Chamonix is a village located at the foot of Mount Mont Blanc in France with about 10,000 residents.
Chamonix is also known for having the best ski slopes and the oldest winter sports areas in the world. Extreme sports enthusiasts, climbers and professional skiers from around the world often flock to this small town to experience challenges from its unique terrain.
With challenging slopes, it is not surprising that Chamonix was chosen by the Olympic Committee to host the first Winter Olympics in 1924.
However, at that time, the festival was not called the Winter Olympics but was called the “International Winter Sports Week”. The name was considered odd when it came to setting up an event that didn’t last for a week, but it actually lasted for 11 days.
Since 1901, Norway, Sweden and Finland have successfully organized their own sports festival in northwestern Europe. Therefore, the organizers at Chamonix had to persuade a lot to attract the participation of the countries of this Scandinavian region.
Officials then decided to set up an organization to take responsibility and the International Ski Federation was born. A year later, the League renamed the winter sports event in Chamonix to the Winter Olympics.
A total of 16 countries competed in the first Olympics with 285 athletes competing in 16 events. Of the total participating athletes only 11 female athletes. The contents of the competition at the first Winter Olympics include:
- Skaters (both skateboarding and shooting on the track)
- Marbles on ice
- Sled race
- Figure skating (men’s singles content)
- Figure skating (women’s singles content)
- Figure skating (double skating content)
- Skateboard racing (distance of 15km and 50km)
- Skateboard racing combined
- Speed skating (500m, 1,500m, 5,000m, 10,000m, combined)
The countries of Indonesia prevailed at the first Winter Olympics. Finland and Norway won a total of 28 medals. Medal ranking results at the first Winter Olympics are as follows:
- Norway: 17
- Finland: 11
- England: 4
- United States: 4
- Austria: 3
- Switzerland: 3
- France: 3
- Sweden: 2
- Canada: 1
The first Winter Olympics saw many amazing performances from individuals and teams. Although, Canada won only 1 medal, they left in the hearts of fans a very impressive playing style. Canada’s hockey team dominated the content at the time and won a spectacular gold medal with five matches to win, scoring 110 goals and only conceding 3 goals.
The first person to win a gold medal at the Winter Olympics is American speed skater Charles Jewtraw. He was a surprise winner in the first 500m speed skating content.
The first Winter Olympics also saw many interesting stories. American skier Anders Haugen was initially determined to be fourth but later determined to be third. The interesting story was that it was not until 1974 that he was determined to win the bronze medal. because of errors in scoring method were discovered. Finally, Haugen received a bronze medal at the age of 83.