1924 Winter Olympics

Facts

Competition type Olympic Games
Host city (Venues)
Opening ceremony 24 January
Closing ceremony 5 February
Competition dates 26 January – 4 February
Participants 312 from 19 countries
Medal events 17 in 10 disciplines

Overview

In 1908 at the London Olympics, figure skating events were held as part of the Olympic program. In 1920, figure skating again figured on the Olympic program and an ice hockey tournament was also held that year in Antwerp. Between those two events, the IOC argued long and hard about the possibility of staging Olympic Winter Games. Strangely, the main dissenters to this idea were the Scandanavian countries because they did not want their Nordic Games to be undermined by Olympic Winter events.

With the 1916 Olympics scheduled for Berlin, the organizers arranged for a “Skiing Olympia” to be held in the Black Forest, consisting of nordic skiing events. The Games were never held because of World War I. In 1921, the IOC met and appeared to approve the idea of Winter Olympics. But Pierre de Coubertin ended the discussion when he stated that the idea was contrary to the decisions of the IOC. He recommended that the idea be tabled and be discussed in March 1922 at a winter sports congress, with the site to be determined. The congress never materialized.

But in June 1922, the French Olympic Committee did hold a congress in which representatives of skiing, skating, and ice hockey were present. They arranged to hold an International Winter Sports Week in Chamonix in early 1924, whose nickname was in French “Semaine internationale des sports d’hiver”.

The contests were not originally called the Olympic Games, but the opening speech, while not using the word Olympic in their title, did state that they were under the “high patronage of the International Olympic Committee”. In fact, the official French name for these Olympics was actually the pedantic “Les sports d’hiver à Chamonix Mont-Blanc par le Comité Olympique Français avec la collaboration de la Fédération Française des Sports d’Hiver et du Club Alpin Français sous le Haut Patronage du Comité International Olympique à l’occasion de la Célébration des Jeux de la VIIIème Olympiade”. On 27 May 1925, the IOC amended its charter to begin a cycle of Olympic Winter Games. The Chamonix events were never officially mentioned as the 1st Olympic Winter Games in this proclamation. It is felt, however, that this was an error of the secretary taking the minutes as the IOC has long since recognized the 1924 Chamonix events as the 1st Olympic Winter Games.

The Games opened with the athletes marching from the village of Chamonix to the Olympic skating rink, led by the French Blue Devil Marching Band. The competitions began with the 500-metre speed skating event, which was won by America’s Charley Jewtraw, the first gold medalist of the Olympic Winter Games. The 1924 Winter Olympics saw Clas Thunberg and Thorleif Haug crowned as multiple champions in skating and skiing, respectively. Gillis Grafström repeated his title in men’s figure skating which he had won at the Summer Games in Antwerp in 1920. In women’s figure skating, Herma Planck-Szabo of Austria won the title but the 8th, and last, place finisher would later become the greatest women’s figure skater ever, Sonja Henie.

Although the Games were successful, they ran into financial difficulty. The costs are estimated at 3 million francs, but gate receipts were no more than 250,000 francs. The shortfall was eventually underwritten by the village of Chamonix, the Haute-Savoie department, and the French government.

Bid process

No host city election took place. The Games were not declared the 1st Olympic Winter Games until after the fact.

Ceremonies

Officially opened by Gaston Vidal (Under-Secretary for Physical Education)
Taker of the Athlete's Oath Camille Mandrillon
Flagbearers Full list

Medal Disciplines

Alpinism Figure Skating Ski Jumping
Bobsleigh Ice Hockey Speed Skating
Cross Country Skiing Military Ski Patrol
Curling Nordic Combined

Medal table

NOC Gold Silver Bronze Total
Norway NOR 4 7 6 17
Finland FIN 4 4 3 11
Austria AUT 2 1 0 3
Switzerland SUI 2 0 1 3
United States USA 1 2 1 4
Great Britain GBR 1 1 2 4
Sweden SWE 1 1 0 2
Canada CAN 1 0 0 1
Mixed team MIX 1 0 0 1
France FRA 0 0 3 3
Belgium BEL 0 0 1 1

Mixed team medals

NOC Gold Silver Bronze Total
Australia AUS 1 0 0 1
Great Britain GBR 1 0 0 1
India IND 1 0 0 1
Nepal NEP 1 0 0 1

Most successful competitors

Athlete Nat Gold Silver Bronze Total
Clas Thunberg FIN 3 1 1 5
Thorleif Haug NOR 3 0 0 3
Julius Skutnabb FIN 1 1 1 3
Helene Engelmann AUT 1 0 0 1
Herma Planck-Szabo AUT 1 0 0 1
Alfred Aufdenblatten SUI 1 0 0 1
Alfred Berger AUT 1 0 0 1
Jack Cameron CAN 1 0 0 1
Ernie Collett CAN 1 0 0 1
Gillis Grafström SWE 1 0 0 1
Charley Jewtraw USA 1 0 0 1
Alfons Julen SUI 1 0 0 1
Bert McCaffrey CAN 1 0 0 1
Harold McMunn CAN 1 0 0 1
Dunc Munro CAN 1 0 0 1
Alfred Neveu SUI 1 0 0 1
Beattie Ramsay CAN 1 0 0 1
Eduard Scherrer SUI 1 0 0 1
Alfred Schläppi SUI 1 0 0 1
Heinrich Schläppi SUI 1 0 0 1
Sig Slater CAN 1 0 0 1
Hooley Smith CAN 1 0 0 1
Jacob Tullin Thams NOR 1 0 0 1
Harry Watson CAN 1 0 0 1
Willie Jackson GBR 1 0 0 1
Tom Murray GBR 1 0 0 1
Robin Welsh GBR 1 0 0 1
Laurence Jackson GBR 1 0 0 1
Denis Vaucher SUI 1 0 0 1
Anton Julen SUI 1 0 0 1
Charles Granville Bruce GBR 1 0 0 1
Bill Strutt GBR 1 0 0 1
George Mallory GBR 1 0 0 1
Henry Morshead GBR 1 0 0 1
John Noel GBR 1 0 0 1
Tom Longstaff GBR 1 0 0 1
Geoffrey Bruce GBR 1 0 0 1
Howard Somervell GBR 1 0 0 1
Arthur Wakefield GBR 1 0 0 1
Edward Norton GBR 1 0 0 1
Colin Crawford GBR 1 0 0 1
John Morris GBR 1 0 0 1
George Finch AUS 1 0 0 1
Tejbir Bura NEP 1 0 0 1
Narbu Sherpa IND 1 0 0 1
Lhakpa Sherpa IND 1 0 0 1
Pasang Sherpa IND 1 0 0 1
Pembra Sherpa IND 1 0 0 1
Antarge Sherpa IND 1 0 0 1
Temba Sherpa IND 1 0 0 1
Sange Sherpa IND 1 0 0 1

All medalists at these Games