It is a source of national pride to be on the competition platform. It also implies a monetary prize and access to lucrative multimillion-dollar sponsorship opportunities for some victors. Unlike major sport tournaments, the International Olympic Committee does not compensate medalists. However, several countries pay their athletes based on the number of medals they win at the Summer or Winter Olympics.
Some skating sports were featured in the 1908 and 1920 Games. However, the Winter Games were not recognized until 1924. The Chamonix Games were first held as part of the International Winter Sports Week in Chamonix, France. Although it was not recognized as an official Olympic event, the IOC supported it. The event was a success since it was well-organized and had new amenities.
It was subsequently included on the list of sports tournaments organized by the Olympic Committee. In fact, it prompted the committee to change its charter in 1925, establishing the Winter Games. After that, Chamonix became known as the birthplace of the Winter Olympics.
A total of 250 participants from 16 countries competed in 16 events. Figure skating was the only event allowed for women until the 1936 Olympics in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany when Alpine (skiing) was introduced.
One of the most remarkable moments in the Winter Olympics history is the Forgotten Miracle. In 1960, the United States won Olympic gold in ice hockey by defeating Canada. The United States entered the games as heavy underdogs, unable to compete against the Soviet Union and Canada. The squad went all the way and defeated Czechoslovakia to earn the gold medal.
Thirteen nations on three continents have hosted these quadrennial winter games. The Italian cities of Milan and Cortina d'Ampezzo will host the 2026 edition. Notably, there has never been an event hosted in the Southern Hemisphere. This is due to the lack of an atmosphere for the cold-weather-dependent games.