Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Winter Olympics

Ulrich Salchow at the 1908 Winter Olympics
The first celebration of the Winter Olympics was held in Chamonix, France, in 1924. The original sports were alpine and cross-country skiing, figure skating, ice hockey, Nordic combined, ski jumping and speed skating.
The first international multi-sport event for winter sports was the Nordic Games held in Sweden in 1901. Originally organised by General Viktor Gustaf Balck, the Nordic Games were held again in 1903 and 1905 and then every fourth year thereafter until 1926.  Balck was a charter member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and a close friend of Olympic Games founder Pierre de Coubertin. He attempted to have winter sports, specifically figure skating, added to the Olympic programme but was unsuccessful until the 1908 Summer Olympics in London, United Kingdom.  Four figure skating events were contested and at which Ulrich Salchow (10-time world champion) and Madge Syers won the individual titles.
Three years later Italian 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. The organisers opposed this idea because they desired to protect the integrity of the Nordic Games and were concerned about a lack of facilities for winter sports.  The idea was resurrected for the 1916 Games, which were to be held in Berlin, Germany. A winter sports week with speed skating, figure skating, ice hockey and Nordic skiing was planned, but the 1916 Olympics was cancelled after the outbreak of World War I.
The first Olympics after the war were held in Antwerp, Belgium and featured figure skating and ice hockey tournament. At the IOC Congress held the following year 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. Chamonix was chosen to host this "week" (actually 11 days) of events. The Games proved to be a success when more than 250 athletes from 16 nations competed in 16 events. Athletes from Finland and Norway won 28 medals, more than the rest of the participating nations combined. In 1925 the IOC decided to create a separate Olympic Winter Games and the 1924 Games in Chamonix was retroactively designated as the first Winter Olympics.

“When up town this afternoon and settled with Geo F. Lowe for the potatoes and but one ton of Bacon of C F. Prentice and paid for same cash $17.00”
Leesah

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