A Quick Breakdown of the Winter Olympics

Posted by on in Travel

I. The Winter Olympics

From the very first Winter Olympic Games in 1924 to now, the world has gathered around to compete in friendly rivalries over ice and snow. A lot of incredible moments have been imprinted in Olympic history through the years, and we can only imagine what’s in store for the 2014 Sochi Games this year.

A Brief History

First held in 1924 in Chamonix, France, the Winter Olympics are centuries younger than the summer games, but they’ve quickly carved out a niche in Olympic lore. During the first Winter Olympic Games, athletes from only 16 countries competed in alpine and cross-country skiing, figure skating, ice hockey, Nordic combined, ski jumping, and speed skating. Up until World War II, the winter and summer games were held on the same year. When the war started, they were put on hold until 1948, where both winter and summer games took place in the same year, every four years. In 1988, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) made a decision to alternate the winter and summer games, so that one would take place every two years. 1992 was the last year that both games were on the same year—the winter games jumped forward two years and resumed in 1994, and have been carrying on since.

Important Moments through the Years

Aside from the birth of the Winter Sports—Norway taking home a substantially higher amount of medals than any of its 16 rival nations—the Winter Olympics have maintained a high level of excitement each time the torch is passed around.

  • 1932: Canadian Emile St. Godard takes home the only gold medal ever offered for Dog Sled Racing, beating out American Leonard Seppala by seven seconds.
  • 1968: The United States takes home its only gold medal that year with Peggy Fleming’s ice-skating routine.
  • 1980: United States bests the Soviet Union in hockey, which was the first time the Soviet Union lost a world or Olympic tournament since 1954. The huge upset inspired the film Miracle on Ice. The United States went on to beat Finland to take the gold.
  • 1988: Jamaica sends a bobsled team to the games in Calgary. Although rather unexpected (a bobsled team from Jamaica?), the team did quite well and instantly became fan favorites. Though they did not finish the race due to a sled crash, they famously walked the rest of the track to cross the finish line. The true events are loosely adapted in the film Cool Runnings.

II. 2014 Sochi Olympic Games

How It All Came Together

Russia beat out Austria and South Korea in 2007 when the IOC elected Sochi to hold the 2014 Olympic Games. Russia is an enormous country, and Sochi offers a great landscape for the large number of events in the Winter Games. Since 2007, Sochi has been hard at work with their planning and construction in order to be prepared for the influx of visitors and media attention. With over seven years of development, they’re finally ready to get things under way in February.

Overcoming the Lack of Snow

Unlike most years, 2014 has proven to be a little lackluster when it comes to the grandiose amounts of snow that typically sticks to the mountains. Without any snowmakers on the mountains, Russia has been making fake snow and storing it in warehouses all over the country in case the little amount of snow they have isn’t enough. It should make for interesting competition as the feel of fake snow often differs from the real thing.

Get Tickets Now!

There is still an incredible abundance of unsold tickets, so now is the time to make that last-minute decision for the experience of a lifetime! Click here for more information on how you can get tickets to the Winter Olympic Games.


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