The twin Bavarian towns of Garmisch and Partenkirchen in Germany hosted the 1936 Winter Olympic Games.
646 (566 men, 80 women) competitors from 28 nations participated in 4 sports and 17 events over a fortnight. The Olympics drew 500,000 spectators. Norway topped the gold medal tally with 7 – Germany 2nd with 3, Sweden 3rd with 2, Finland 4th with 1 and Switzerland 5th also with 1 gold.
When the IOC overruled the International Ski Federation (FIS) by declaring that ski instructors could not take part in the Olympics because they were professionals, the strong Austrian and Swiss skiers boycotted the Games.
The Norwegian figure skating queen, Sonja Henie, won her third consecutive gold medal to confirm her as the star of the Winter Games; while in the men’s event, Austria’s Karl Schafer won his second successive gold. Speed skater Ivan Ballangrud of Norway won three of the four races, including the 500m, the shortest race, and the 10,000m, the longest.
Alpine skiing events, such as the downhill and slalom, were included for the first time.
Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party were rising to power at the time and these were the last Games before WWII – the Winter Games would not resume until 1948.
Interesting Point: Canada’s champion ice hockey team suffered their first Olympic loss after 20 consecutive wins, losing their semi-final 2-1 to Great Britain – with ten of the 12 British players living in Canada.
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