of these games is the Ice Hockey game between the United States and Soviet Union, now called the “Miracle on Ice,” where the US defeated the heavily favored Soviets 4 to 3. Aside from that, American Speed Skater Eric Heiden won a staggering five gold medals in speed skating.

The 1984 Winter Olympic Games were held in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia—in what is now Bosnia. The United States came in third in the overall medal count in these games. Disabled skiing for amputees was competed as a demonstration sport.

In 1988, Winter Sports haven Canada hosted the Winter Games for the first time in Calgary. Several sports that would be added later were done as demonstration events including curling, freestyle skiing and short track speed skating. The Jamaican Bobsled Team made its debut in these games, and although they crashed, were cheered on and later inspired the film Cool Runnings. Despite being the host nation, Canada won no gold medals during the Calgary games.

The 1992 Winter Olympic Games hosted by France in Albertville would be the last time that Winter and Summer Olympics took place on the same year. Beyond that, they would be staggered every two years. Several new events made their debut at these games, including women's biathlon and short track speed skating. Several US stars made their impact on these games including speed skater Bonnie Blair and figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi. These would also be the last winter olympics to stage demonstration sports, which included speed skiing and ski ballet.

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