It was 1924 when the French Olympic Committee decided to organize and host the “International Winter Sports Week”. Things went well enough that the following year it was officially dubbed the first Olympic Winter Games and the event has continued ever since.
The games were held in the shadow of Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in Europe, affectionately known as “La Dame Blanche” (the white lady). The events covered all of the most iconic winter sports; bobsleigh, figure skating, speed skating, ski jumping, and more.
One of the competitions was something called “military patrol”. At the time it was considered a demonstration rather than an official part of the games. Eventually, 36 years later, the strange combination of skiing and shooting became the official event we know as biathlon.
That wasn’t the only loose end. Fifty years after the games, in 1974, the bronze medal in ski jumping was re-awarded to the original 4th place contestant from the USA after an error was uncovered in the results.
Now if you think waiting 50 years for an Olympic medal is rough… no medals were awarded at the games for the curling competition, as it was another unofficial sport at the time. It wasn’t until 2006 (that’s 82 years later!) that the Olympic Committee saw fit, after being encouraged by the Glasgow Herald, to retroactively award the gold medals to the team from Great Britain.
The vast majority of medals ended up in the hands of Norway and Finland, which seems appropriate considering that most of the sports in question were invented there. I am, however, obligated to point out that Canada won gold in ice hockey. In their first round of four games they scored 103 goals, while the Canadian goalie only let in 3. Oddly, the Canadian ice hockey team had also won gold at the previous summer Olympics in 1920.
- Source: 1924 Winter Olympics – Wikipedia