In 1921 the International Olympic Committee voted to stage “International Sports Week 1924” in Chamonix, France.
258 (247 men, 11 women) competitors from 16 nations participated in 6 sports and 16 events over a fortnight. Norway topped the gold medal tally with 4 – Finland 2nd with 4 also, Austria 3rd with 2, Switzerland 4th with 2 also and USA 5th with 1 gold.
The star was Finland’s Clas Thunberg, who won medals in all five speed skating events: three gold, one silver and one bronze. The Canadian men’s ice hockey team started their Olympic success, winning all five of their matches and outscoring their opponents 110 goals to 3. An 11-year-old from Norway named Sonja Henie made her Olympic debut as was the youngest competitor at the Games; she placed last in the eight-woman field in women’s figure skating, but would soon become the Winter Olympics’ first true star, winning gold at the next three Games.
The winter sports week proved a great success and was retrospectively called the first Olympic Winter Games.
Interesting Point: Although Chamonix was the first specific Winter Olympics, figure skating was included at the London 1908 Olympics, and figure skating and ice hockey were a part of the Antwerp 1920 Olympics.
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