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Chamonix 1924. 100 Years of Olympic Winter Games.

Chamonix 1924. "Semaine internationale des sports d’hiver".
Chamonix 1924. "Semaine internationale des sports d’hiver".

"Winter Sports are among the purest, and that is why I was so eager to see them take their place in a definitive way among the Olympic events. They will help us to keep a watchful eye on the athletic ideal, to keep it from all evil." Pierre de Coubertin (Selected Writings Vol. II, p. 320, 1924).

January 25, 2024, marked 100 years since the first Olympic Winter Games took place in Chamonix, France.

With the growing popularity of winter sports and the development of international competitions – the first world figure skating championships were held in 1893, and the first Alpine skiing competition took place in 1911 – IOC members investigated the possibility of staging an Olympic Winter Games.

In 1921, the IOC gave its backing for a winter sports event to be held in Chamonix in 1924, with the Paris Olympic Summer Games to be held later that year.

In 1924, from 25 January to 4 February, a winter sports week was held in Chamonix, France, organized under the patronage of the IOC, and included many of the ceremonial aspects of the Olympic Games. The Olympic Winter Games formally began, although they were originally known as the "Semaine Internationale des sports d’hiver". In 1926, during the 25th Session of the International Olympic Committee in Lisbon, the Chamonix Games were recognized as the first Olympic Winter Games.

Before Chamonix 1924, winter sports events had been held during the Summer Games of London 1908 (figure skating), and Antwerp 1920 (figure skating and ice hockey).

However, the first organized international competition involving winter sports was introduced just five years after the birth of the modern Olympics in 1896. In 1901, the Nordic Games, the first winter sports event was held in Stockholm.

Over 10 days, the host town of Chamonix brought together 258 athletes from 16 nations (Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czechoslovakia, Finland, France, Great Britain, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, United States, and Yugoslavia) taking part in 16 events in 9 disciplines (Bobsleigh, Cross Country Skiing, Curling, Figure Skating, Ice Hockey, Military Patrol, Nordic Combined, Ski Jumping, and Speed Skating).

The athletes' delegations gathered in front of the Chamonix town hall for the Olympic Parade of Nations. They were joined by mountain guides, sports clubs, ski school and Alpine ski club representatives, firemen, brass bands, and local government officials.

The event was a great success, attracting 10,004 paying spectators.

American Charles Jewtraw became the first Winter Games champion by winning the first event, the 500m speed skating.

The man of the Games was Finland’s Arnold Clas ("Classe") Robert Thunberg, who took five medals, three golds, one silver, and one bronze, in the five-speed skating events.

The next edition of the Winter Games, the XXV Olympic Winter Games, also known as Milano-Cortina 2026, will take place from February 6-22, 2026 in the Italian cities of Milan and Cortina d'Ampezzo.


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