Look at us winning gold medals and making history
(TORSTEN SILZ/AFP/Getty Images)
The Winter Olympics is an international competition held every four years. It showcases the very best winter sports and some of the world’s greatest athletes. Read on to check out some of the highlights of Team Canada at these games.
1924 — Chamonix, France
25th January, 1924 was the start of the very first Olympic Winter Games. Two hundred and fifty-eight athletes from 16 countries took part in six different sports. Canada’s hockey team made their mark by scoring a whopping 122 goals in the competition! They took home Team Canada’s first-ever gold for hockey, and it wouldn’t be the last.
National teams from Canada and the USA in action during an ice hockey match at the Winter Olympic Games at Chamonix. (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)
1928 — St. Moritz, Switzerland
There were some memorable firsts at these Olympics, like the first-ever skeleton event. This sport involves an athlete lying face-down on a sled and travelling headfirst through a track. The sled picks up loads of speed during the race, sometimes travelling faster than 130 km/hr! Canada didn’t compete in this event, but we did manage to win a gold medal at the games. Can you guess the sport? Yes, it was hockey — again!
The Canadian hockey team poses with the 1928 Olympic Cup in St. Moritz, Switzerland on Feb. 27, 1928.
(The Canadian Press)
1932 — Lake Placid, United States
Forty-two Canadians competed at these Winter Games — a new record for Canada. It was also the games where Canada broke through and won a total of seven medals, including their first medals for figure skating and speed skating. Team Canada took home five bronze medals, one silver and a gold for — you guessed it — hockey!
Canada’s men’s ski team at the Lake Placid 1932 Olympic Winter Games.
1936 — Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
These were the first games where reporters for TV and radio covered the different events.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t the best showing by Canada. We collected one medal, a silver for hockey. But there was a Canadian connection to the winning team, Great Britain. Even though nine of the 10 men were born in Britain, they had moved to Canada as children and learned to play hockey from the very best!
An ice hockey match between the USA and Canada during the Winter Olympics at Garmisch-Partenkirchen in 1936.
(Photo by Central Press/Getty Images)
1948 — St. Moritz, Switzerland
Due to World War II, there was a 12-year wait for the next Winter Games. When the games were brought back, they returned to St. Moritz in Switzerland. Canada was also back, winning the gold for hockey. A bronze went to figure skaters Suzanne Morrow and Wallace Diestelmeyer in the pairs event, too. But the big moment was in the ladies competition, when Barbara Ann Scott made history. She became the first Canadian woman to win gold at the Winter Olympics.
Photographers watching the Canadian figure skater, Barbara Ann Scott, training before the 1948 Winter Olympics at St Moritz, Switzerland.
(Photo by Chris Ware/Keystone/Getty Images)
1952 — Oslo, Norway
These were the first Olympic Games (summer or winter) to be opened by a woman, Princess Ragnhild of Norway. Women were also allowed to compete in cross-country skiing for the first time. Technology was also on the move. Computers were now being used to calculate scores for figure skating, so skaters could get their results straight after their performance.
Canada picked up a bronze and a gold at these games. Speed skater Gordon Audley won the bronze for the 500 metre race. And the gold was for hockey (of course), but sadly, this would be the last one for 50 years.
Brochure from the 1952 Oslo Olympic Winter Games.
1956 — Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy
The Soviet Union joined the Winter Games for the first time, and they joined with a bang! They won more medals than any other country, picking up a total of 16 medals, including seven golds. Canada had their own triumphs with a silver medal in pairs’ figure skating, a bronze for the hockey team and bronze for downhill skier Lucile Wheeler. Wheeler’s medal was the first-ever skiing medal for a Canadian athlete. Score!
Denis Brodeur, the first line goalkeeper of Canada's ice hockey team during a practice match. (Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)
1960 — Squaw Valley, United States
Canada was back in form for these Winter Games, claiming four medals: two gold, one silver and one bronze. Anne Heggtveit made history as she won Canada’s first Olympic gold in skiing. Canada was also having an impact in figure skating, winning a gold in the pairs’ event and a bronze in the men’s event. Team Canada’s hockey team picked up the silver medal.
A picture of Anne Heggtveit, an Olympian, on the slopes.
1964 — Innsbruck, Austria
Not surprisingly, snow is an important part of the Winter Games. That’s why Austria was panicking when they had the mildest winter in over 50 years — there wasn’t enough snow! The Austrian army had to carve 20,000 blocks of ice from a mountainside and carry mounds and mounds of snow to racetracks and skiing slopes.
But Canada wasn’t distracted. We picked up a gold, a silver and a bronze. The gold was an impressive win by the four-man bobsleigh team. It was Canada’s first go at the event and they shattered the track record along the way.
Canada’s record-breaking bobsleigh team (Peter Kirby, Doug Anakin, John Emery, and Vic Emery) during their final run. (Photo by Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
1968 — Grenoble, France
It was a repeat medal count for Canada at these Winter Olympics: one gold, one silver, and one bronze. The gold and silver both went to Nancy Greene for slalom. Slalom is a ski race that follows a winding path between gates (pairs of poles). She was the first Canadian woman to win two medals at the Winter Games. The bronze was won by Canada’s hockey team.
And for the first time, TV audiences could watch all the excitement of the competition in colour.
Nancy Greene celebrates after winning her gold medal. (STAFF/AFP/Getty Images)
1972 — Sapporo, Japan
This was the first time an Asian city hosted the Olympic Winter Games. And Japanese skier Yukio Kasaya gave home fans plenty to cheer about when he won Japan’s first-ever Olympic Winter gold. Spain also won their first gold for men’s slalom. Canada picked up yet another figure skating medal — this one a silver for skater Karen Magnussen.
Practise makes perfect. Japanese skater Tomoo Kurosawa carries a torch during a rehearsal for the opening ceremony. (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
1976 — Innsbruck, Austria
Back to Austria! But Innsbruck wasn’t meant to be hosting the Winter Games this time around. Denver, Colorado, in the United States had won the bid to host. But after the people in Colorado voted against using public funds for the games, Denver had to pull out. So after only 12 years, Innsbruck was back up as hosts. Canada was also back up on the podium, winning a gold, silver and bronze. Way to go!
Canadian teen Kathy Kreiner (centre) celebrates her gold medal win in the giant slalom event. (STAFF/AFP/Getty Images)
1980 — Lake Placid, United States
Another familiar host, but a very different set-up. To make sure the winter events had the best conditions, artificial snow was used for the very first time.
Canada picked up a silver and a bronze at these games. Speed skater Gaétan Boucher won the silver by coming in second to American Eric Heiden in the 1000 metre race. Heiden swept all five speed skating events and set an Olympic record in each. He also became the first person to win five gold medals in one Olympics. Talk about making history!
Gaétan Boucher is shown competing in the 1984 Sarajevo Olympics. (CP PHOTO)
1984 — Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Remember Gaétan Boucher? Well, he was Canada’s hero at this Olympics, picking up two gold medals and one bronze. Figure skater Brian Orser was already making a name for himself, and he added to this by picking up a silver for the men’s event. Speaking of figure skating, British duo Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean made history. They were awarded perfect presentation marks by every judge for one of their ice dance performances.
Crowds and athletes from all over the world at the opening ceremony. (STAFF/AFP/Getty Images)
1988 — Calgary, Canada
The Olympic Winter Games finally make it to Canada! On home ground, Team Canada picked up five medals. Brian Orser won another Olympic silver for men’s figure skating, while Elizabeth Manley won a silver medal for women’s skating. More figure skating success followed as Tracy Wilson and Rob McCall became the first Canadian ice dancers to win an Olympic medal, this one a bronze. Skier Karen Percy finished up the medal count with another two bronzes.
Calgary kicks off the Winter Games in style on 13th February, 1988.
(JONATHAN UTZ/AFP/Getty Images)
1992 — Albertville, France
Canada equalled their all-time medal count at these games, picking up another seven: two gold, three silver and two bronze. Female downhill skier Kerin Lee-Gartner won Canada’s first-ever gold for the event. Meanwhile, the new short-track speed race was a success for the women’s team, which won gold, and the men’s team, which won silver. The men’s hockey team was also back on the podium after 24 years with a silver medal.
Kerrin Lee-Garnter shows off her medal during the Olympic Games in Albertville, France. (Rick Stewart /Allsport)
1994 — Lillehammer, Norway
The games in Lillehammer were the only ones that took place two years apart from the last games. This was so there would be a two-year gap between the Winter Games and Summer Games going forward. A change in schedule didn’t slow down Team Canada! They smashed their previous medal record by picking up 13 medals: three gold, six silver and four bronze.
Canadian Jean-Luc Brassard during a freestyle skiing event. Brassard won gold! (Chris Cole/ALLSPORT)
1998 — Nagano, Japan
Canada did even better this time around (this is going to be a pattern). We picked up 15 medals at these games, including a whopping six gold medals! Our speed skaters were on fire again, collecting nine of the 15 medals. There were some fun firsts at these games, too: women were allowed to compete in ice hockey, staff uniforms had to be made from recyclable materials and a bunch of new countries, including Kenya and Venezuela, took part in the Winter Games.
Canada’s gold medal speed-skating team (Eric Bedard, Derrick Nathan Campbell, Francois Drolet, and Marc Gagnon). They won the 5000 m short-track relay. (Gary M. Prior/Staff/Getty Images)
2002 — Salt Lake City, United States
Seventeen medals at these games. Team Canada just keeps getting better! With her bronze medal, Canadian Beckie Scott became the first North American to win a medal in cross-country skiing pursuit. The men’s hockey team was back in form winning another gold medal. The women’s team also won gold at these games — their first. Go Canada go!
The big story of these games was the unfair judging in the pairs’ figure skating competition. There was a big investigation that led to Canadians Jamie Salé and David Pelletier being upgraded to a gold medal. The scoring system was also changed to the points system used today.
(TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
2006 — Turin, Italy
Turin was the largest city to host the Olympic Winter Games. And that wasn’t the only record being set. Canada won a total of 24 medals — our highest total up to that point. Speed skater Cindy Klassen became Canada’s most decorated Olympian ever. She won FIVE medals in these games. Another speed skater, Clara Hughes, picked up a gold, too. Way to make Canada proud!
Cindy Klassen with all five of her medals: one gold, two silver, and two bronze. (TORSTEN SILZ/AFP/Getty Images)
2010 — Vancouver, Canada
The games were back in Canada, and we were ready! Canada won a total of 26 medals, a new record for us, but this included 14 gold medals. The most ever won by a country at the Winter Games.
Some of the biggest moments?
A first-ever Canadian gold for ice dancing went to Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir. Clara Hughes won a bronze for speed skating, her sixth Olympic medal, tying her with Cindy Klassen as Canada’s most decorated Olympian. And how can we forget THAT goal by Sidney Crosby, which led to another hockey gold.
Sidney Crosby #87 of Canada waves a national flag following his team's 3-2 overtime victory during the ice hockey men's gold medal game between USA and Canada. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
2014 — Sochi, Russia
222. That’s the number of athletes Canada sent to these games. It was our largest team ever, and they didn’t disappoint. Team Canada picked up 25 medals: 10 gold, 10 silver and five bronze. Our freestyle skiers raked in nine of our 25 medals — the most by any country for that sport. The women’s hockey team won their fourth straight gold medal, too.
Speaking of fourth, that’s where Canada finished in the overall medal count. Not bad when you’re competing against 87 other countries!
The women’s hockey team celebrates their win. Three players — Hayley Wickenheiser, Jayna Hefford, and Caroline Ouellette — became the first Canadian athletes to win four Olympic golds back to back. Take a bow!
(AP Photo/Petr David Josek, File)
2018 — PyeongChang, South Korea
Ready for the next Winter Games? Well, they’re almost here! From February 9th – 25th, there will be 102 exciting events to follow. And these will be the first games with over 100 gold medals to hand out. Team Canada will definitely be collecting some of those.
Let’s go, Canada!
The Winter Olympic Games mascot, a white tiger named Soohorang (left) with Bandabi the bear, the mascot for the Winter Paralympic Games.
(JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)