Looking Back: Photos From the First 12 Winter Olympics

With the world's attention focused on Sochi, I thought it would be interesting to take a look back at some of the earliest Winter Olympics. At the first Winter Games in 1924 in Chamonix, France, 16 countries sent 250 athletes to compete in familiar sports like bobsleigh and hockey. The 1936 Winter Olympics were held in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, in Nazi Germany, after which the Games were cancelled until 1948 due to World War II. The photos below are from Olympic Winter Games I-XII, which took place from 1924 to 1976.
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1. In 1976, members of the West German luge team, Elisabeth Demleitner and Stephan Hoelzlwimmer, wear the latest design in helmets during a practice session on the Olympic Luge course in Innsbruck, Austria, on Friday, on January 30, 1976.




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2. The United States Winter Olympic team participates in the opening ceremonies for the I Winter Olympics in Chamonix, France, on January 25, 1924.




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3. Driven by Hubert Stevens of Lake Placid, the US two-man Olympic bobsled team photographed at Shady Corner at Lake Placid, New York, on February 9, 1932, when the U.S. team established a new world record of 2 minutes 5.88 seconds. Led by Stevens again February 10, the team twice smashed the world record for two-man bobsled and won a gold medal for the United States.




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4. Winners of the 5,000-meter speed skating event stand on the podium at the III Winter Olympic Games at Lake Placid, New York, on February 4, 1932. Irving Jaffee, center, of United States won the gold medal, Edward Murphy, left, of the United States, won the silver medal, and Bill Logan of Canada won the bronze medal.




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5. German Chancelloer Adolf Hitler and Henri de Baillet-Latour, President of the International Olympic Committee, attend the opening of the IV Winter Olympics in 1936.




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6. Members of the U.S. Olympic team march behind the American flag into the ski stadium in the snow during opening ceremonies of the IV Winter Olympic Games in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, on February 6, 1936. There were 668 athletes participating from 28 nations.




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7. A sad spill in the second elimination race of the Olympic four-man bobsled, on February 19, 1936. The Italian sled Italia 2 failed to take a curve and catapulted its crew into the air. Two were slightly hurt. The crew were Francesco De Zana, Uberto Gillarduzi, Amedeo Angeli, and Ernesto Fiancheschi.




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8. The lighting of the Olympic flame in the ice stadium at St. Mortiz, Switzerland, on January 30, 1948, at the opening of the V Olympic Winter Games.




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9. From left, Barbara Ann Scott, Marion Ruth Take, and Susanne Morrow, members of the Canadian Winter Olympic team, March in the opening parade at the ice stadium in St. Moritz, Switzerland, on January 30, 1948.




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10. Dick Button of Englewood, New Jersey, executes a jump during a practice session at St. Moritz, Switzerland, on January 19, 1948, in preparation for the Winter Olympics of 1948.




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11. Competing in the first run of the Olympic two-man bobsled competition is the French second team, W.G. Hirigoyen and L. Saint-Calbre, on January 30, 1948, St. Moritz, Switzerland.




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12. Hijo Chang Lee of Korea, left, and A. Huiskes of Holland, compete in the 500 meter Olympic speedskating, at St Moritz, Switzerland, on January 31, 1948.




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13. Andrea Mead, 15, of Rutland, Vermont, speeds past flag markers during competition in the Olympic women's slalom event at St. Moritz, Switzerland, on February 4, 1948.




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14. Gustav Allain Lindh of Sweden passes the finish line in the Winter Olympic Pentathlon Horsemanship, which he won, on February 4, 1948, St. Moritz, Switzerland.




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15. Shooting in the pistol section of the Olympic Pentathlon competition, from right to left is Sdt. Griessler of Austria, Capt. John Walker of Great Britain, and Hauptmann Scriber, on February 1, 1948, in St. Moritz, Switzerland.




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16. J. Crammond of Britain wins the first half of the Olympic Skeleton Race on the Cresta run, on February 3, 1948, St. Moritz, Switzerland.




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17. The Canadian ice hockey team raises a cheer at the announcement made at the St. Moritz ice stadium that they had won the Winter Games hockey tournament, on February 8, 1948.




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18. A view from the top of the Holenkollen ski jump near Oslo, Norway, during the VI Olympic Winter games, on February 24, 1952.




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19. Thousands of spectators blanket the snow-covered background at Holmenkollen, Oslo, Norway, February 24, 1952 as Norwegian ski jumper Arnfinn Bergmann soars through the air for the win.




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20. Andreas Ostler of Germany pilots his four-man bobsled to victory in the Winter Olympics at Frognerseteren, Norway, on February 22, 1952. The team, front to rear, are Ostler, Friedrich Kuhn, Lorenz Nieberl and Franz Kemser.




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21. Spectators enter the ice stadium before the opening ceremony of the seventh Winter Olympic Games, in Cortina, Italy, on January 26, 1956.




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22. Russia's Ljubov Kozyreva wins the women's 10 kilometer cross country ski, at the seventh Winter Olympic Games, at Cortina, Italy, on January 28, 1956.




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23. To form a fresh smooth surface, lukewarm water is poured over the ice of the speed skating rink of Lake Misurina, where the 1956 Winter Olympics speed skating events will take place in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy, on January 13, 1956.




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24. President of the International Olympic Committee Avery Brundage, presents the medals to the winners of the Winter Olympic Games Ski Jump, at Cortina, Italy, on February 5, 1956. From left to right; Aulis Kallakorpi from Finland, Silver Medal; Antti Hyvarinen from Finland, Gold Medal; Harry Glass from East Germany, Bronze Medal.




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25. Team Australia in the Opening Ceremony of the 1960 Winter Olympics, in Squaw Valley, California.




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26. U.S. left wing Weldon Olson (left) and Miroslav Vlach, Czechoslovakian Olympic hockey team left wing, battle for puck behind the nets in the opening Olympic hockey match, February 19, 1960 in Squaw Valley, California. The United States team came from behind to win by a 7-5 score.




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27. Carol Heiss of United States is flanked by runners-up in the Olympic womens figure skating after the medal ceremonies in Squaw Valley, California, on February 21, 1960. At left is Sjoukje Dijkestra of the Netherlands who finished second, and at right is Barbara Roles of U.S., who took third.




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28. Members of the U.S. hockey team scramble on the ice for the puck a moment after they beat the highly-favored Canada team, 2-1, in the Winter Olympics at Squaw Valley, California, on February 25, 1960.




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29. Flames and smoke soar up as the Olympic flame is lit at the top of the Olympic Stadium at Innsbruck, Austria, for the IX Winter Games, on January 21, 1964.




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30. Ronnie D. Walters, front, and James G. Higgins, of the U.S. during a two-man toboggan practice run on course at IGLS near Innsbruck, Austria, on January 22, 1964.




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31. A competitor soars through the air during the IX Winter Olympic Games Men's 120-Meter Ski Jump event in Innsbruck, Austria, on February 9, 1964.




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32. Former Olympic figure skater, Alain Calmet of France, after lighting the Olympic Flame during the opening ceremony of the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble, France, on February 6, 1968.




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33. Peggy Fleming of Colorado Springs, Colorado, practices a stag leap while practicing for the X Winter Olympic Games at the Ice Stadium in Grenoble, France, on January 27, 1968.




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34. Peggy Fleming, U.S. figure skater shows off the medal she won in the Winter Olympics held in Grenoble, France, on February 1968.




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35. Daniel Carroll of St. Louis, Missouri, left, powers through falling snow to a good time of 7 minutes 44.72 seconds in the Olympic 5000 meter speed skating in the Makomanai Stadium in Sapporo, Japan, on February 4, 1972.




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36. Tyler Palmer from Kearsarge, New Hampshire, in action in men's slalom during the 11th Winter Olympic Games, on February 13, 1972 in Sapporo, Japan. He finished 9th.




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37. Gold Medal winner Italian skier Gustav Thöni, flanked by Swiss teammates Edmund Bruggmann (left) and Werner Mattle, smiles as he waves to the crowd during the medals ceremony of the men's giant slalom in Sapporo, Japan, on February 11, 1972.




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38. The opening ceremonies of the 1976 Winter Olympic games, back in Innsbruck, Austria, on February 4, 1976.




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39. Teams of various nations at the opening ceremonies of the 1976 Winter Olympic games, in Innsbruck, Austria, on February 4, 1976.




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40. Sergej Pavlov, the sports minister of the Soviet Union, makes a film of the Soviet Olympic sports team during the flag hoisting ceremony in the Olympic Village in Innsbruck, on February 2, 1976.




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41. Team USA two-man bobsled run, during the Olympic Winter Games, on February 13, 1976, in Innsbruck, Austria.




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42. Dorothy Hamill, of Riverside, Connecticut, performs in the Women's Figure Skating event in Innsbruck, Austria, on February 13, 1976




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43. At the medal presentation for Womens Figure Skating in Innsbruck, Austria, on February 13, 1976. From left to right are Dianne De Leeuw, Netherlands, silver; Dorothy Hamill, USA, gold; and Christine Errath, East Germany, Bronze.