The first Winter Olympics was held between January 25 and February 5, 1924, in Chamonix, France. On January 26th, the first Winter Olympics gold medal was won by Charles Jewtraw of the US. France failed to win a gold medal in the Olympics but managed to accumulate three bronze medals. The first Winter Olympics involved 258 participants from 16 states competing in 9 disciplines.
The XXIII Olympic Winter Games were held in Pyeongchang County, South Korea between February 8-25, 2018. 92 countries presented 2,920 participants competing in 102 events in 15 sports. The next winter Olympics is set to take place in Beijing, China in 2022. All states seeking to attend the Olympic games must be members of the National Olympic Committee. To date, there are 206 countries who can actively participate in the Olympics. One hundred and nineteen countries have participated in the Winter Olympics since it was established, while 90 of the 206 countries are yet to field participants.
Countries Who Have Never Won a Winter Olympic Medal
Despite the ever-increasing number of countries participating in the Winter Olympics, slightly more than half have won an Olympic medal. Cameroon, Colombia, Egypt, Ghana, Guatemala, Paraguay, Serbia and Montenegro, Togo, Tonga, Uruguay, and Zimbabwe have all participated in a single Winter Olympic without winning a medal. Countries that have participated in two Winter Olympics without winning a medal include Ethiopia, Montenegro, Netherlands Antilles, Pakistan, Peru, and Serbia. Algeria, Fiji, Kenya, Thailand, and Trinidad and Tobago have all competed in three Winter Olympic without finishing on the podium. Hong Kong, Philippines, Tajikistan, and Venezuela have registered four participations without a medal. Senegal, Macedonia, and Azerbaijan have participated in five Winter Olympic games without any of their contestants finishing in the podium position. Notably, South Africa has never won a Winter Olympics medal despite participating in six Winter Olympic Games.
Other countries who have unsuccessfully competed in six Winter Olympic games are Armenia, Costa Rica, Georgia, Ireland, Israel, Kyrgyzstan, Morocco, Moldova, and Puerto Rico. Bermuda, Brazil, Jamaica, Portugal, and the Virgin Islands are all seven times unsuccessful participants. Lithuania and Mexico have participated eight times without winning either a gold, silver or bronze medal. India has been unsuccessful nine times, while Iran and Cyprus have not won a medal after making ten appearances. Chinese Taipei has participated unsuccessfully eleven times while Mongolia has done so thirteen times. Chile, Lebanon, and Turkey are sixteen times unsuccessful participants while Iceland has taken part in 17 Winter Olympics. Argentina and Greece set the record for 18 participations without finishing in a podium position.
The most successful countries in the Winter Olympics
As at 2014, Norway held the largest number of medal (329) won in the Winter Olympics since 1924. The United States ranked second with 282 while Germany ranked third with 228. Austria ranked fourth with 218 while the Soviet Union accumulated 194 medals. Canada, Finland, and Sweden ranked sixth, seventh, and eighth respectively.