Founded by General Viktar Gustaf Balak, every four to five years, a multi-sporting event takes place on ice and snow. This event is the Winter Olympics. In 1901, five years after the first modern Olympics began, winter sports were introduced. It was held eight times and was mainly dominated by athletes from Nordic countries. Referred to as Nordic Games, Winter Sports were first held in Stockholm, Sweden between 1901 and 1906. Then, only Scandinavian countries were allowed to compete.
Introduction of Various Disciplines
Figure skating was first incorporated as a sporting event in the Summer Games in 1908. Winter Sports, however, stalled in 1914 after the Olympic Games to be held in Berlin were canceled due to the outbreak of World War 1. Following protests by Nordic Countries, the winter sports figure skating and hockey made a comeback in the Olympic Games in Antwerp, Belgium in 1920.
Powered by the IOC, the first ever Winter Sports event, International Winter Sports Week, was held in Chamonix, France in 1924. In 1928, the second Winter Olympics were staged as a separate event in Moritz, Switzerland. The next games were held in Lake Placid in the United States in 1932. Only 17 nations took part. In 1936, the Olympian flame was first lit in the games held in the towns of Garmisch and Partenkirchen in Germany.
Yet again, the Games had to be canceled due to war: World War II in 1940. Japan invaded China while Germany invaded Poland. This rendered Japan and Germany not viable to host the games, forcing the event to be canceled altogether. In 1944, the Games were to be held in Italy, but the war was still ongoing, hence, they were canceled again.
The Winter Games resumed in the 1950s, in Oslo, Norway. 94 participants lit the Olympian Flame for the first time in this edition in 1952.
The Soviet Union joined the games in 1956, the same year in which the Winter Olympics in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy was televised. In this edition, the Soviet Union took home the most medals. In 1960, the games took place in Squaw Valley in the United States. This was the maiden event that saw the entry of corporate sponsorships and the tabulation of results via a computer.
In 1972, marred by conflict and controversy, the Games took place in Asia, in Sapporo, Japan. In protest against IOC regulations, Canada has boycotted the ice hockey tournaments in 1972 and 1976. Another boycott was staged by the Taiwan National team in the 1980 Winter Olympics.
The first Winter Games separate from the Summer Olympics were held in Lillehammer, Norway in 1994. Over 2000 athletes were first hosted in the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan. Snowboarding was first incorporated in this event.
Despite the security scare after the 9/11 terrorist attack, the Winter Olympics were held in Salt Lake City, Utah under tight security. Popularly known as the Torino 2006, the 2006 games were held in Turin, Italy.
Marked as being the most memorable, the 2010 Winter Olympics took place in Vancouver, Canada. With the recession and global warming looming, this was considered the most terrible Olympics ever.
Cited as the most expensive Olympic event in history, Sochi, Russia hosted the 2014 Winter Olympics. Over $51 billion was spent on this edition.
The last Winter Olympics was hosted by Pyeongchang, South Korea in 2018. The next Winter Olympics are scheduled to take place in Beijing in February 2022.