Five Surprising Facts About the Olympic Winter Games

We’re eagerly counting down to the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games and the excitement levels are running pretty high here in the Allan+Bertram office. We’ve been delving into the history of the Olympic Winter Games and have put together our top five interesting facts…

1. 10 Times More Athletes Compete in The Games Today

The first Olympic Winter Games took place in 1924 in Chamonix, with 16 Nations and 258 athletes competing. Fast-forward to today and the size of The Games has snowballed, with 90 Nations and 2500 athletes set to compete in PyeongChang 2018.

Team GB will be sending 59 athletes to PyeongChang 2018 and are targeting their best ever medal performance – Go Team GB!

2. Nothing Will Stop The Games – Not Even a Lack of Snow!

A lack of snow threatened The Innsbruck 1964 Games. But the show still went on thanks to the Austrian Army. They scaled snow-capped mountains to bring more than 50,000 cubic yards of snow to the ski courses and 20,000 blocks of ice to the luge and bobsled tracks!

3. Norway Reigns Supreme

As much as it pains us to say, it’s undeniable that Norway rules the Olympic Winter Games. Norway has won a whopping 329 medals, including 118 gold, trumping all other nations.

If this wasn’t enough, Norway is one of only three countries to win more medals in the Olympic Winter Games than the Summer Olympic Games.

4. Ice Hockey and Figure Skating Made Their Debut at the Summer Olympic Games

Yes you read that correctly. In 1908 women’s and pair figure skating were first held in the Summer Olympic Games, with ice hockey being introduced in 1920. Both sports moved to the Olympic Winter Games when they were established in 1924.

Incidentally, figure skating has proven to be Team GB’s most successful winter sport – accounting for 8 out of 26 of their Olympic Winter Games medals. This year, Nick Rutland and Penny Coombes will be taking to the ice to represent Team GB in their quest to bring back gold.

5. 72 Dogs Made a Short-lived Appearance in 1932

As avid animal lovers we had to sneak in a fact about man’s best friend! 72 dogs made a brief appearance in The Lake Placid 1932 Games, as part of the demonstration sport of sled dog racing.

The winter sport saw five contestants from Canada and seven contestants from the United States battle it out on a 25.1-mile course with six dogs pulling each sled. Much to our disappointment, the sport didn’t gain official event status and subsequently hasn’t returned to The Games.

Want to support Team GB in PyeongChang 2018?

Allan+Bertram are the exclusive producer of Team GB promotional calendars – an ideal corporate gift for every business. 20% of the profits from every calendar will go directly to Team GB, providing athletes with valuable support while they’re competing. Click here to view the 2019 Team GB calendar range.