Ultimate Winter Olympic Games Guide: All You Need to Know
The Winter Olympics is just around the corner, and the buzz among the fans and athletes is just growing louder and louder. Considered the pinnacle of winter sports, the Winter Olympics is one such event that brings together the best of athletes from around the world and makes them compete in a variety of contests on ice and snow. As we are waiting for the Winter Olympic Games to come around here, here is everything you need to know about the Winter Olympics and the games involved.
History of the Winter Olympics:
It was in 1924 that the first Winter Olympics games were held in Chamonix, France, in the history of the Winter Olympics, with about 250 athletes participating in the game and nearly 16 countries competing in about 16 events. Women were, however, only allowed to participate in figure skating, and there were only 11 who had competed in the same, according to the history of the Winter Olympics. Other Winter Olympic Games events that were held included cross-country skiing, bobsled, curling, hockey, Nordic combined, speed skating, and ski jumping. Winter sports were initially a part of the Summer Olympics in 1908 London Olympics, which later in 1924 went on to be a part of the Winter Olympics according to the history of the Winter Olympics. The event was initially called the Winter Sports Week, which was a grand success, with about 10,000 people paying the admission. This led the International Olympic Committee to rename it the first Olympic Winter Games in 1926.
Winter Olympic Sports List:
The Winter Olympics is the premier competition for sports which are played on ice and snow. It is held every four years and consists of multiple people from around the globe participating. Some of the famous games include figure skating, ice hockey, skiing, and ice skating. Here is the Winter Olympic sports list, which mentions all the notable games played during the Winter Olympic Games.
Skiing has quite a history in the games of the Winter Olympic sports list. The birth of downhill skiing was often dated back to the 1850s. Some of the Ski fragments have also been dated back to the 8000 – 7000 BC and have been an integral part of cold countries for centuries. Skiing has now changed from a method of transportation to a sporting activity. The first non-military competitions were held in the 1840s in both northern and central Norway.
In cross-country skiing, the athletes tend to compete in long-distance races in the snow while wearing skis and using ski poles to propel through the terrain. It has been on the Winter Olympic sports list since the 1924 Winter Olympics program, which was held in Chamonix. However, the women's events were not held until 1952. In the classical cross-country skiing technique, athletes tend to use the diagonal stride in which both skis tend to stay parallel to each other. The freestyle, where athletes tend to push the ski backwards and outward at 45 45-degree angle, is much faster than the classical style.
Taking it to the next level is the biathlon Winter Olympic Games, which consists of both cross-country skiing and shuffling shooting rifles at target. There are too many misses, and the skiers must take another penalty lap. Biathlon has its roots in survival skills practiced in the snow-covered forests of Scandinavia, where people used to hunt on skis with rifles hung over their shoulders.
Ski Jumping has been a part of the Winter Olympic sports list since it was first held in 1924. The hefty hill competition was added to the program during the 1964 games in Games in Innsbruck. Ski jumping was just an event held for men up until the year 2014. In 1988, the game included a team jumping event. Finnish ski jumper Janne Ahonen competed in his seventh Olympic Games in 2018 at around 40 years old.
Figure skating was included in the 1908 Summer Olympics in London and the 1920 Olympics in Antwerp before the introduction of the Winter Olympics. It has also been a part of all the programs of the official Winter Olympic Games. The history of the Winter Olympic figure skating can be dated back to the 1908 Summer Games, where only men participated. The five events that were held were Men's singles, Ladies' singles and pairs, and mixed team events along with Ice dancing.
Ice hockey debuted in 1920 during the Summer Olympics in Antwerp. Four years later, it is now known as the first Winter Olympics game, which was held. A women's ice hockey event was however added later in the year 1998 Winter Olympics games in Nagano. It was also the first time that ice hockey was opened to professionals. There are two categories where gold medals can be grabbed: men's and women's sections of the game.
Curling is a winter sports game that is played with two or four teams on a rectangular spread of ice with large and heavy polished granite stones. The teams take turns while sliding the stones down the ice towards the target, which is aimed at. Two of the sweepers with the broom also accompany each stone to direct them. The aim is to get the stone to stop in the house, which is also called the target at the end of the end of the track. The team with the most points at the end wins the game, where each point is provided to the team with the stone closest to the target.
Snowboarding was first introduced to the Winter Olympics Games in 1998 during the game held in Nagano and has since then become one of the most famous sports with the most spectators.
There are four categories of snowboarding and can be provided as follows:
- Parallel Giant Slalom: Riders need to go downhill while passing through a series of gates
- Snowboard cross: A group of snowboarders race down a course of snow.
- Slopestyle: In slopestyle, the main aim is to perform one of the most difficult tricks while getting the highest altitude jumps. The emphasis is to be able to perform different sorts of tricks instead of doing a single trick repeatedly.
- Big Air: The snowboard competitor tends to show off certain tricks while launching off huge jumps, which is an extreme version of slopestyle.
Speed skating refers to skating on long tracks and has a long history at the Olympics. Speed skating has been one of the games since the year 1924. Women's events, however, were added in the year 1960. Speed skating events are held on an ice 400 m oval track. The races were held as time trials, while the skates started as pairs. The skaters begin in the inner curve and then shift onto the outer curve during each lap.
Winter Olympics countries:
As of 2022, there have been about 12 Winter Olympics countries that have been active participants in the Winter Olympics Games, and the list of Winter Olympics countries that have participated in the past years can be provided as follows:
- Great Britain
- United States
Six of the above-mentioned Winter Olympics countries have also won medals in all the Winter Olympics games held every year. The only country, however, to win gold medals at all Winter Olympics games would be the United States. Norway leads the all-time Olympic Games medal table for the Winter Games. Snow has a central role in selecting these countries. Not just the country but also the field in which the sports are played are also highly dependent on the snow. However, with recent inventions, there is more and more artificial snow taking up the position, which makes it possible to conduct Winter Olympic games in various parts of the world.
Winter Olympics Traditions:
The Olympic torches are a central part of the traditions followed at the Winter Olympics games. It was in 1936 that the chairman of the organizing committee for the Olympic games, Carl Diem, suggested what is now called the Olympic Torch Relay. The flame was kindled in Olympia, which is the ancient home of the Olympics, and then they relayed it first in Greece and then transported it all the way to Berlin with a torch relay. The lighting of the flame of a cauldron in the Olympic Stadium also became a highlight of the opening ceremony when it was first done in 1936, and this tradition has been prevalent since then. Each Olympic game committee had a unique design for the torches used in the relays.
Notable Winter Olympians:
American speed skating stars included Bonnie Blair, who had competed at the 1984, 1988, 1992, and 1994 games. She also became one of the only female speed skaters to win the same event in three successive Winter Olympics games. Eric Heiden won about five of his men's speed skating races in 1980, which set 4 Olympic records and a world record. Another speed skater, Dan Jansen, placed fourth at the 1984 Games, suffered two injuries during a fall in the 1988 Olympics after he learned about his sister's death and failed to gain a medal in 1992. However, he redeemed himself in 1994 by winning the gold medal in the 1000-meter event.
In the skiing tournament, Andrea Mead Lawrence won gold in the slalom and giant slalom in the year 1952 as a teenager. At the 1994 games, Picabo Street had won a silver medal in the downhill while redeeming herself from being cut from the US team in 1989. At the 1998 game, she won a gold medal in the Super-G. The American women's hockey team beat Canada in 1998 for gold, the first time the game was opened for women. At the 2002 games, Jill Bakken and Vonetta Flowers had won the first bobsled gold for the US in 46 years. The Jamaican bobsled team also captured multiple hearts when it made its first appearance in the Olympics, held in 1998 in Calgary.
Although Eddie "The Eagle" had placed last in both the events held in 1988, this British ski jumper has become one of the first Brits to qualify for the games in 60 years and remains one of the most heralded Winter Olympics athletes.
How long is the Winter Olympics?
After the opening ceremony is done, the Winter Games take place over a total of 16 days. Many of the events, such as figure skating, Alpine skiing, hockey, and curling, are spread over just a day in the Games. The other games, such as Luge and Bobsled, however, can go up to a week when it comes to the total duration.
Winter Olympics games are one of the most thrilling and fun-filled events of the year. There are multiple cultural and sports significance that can be understood through each game involved in the Olympics. It is also rightly said to be a platform where athletes can show their best to the world. Finding young talents via the Olympic games is one of the ways to secure these talents. With more such versions of the Winter Olympics games upcoming, there is more anticipation of who is going to win more medals and to see more talents unfold.
What is the most demanding sport in the Winter Olympics?
Skeleton is the most demanding sport on the Winter Olympics sports list. This sport involves athletes lying prone on a sledge and hurtling down an icy track at a speed that can even range up to 80 mph. The twists and turns involved in the game make it one of the most dangerous games.
Who won the most medals in the Winter Olympics this year?
In the 2022 Winter Olympics, most gold medals were won by Norway, standing at 16 gold medals, and with a total of 37 medals, it was placed first among multiple countries.
Where are the 2023 Winter Olympics held?
The Winter Olympics was held in Beijing from 4th February to 20th February 2023.