The Winter Olympics began to take shape in 1908 when figure skating made its first appearance at the Summer Games in London. Those athletes’s around the world who wanted to participate, internationally, for international respect, did not have an organized event to participate in. They saw the athletes of the Summer Games winning gold, silver, and bronze, and wanted that notoriety for themselves.
The first games were originally supposed to be at the 1916 summer games in Berlin, . Titled, “Skiing Olympia,” the sectional was supposed to feature Nordic events, but was canceled in 1914 due to the outbreak of World War I.
The Summer Games resumed in 1920, and figure skating returned to the event lineup. Ice hockey was also added as a medal event at these games, marking the first time two winter events took place during the summer games.
The first “International Winter Sports Week” took place in 1924 in Chamonx, . Designed as an eleven day event, it featured all of the Nordic games originally scheduled for the Berlin games in 1908. This came to be universally known as the first Winter Olympic Games.
The first American athlete to win a gold medal at the Olympic Winter Game was a speed-skater named Charles Jewtraw, who won gold at the 500m, skating a time of 44 seconds.
The most recent winter games to have taken place were in 2002, in Salt Lake City, Utah. The next is planned to take place this year, 2006, in Turin .