In honour of the Winter Olympics 2018, we’ve taken a look back at the first time the competition was held back in 1924.
Chamonix Winter Olympics
Soon after the first modern Olympic games in 1896 the International Olympic Committee proposed a separate winter competition, and if it wasn’t for the break out of World War I, this event would have been held in Germany in 1916.
As fate would have it the committee set their sights on Chamonix eight years later; from January 25th to February 5th 1924 Chamonix Mont Blanc was host to the world’s first Winter Olympic event.
16 countries participated with 300 athletes – 11 of whom were women including Sonja Henie who went on from last place (age 11) at the Figure Skating event to become one of the most decorated figure skaters in history (3 times Olympic champion and 10 times champion of the world). She even conquered Hollywood and influenced fashion on the ice!
The Chamonix Winter Olympic games, which were then titled “The International Winter Sports Meet”, were a big success in spreading the popularity of Alpine skiing and the spectacular ski jump event. The Olympic Committee then built on the success of the games announcing a regular event one year later, and retroactively considering the first official Winter Olympic event that of Chamonix the year prior.
Fun fact: The 1924 “International Winter Sports Meet” was held in the same year as the summer games in Paris; a trend which continued until 1994. Today the winter and summer events are staggered 2 years apart.
See our previous blog on the 90th Anniversary of the Winter Olympics from 2014.
Winter Olympics 2018 in Pyeongchang
The Winter Olympics 2018 have added four new events, including (the crazy) big air snowboarding, curling mixed doubles, two men and two women making up a national team for a new Alpine skiing event and “mass start” speed skating (think roller derby in Lycra on ice!).
To watch the event in Chamonix don’t forget we have an 8 hour time difference from the games which are in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Proud Chamonix also has five locals competing; Blaise Giezendanner – Alpine Skiing, Damien Tarantola – Cross-country skiing, Vincent Descombes Sevoie – Ski Jumping, François Braud – Nordic Combined and Merlin Surget – Snowboard Cross.
Tune into 18-year-old Merlin’s progress on Thursday February 15th at 2am for the Snowboard Cross qualifiers, and 5.30am for the finals, should he make it!
Support Great Britain and watch history at the first Snowboard BIG AIR events!