Let the Games begin!
On 25 January 1924, on the morning of the Opening Ceremony, there was an immense feeling of collective relief, as, after several days of rain, during which the newly built ice rink had at times resembled a pond, local temperatures finally dropped, bringing the freezing weather that the organisers had prayed for. To top things off, the sun even made an appearance, illuminating the entire valley and encouraging a huge number of sport enthusiasts from the town and surrounding areas to attend the opening.
The various delegations gathered in front of the Chamonix town hall for the Olympic Parade of Nations. They were joined by mountain guides, members of a variety of sport clubs (including the local football team), ski school and Alpine ski club representatives, firemen, brass bands and local government officials.
The Olympic athletes, who had to carry or drag their own equipment, proceeded to parade across town, stopping in front of the ice rink, where the Opening Ceremony was to take place. At this point, the procession split into two groups, as only the delegations, spearheaded by their respective flagbearers, were allowed to continue inside.
Count Justinien Clary, President of the COF, delivered the opening address, thanking the IOC and the town of Chamonix. “In spite of all sorts of difficulties, we are ready on the agreed day and at the agreed time,” he said proudly, adding that the presence of 17 nations was “a success that exceeded our most optimistic expectations.” He then invited French Under-Secretary of State Gaston Vidal to declare the “Chamonix International Week of Sports” officially open.
Adjudant Camille Mandrillon, surrounded by the various flagbearers, recited the Olympic Oath, before the parade started up again, making its way around the arena to thunderous applause from the enthusiastic crowd.