HOT TOPIC: Winter Olympics
Volume 2, Issue 17 - January 15, 2006

"Akin to the summer Olympics, the winter Olympics are a decidedly different animal. Unlike the games begun in the warm climate of the Mediterranean, the winter games celebrate the games of skill of the northern world including the Nordic countries, Russia and Canada.

Early on in the modern Olympic movement, certain winter sports were included as part of the summer games. As early as 1908, figure skating was included among the events, and by 1920 ice hockey was also featured at the summer games. In 1924, Paris was hosting the summer games, and Chamonix, France concurrently planned a winter festival in the Alps. IOC member Marquis de Polignac suggested that the festival be formally recognized as Winter Olympic Games. Founder Pierre de Coubertin rejected the idea. However, the IOC agreed that Chamonix could name its festival an "Olympic winter carnival." The Chamonix games eventually became known as the first official Winter Games, offering figure skiing, skating, bobsleighing, and ice hockey as featured events. Those games boasted 294 athletes total. Compare that to the more than 2,300 athletes who came to Salt Lake four years ago!

Today the winter and summer games alternate every two years at highly prized sites around the globe. The unique events of the winter games make them fascinating for children to see, and the stories of winter Olympic glories of games past permeate popular culture today. I invite you to take advantage of this learning opportunity through the recommended resources of this week’s newsletter!"


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©2005 Walter McKenzie

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