Winter Olympics History: Origins, I, II, & III

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.

Winter Sports in the Olympic context actually debuted at the 1920 Summer Olympics, hosted by Belgium in Antwerp in Belgium. Ice Hockey was contested there, with Canada taking gold and the United States winning silver. Figure skating also took place there.

The very first Winter Olympics were hosted by France in the city of Chamonix, and included events that are staples of the games to this day such as speed skating, bobsleigh, figure skating, and cross-country skiing. An American actually won the very first Winter Olympics medal, in the 500m Speed Skating event. There were also some very lopsided ice hockey games, with Canada beating Switzerland 33 to 0 in one game, and the United States defeating France 22 to 0 in another.

The second Winter Games were hosted by Switzerland, in the city of Saint Moritz. The sport of skijoring was a demonstration sport in these Olympics, in which a person on skis is pulled by animals. This sport was never contested again. Skeleton was added the program in the 1928 games. The Hockey games were more even in this games, with the biggest win going to Canada over Great Britain by a score of 14 to 0.

The first Winter Olympics to hosted by the United States were held in Lake Placid, New York in 1932. These games would also be the only to date where the team from the United States won the overall medal count. Sled Dog Racing was contested as a demonstration event in these games, with a Canada racer beating a US racer in the end.

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