The Most Interesting Facts & Trivia from the Winter Olympic Games

The modern Olympics have a rich history of tradition through travel. For more than 100 years, athletes, spectators and media have traveled the globe over to compete, celebrate, and cover the Games, together. A story of its own, the Olympic flame and torch has traveled afoot around the world and even into space! 

Olympic Torch Exchange

After reading through all facts on the Olympic website collected about every Winter Games ever played, we thought we’d share some of our favorite moments with you. For the next week, you can stump your family, friends, and co-workers with these tidbits of Olympic history. Oh, and some are specific to fashion and travel...

Chamonix, 1924: For the parade of the delegations during the Opening Ceremony, many athletes marched with their equipment on their shoulder (skis, hockey sticks, etc.). Indeed, according to the rules in place at the time, the athletes had to march in sportswear, and the skis or hockey sticks were part of their equipment. Today, the delegations no longer wear their sportswear, but they try to outdo each other in terms of imagination to appear in all their finery.

Lake Placid, 1932: The Governor of the State of New York, Franklin D. Roosevelt, officially opened the games. 

Garmisch-Partenkirchen, 1936: Great Britain caused a major upset by beating Canada in the ice hockey competition. It should be noted, however, that several of the British players were living in Canada at the time but had kept their British passports.

1940 & 1944: No Olympics were held these years because of World War II.

St. Mortiz 1948 Olympics

St. Moritz, 1948: The Olympics returned after a 12-year break. The US won its first gold medals in figure skating.

Olso, 1952: Computers were used for the first time in figure skating, to calculate the scores awarded by the different judges for the compulsory and free programmes. This enabled an athlete’s score to be given immediately.

Cortina D’Ampezzo, 1956: The Olympic Oath was sworn by a female athlete, Italian Alpine skier Giuliana Chenal-Minuzzo, for the first time. Also, in its Olympic debut, the USSR conquered more medals than any other nation.

Squaw Valley, 1960: When officials became unsure as to whether a skier had missed a gate in the men's slalom they asked CBS-TV if they could review a videotape of the race. This gave CBS the idea of inventing the now ubiquitous "instant replay".

Grenoble, 1968: Norway won the most medals, the first time a country other than the USSR had done so. Gender tests for women were introduced, as were doping controls for both men and women. The Grenoble Games were also the first to be broadcast in colour.

Sapporo, 1972: Canada did not send a hockey team to Sapporo to protest against the covert professionalism rife in the USSR and Eastern Europe

Innsbruck, 1976: The 1976 Games had been awarded to Denver, but the people of the state of Colorado voted to prohibit public funds from being used to support the Games.

Lake Placid Artifical Snow

Lake Placid, 1980: Artificial snow was introduced to the Olympics for the first time.

Sarajevo, 1984: Revenues (US$ 102,682,000) from broadcast fees nearly quadrupled from the games at Lake Placid four years prior.

Calgary, 1988: The first ever smoke-free Games were held.

Albertville, 1992: The 1992 Albertville Olympic Games were the last Winter Games to be staged in the same year as the Summer Games.

Nagano, 1998: Curling officially returned for men and women for the first time since the 1924 Olympic Games.

Turin, Italy

Turin, 2006: With population of more than 900,000, Turin is still the largest city to ever host an Olympics game. 

Sochi, 2014: A record number of 2,780 athletes were entered, more than 40% were women.

PyeongChang 2018

PyeongChang, 2018: As the parade of athletes reached its finale, there was a truly historic break with tradition. Normal protocol dictates that the honour of being the final NOC to enter the stadium falls to the host nation. However, in PyeongChang, the Republic of Korea delegation was joined by their counterparts from neighbouring Democratic Republic of Korea, marching together as Korea in a hugely powerful act of the Olympic spirit’s ability to engender camaraderie and peace. 

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