Happy Olympic Day everybody! Make sure you all go out and celebrate! Events all over the world began on June 17 and are going until 26, however today, June 23, is considered the official Olympic Day according to the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC).
Since it is Olympic Day, besides paying homage and respect to all our Olympic athletes, it’s a good time to reflect on the first Winter Olympic Games in 1924. Hosted in Chamonix, France, only 16 nations were represented and there were only 258 competing athletes. Compare that to the past 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver which hosted 82 nations and approximately 2,600 athletes. Things have grown haven’t they?
Take a look at the events from 1924: Bobsleigh, Curling, Figure skating, Ice hockey, Military patrol (what the heck is Military patrol?) Nordic skiing (Cross-country skiing, Nordic combined, Ski jumping) and Speed skating. The Canadian hockey team (pictured to the left) struck gold over the American then like they did this past 2010 – The U.S. team will get you in 2014, so you better be prepared!
Our U.S. Olympic team grabbed 5 medals that first Winter Olympics including a gold in Speed Skating by Charles Jewtraw, and Anders Haugen (great name) won the bronze for Ski Jumping. Anders is pictured to the left jumping over a car lot in Los Angeles in 1949 when he was 59 years old!
Times have certainly changed but the spirit remains the same in the Olympic Games, especially for us lovers of winter mountain sports and the Winter Olympics in particular. I don’t know about you but I prefer the 1924 Winter Olympic poster to the 2010 one (see above pictures), but that’s just me.
I have included the official 1924 figure skating film made by Jean deRovera below. Besides figure skating it also showcases some speed skating from the first Winter Olympics. Enjoy!