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Chamonix 1924 Poster

About 5,000 copies were produced.

The Olympic Winter Games begin

In 1921, the International Olympic Committee gave its patronage to a Winter Sports Week to take place in 1924 in Chamonix, France. This event was a great success, attracting 10,004 paying spectators, and was retrospectively named the First Olympic Winter Games.

Memorable champions

American Charles Jewtraw became the first Winter Games champion by winning the first event, the 500m speed skating. The outstanding individual performer was Finland’s Clas Thunberg, who took five medals, including three golds, in the five speed skating events.

Awesome Canadians

In ice hockey, the Canadian team managed to score 85 times without conceding a goal in its first three matches. Canada won the tournament by scoring 122 goals, with only three scored against them.

Worth the wait

American Anders Haugen would have to wait 50 years to receive his bronze ski jumping medal. Deprived of his third place because of a marking error, Haugen eventually won his case and obtained his medal in 1974, aged 83.

NOCs: 16
Athletes: 258 (11 women, 247 men)
Events: 16
Volunteers: n/a
Media: n/a

The first Olympic Winter Games were originally known as the "Winter Sports Week."

Official recognition

In 1926, during the 25th Session of the International Olympic Committee in Lisbon, the Chamonix Games were recognised as the first Olympic Winter Games.

Medal presentation

The official medal ceremony was not held until 5 February, shortly before the closing speech by Pierre de Coubertin. As some athletes had already gone home, Frantz Reichel presented their medals to other members of their teams.

Track at the foot of the glaciers

The bobsleigh competition was held on the Pélerins track, named after the glacier which dominates it. The equipment was transported to the top of the track using the old cable car of the Aiguille du Midi.

122 goals scored

In ice hockey, over the course of its first three matches in the tournament, the Canadian team managed to score 85 times without conceding any goals. Canada won the tournament by scoring 122 goals, with only three scored against them!

Equipment on shoulders

For the parade of the delegations during the Opening Ceremony, many athletes marched with their equipment on their shoulder (skis, hockey sticks, etc.). Indeed, according to the rules in place at the time, the athletes had to march in sportswear, and the skis or hockey sticks were part of their equipment. Today, the delegations no longer wear their sportswear, but they try to outdo each other in terms of imagination to appear in all their finery.

10,000 paying spectators

There were 10,004 paying spectators recorded for this edition of the Games.  

Last, but at least ranked

In cross country skiing, in the 50km event, held in a violent and icy cold wind, the last ranked competitor finished 2h30m after Norway’s Thorleif Haug, who won the event in 3h44m.

Ceremonies

Chamonix 25 January 1924. Delegations in the Olympic Stadium.

Official opening of the Games by:
Under Secretary for Physical Education, Gaston Vidal

Lighting the Olympic Flame by:
A symbolic fire at an Olympic Winter Games was first lit in 1936 in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

Olympic Oath by:
Camille Mandrillon (military patrol)

Officials' Oath by:
The officials' oath at an Olympic Winter Games was first sworn in 1972 at Sapporo.

Chamonix 1924 Medals

On the obverse, a winter sports athlete, arms open. He is holding in his right hand a pair of skates and in his left a pair of skis. In the background, the Alps with Mont Blanc. On the reverse, a 14-line long inscription. "CHAMONIX MONT-BLANC SPORTS D'HIVER 25 JANVIER - 5 FEVRIER 1924 ORGANISES PAR LE COMITE OLYMPIQUE FRANCAIS SOUS LE HAUT PATRONAGE DU COMITE INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIQUE A L'OCCASION DE LA CELEBRATION DE LA VIIIe OLYMPIADE". [Chamonix Mont-Blanc Winter Sports 25 January-5 February 1924, organized by the French Olympic Committee under the high patronage of the International Olympic Committee on the occasion of the celebration of the VIII Olympiad]. As was the case with the medal for the Paris Games, the design of the Chamonix medal was also put out to tender. It was the engraver Raoul Bénard who was finally chosen. There were 2,000 copies made in the workshops of the Paris mint.

More info

For this first edition of the Olympic Winter Games, the official report is included in that of the Olympic Summer Games, Paris 1024, “Les Jeux de la VIIIe Olympiade Paris 1924: rapport officiel”. Entitled “Les sports d’hiver”, the part concerning the Chamonix 1924 Games starts on page 643, at the end of section III. This very detailed official report was published in French only.





  • Chamonix 1924
    • Chamonix 1924

      12 Mar 2014 |
      Download
      For this first edition of the Olympic Winter Games, the official report is included in that of the Olympic Summer Games, Paris 1024, “Les Jeux de la VIIIe Olympiade Paris 1924: rapport officiel”. Entitled “Les sports d’hiver”, the part concerning the Chamonix 1924 Games starts on page 643, at the end of section III. This very detailed official report was published in French only.

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