Q: When did the Winter Olympics start?
A: The Nordic Games were the first international multi-sport event specifically for winter sports. The Nordic Games were held in 1901, in Sweden, and organized by a charter member of the International Olympic Committee, General Viktor Gustaf Balck. Balck wanted winter sports added to the Olympics and, in 1908, got four figure skating events added to the schedule. In 1924, it was decided that France, the organizer of the 1924 Summer Olympics, would also host an "International Winter Sports Week." In 1925, the International Olympic Committee retroactively declared the 1924 Olympic Games in Chamonix, France, the first Winter Olympics. The Winter Olympics have been held every four years since, except in 1940 and 1944 due to World War II.
Q: Why are the Olympics important?
A: From the ceremonial carrying of the torch to begin Olympic Games to the closing ceremonies, people from all over the globe come together to watch and cheer on some of the world's greatest athletes. This year, athletes from countries all over the world will compete in the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada. Events will include alpine skiing, biathlon, bobsledding, cross country skiing, curling, figure skating, freestyle skiing, hockey, luge, Nordic combined, short track, skeleton, ski jumping, snowboarding and speed skating. While it's a great honor for the athletes to compete, they also become ambassadors of their countries to the rest of the world. Win, lose or draw, the experience of competing in the Olympic Games is had by a very few. This winter's Olympic Games are an opportunity for Americans to come together and cheer on our athletes who have trained their entire lives for this opportunity. It's a great moment for America when one of our own stands on the podium, salutes the American flag, and listens to the Star Spangled Banner being played as they receive a medal. We should commend all of the athletes for their dedication to our country and who work to promote the Olympic spirit here and around the globe.