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The Winter Olympic Games occurs every four years. The first celebration of the Winter Olympics was held in Chamonix, France, in 1924.

The Games were held every four years from 1924 until 1936 and then were interrupted by World War II. They resumed in 1948 and were celebrated every four years. The Winter and Summer Olympic Games were held in the same years until 1992, when the governing body for the Olympic Games, the International Olympic Committee (IOC), decided to place the Summer and Winter Games on separate four-year cycles in alternating even-numbered years.

How the Games evolved

The first international multi-sport event for winter sports was the Nordic Games held in Sweden in 1901. Organised by General Viktor Gustaf Balck, these were held again in 1903 and 1905 and then every fourth year until 1926. Balck was a charter member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and a close friend of Olympic Games founder Pierre de Frédy de Coubertin, who tried to have winter sports, figure skating in particular, added to the Olympic programme. He was not successful until the 1908 Summer Olympics in London, when Four figure skating events were contested. Ulrich Salchow (10-time world champion) and Madge Syers won the individual titles.

In 1912 count Eugenio Brunetta d'Usseaux proposed that the IOC stage a week of winter sports included as part of the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden. This was opposed to protect the Nordic Games. The 1916 games were held in Berlin, Germany, after which there was an interruption during the 1st World War years.

Figure skating and an ice hockey tournament were featured at the first Olympic games after the war which were held in Antwerp, Belgium - 1920. At the IOC Congress held in 1921 it was decided that the host nation of the 1924 Summer Olympics, France, would host a separate "International Winter Sports Week" under the patronage of the IOC. At the games in Chamonix more than 250 athletes from 16 nations competed in 16 events.

In 1925 the IOC decided to create a separate Olympic Winter Games and the 1924 Games in Chamonix were designated as the first Winter Olympics.

Winter Olympic Games Hosts

  • 1924 Chamoix, France
  • 1928 St. Moritz, Switzerland hosted the second Olympic Winter Games.
  • 1932 Lake Placid, New York, United States.
  • 1936 (AKA Hitler Olympics) - Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Bavaria, Germany. This was the last time the Summer and Winter Olympics were held in the same country in the same year.
  • 1940 to 1948 - Interrupted by World War II
  • 1948 St. Moritz, Switzerland.
  • 1952 Oslo, Norway
  • 1956 Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy.
  • 1960 Rome, Italy.
  • 1964 Innsbruck, Austria
  • 1968 Grenoble, France
  • 1972 Sapporo, Japan
  • 1976 Denver, USA
  • 1980 Lake Placcid, New York, USA
  • 1984 Sarajevo, Yugoslavia
  • 1988 Calgary, Canada
  • 1992 Albertville, France - the last Winter Olympics to be held in the same year as the Summer Games.
  • 1994 Lillehammer, Norway
  • 1998 Nagano, Japan
  • 2002 Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
  • 2006 Turin, Italy
  • 2010 Vancouver, Canada
  • 2014 Sochi, Russia
  • 2018 will be held at Pyeongchang, South Korea

Famous Winter Olympians