The first Winter Olympics was organized by The French Olympic Committee as an “International Winter Sports Week” in association with the 1924 Summer Olympics.
But it was only in 1925, that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided to hold Winter Olympic Games independent of the Olympic Games. As a result, the 1924 International Week of Winter Sports had its name officially changed to I Olympic Winter Games.
The First Winter Olympics was hosted at Les Houches, just down the road from the main town in the valley, Chamonix Mont Blanc
1924 Winter Olympics Poster
So, what happened prior to 1924?
Prior to the 1924 Winter Olympic Games (WOG), only some winter sports were Olympic events. For example, Ice Hockey was introduced as an Olympic Event in Antwerp in 1920 and Figure Skating was an Event at the London Olympics in 1908 and the Antwerp Olympics.
Last medal issued in 1974
The final medal for the 1924 WOG, was presented in 1974. A scoring error was noticed 50 years after the event and the bronze medal for ski jumping was presented to the American, Anders Haugen. He was the first American to win a ski jumping medal.
Haugen had been recorded as finishing fourth and the bronze medal had been awarded to a Norwegian skier Thorleif Haug, who also won three gold medals at the 1924 Winter Olympic Games.
In 1974, at the age of 86, Haugen traveled to Norway and was given the bronze medal by Thorleif Haug’s daughter.
Gold recognized in 2006
Great Britain won the Gold at the Curling event at the 1924 Winter Olympics, although it wasn’t recognized until 2006, 82 years later.
It seems Curling was thought to be a demonstration event in the 1924 Winter Olympics and it was only a campaign by The Herald in Glasgow that led to the IOC’s decision in 2006 to award the gold medal.
Award for No Event
A Prize was awarded at the closing of the 1924 Winter Olympics for the sport of “Alpinisme” or “Haute Montagne”. This is a European term for mountaineering. The prize was awarded to Charles Granville Bruce, who led the expedition that attempted the climb of Mount Everest in 1922.
The demonstration event Military Patrol was first included in these Games. This is a combination of cross country skiing, mountaineering and shooting. The modern sport is Biathlon and this was first introduced into the Winter Olympics program in 1960.
1924 - 1992
The winter Olympics would continue from the start in 1924 to be held in the same years of the Olympic Games proper until 1992.
Thereafter these would be held 2 years after the summer Games, in 4 year intervals.
More about the first winter Olympics: