On January 25th, 1924, the City of Chamoix, France, hosted the first-ever Winter Olympic Games. 16 countries presented 258 athletes for the Games. A day after the games started, Charles Jewtraw of the United States won the first Winter Olympics gold medal. In those particular Games, France only managed to secure three bronze medals, missing out on gold and silver in the nine disciplines that were contested. Since Chamonix 1924, a further 22 Winter Games have been held, the latest being the XXIII Olympic Winter Games held in South Korea. European states dominate the Winter Olympics and occupy eight of the top 10 positions in the overall medal ranking with the exception of the US and Canada.
Top Performing Countries At the Winter Olympics
Norway has participated in all Winter Olympics since 1924 and holds the highest number of medals from the Winter Games. Before the XXIII Olympic Winter Games in South Korea, Norway had accumulated 119 gold medals, 111 silver, and 100 bronze medals to make a total of 329 medals. The Pyeongchang 2018 games brought their medal count to 368 with having won another 14 gold, 14 silver, and 11 bronze medals. Norway excels at cross-country skiing, nordic combined, and ski jumping events.
The United States ranked second with 305 medals over 23 Winter Olympic Games. The US athletes are leaders in figure skating and snowboarding events, and the Pyeongchang 2018 games saw the US leave with 23 medals: nine gold, eight silver, and six bronze. This brings the total medal count to 105 gold, 110 silver, and 90 bronze medals.
Germany has been an impressive nation at the Winter Olympics, having taken home 240 medals in only 12 games. Germany leads in biathlon, luge, and bobsleigh. Germany won an impressive 31 medals at the Pyeongchang 2018 games, with 14 gold, 10 silver, and seven bronze medals.
Although not included in the table below for various geopolitical reasons, athletes from Russia top the medal rankings. The former Soviet Union obtained 194 medals at nine Winter Olympics prior to 1988. Russia marched under the Unified Team flag along with five other former Soviet republics at the 1992 Winter Olympics, winning 23 medals. From 1994 to 2014, Russia won a further 120 medals as their own nation. Russia was banned from the Pyeongchang 2018 games, but Russian athletes competing under the Olympic flag won 17 medals: two gold, six silver, and nine bronze. As such, Russia is considered one of the top contenders at the Winter Olympic Games, though it is banned from competing for the upcoming Winter Olympics in Beijing, China.
The 2018 Olympic Winter Games were held from February 8th to the 25th, 2018. The XXIII Olympic Winter Games held in South Korea made history on several fronts: the number of female participants at the Olympics was at a record high (43%) and South and North Korea engaged in some competitions as a joint team despite the ongoing cold war between the two countries. About 2,920 participants from ninety-two countries engaged in 102 events in 15 sports. Top performers at Pyeongchang 2018 were Norway with 39 medals, Germany with 31 medals, Canada with 29 medals, the US with 23 medals, and the Netherlands with 20 medals.
The city of Beijing, China will host the XXIV series of the Olympic Winter games in 2022.