95 years ago, for the first time in the modern era what is now known as the Winter Olympics opened in Chamonix, France. Chamonix is in the French Alps, near Mont Blanc and the borders of Switzerland and Italy. In the last week of January,1924, the event was known as International Sports Week.  Some of the 18 events for amateur competitors were; speed skating, figure skating, ice hockey, cross-country/Nordic skiing, ski jump, the luge, bobsledding, and a combination of skiing and shooting known as the biathlon. A total of 258 athletes…


A total of 258 competed, 11 of them women. Three of those women were the medal winners in figure skating. Herma Planck-Szabo of Hungary won the gold, American Beatrix Loughron earned the silver, and Ethel Muckelt of Britain won the bronze. Ethel is the anchor in the middle of the photo, with Herma to the left and Beatrix to the right.


The opening ceremonies began with an oath taken by the athletes at the Chamonix City Hall that each was an amateur, followed by a parade where teams from each country marched from the City Hall to the Olympic ice skating rink. When the participants arrived at the rink, 150 of them celebrated with a spontaneous speed skating exhibition on the ice while a band played the national anthems of the 16 countries represented: Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czechoslovakia, Estonia, Finland, France, Great Britain, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States.

Highlights of the First Winter Olympics included:

  • The Canadian team won the final hockey game 6-1, winning the gold medal while the American team received the silver.
  • Of the 43 medals awarded, the Finland and Norway teams won 28.
  • The Great Britain and U.S. teams won 4 medals each.

For further information, see  https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/first-winter-olympics-begin-in-chamonix-france

24/7 Librarian