History of the Olympic Games

The first modern Olympic Games were held in the summer of 1896. The organizers added skating to the Summer Games in 1908 (ice rinks could be kept cold even in the hottest weather) – but eventually decided that winter sports were perhaps best left to the winter. The first Olympic Winter Games were held in 1924, in Chamonix, France.

The first gold medal at the first Olympic Winter Games went to speed skater Charles Jewtraw of the United States, but Finnish speed skater A. Clas Thunberg was the overall star. He earned medals in all five speed skating events: three gold, one silver and one bronze. The Canadian ice hockey team won all five of their matches, outscoring their opponents 110 to 3.

In that first Olympic Winter Games, 16 nations participated, bringing 258 athletes (11 women, 247 men) to compete in 16 events.

During the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games, many more athletes – approximately 2,500 – will compete in 15 sports and over 86 separate medal events.


Learn more about the Olympic Movement at the International Olympic Committee website.