Posted on 10 January 2014
It’s less than a month before the Winter Olympics begin in the Russian resort of Sochi, raising awareness around the world of the joys of skiing and snowboarding, as well as the benefits of having access to the slopes by owning a home in the Alps. With this mind, here are ten facts about the Winter Olympics we wouldn’t expect you to know already.
1) The first Winter Olympics were held in the French resort of Chamonix in 1924, when 10,004 people paid to watch the event, which included 16 competing nations.
2) 1.8 billion people around the world watched at least a minute of coverage of the last Winter Olympics in Vancouver in 2010.
3) There are now seven categories of sports in the Winter Olympics – skiing, luge, skating, biathlon, bobsleigh, curling, ice hockey.
4) The Winter Games used to be held the same year as the Summer Games, but this changed between the 1992 France and 1994 Norway Games.
5) Eddie the Eagle, labelled “the world’s worst ski jumper” when he participated in the 1988 Calgary Games, went on to have a top 50 single in the UK, failed to get selected for another Games but was a torch bearer at the Vancouver Games.
6) In the French resort of La Plagne, it is possible to try out the Olympic bobsleigh track from the 1992 Olympics. Also in the French Alps, the Méribel Antares resort now occupies the site where the women’s alpine skiing competitions were held, also in the 1992 Games.
7) Sochi is the warmest city ever to host the Winter Olympics. New events at the event will include a ski half-pipe, luge relay and women’s ski jumping.
8) The Winter Olympics have never been held in the Southern Hemisphere.
9) The famous Jamaican bobsleigh team only came together four months before the start of the Calgary Games.
10) The oldest gold medal winner at the Winter Olympics is a Brit – curler Robin Welsh Sr, who won in 1924 aged 54 years and 101 days.