Memorable moments in Winter Games history

We love the Winter Olympics. Ice, snow, amazing athletes performing incredible feats -- and we get to watch it all from the comfort of our favorite chair.

In anticipation of the fun that kicks off with Friday's opening ceremony in Canada at Vancouver's BC Place, we present a brief history of some of the more memorable moments from Winter Games past.


Chamonix, France

Initially organized as International Winter Sports Week, the Games at Chamonix were not officially recognized as the first Winter Olympics by the International Olympic Committee until 1925. Five sports were represented: Nordic skiing, figure skating, speedskating, bobsled and hockey.

Canada established its reign as hockey champion by winning the gold in the first four Winter Olympics.

Charles Jewtraw won the United States' only gold medal, in the 500-meter speedskating event.


St. Moritz, Switzerland

The second Winter Olympics used the facilities of an established ski resort. It also was the first time since World War I that the Germans were admitted into any Olympic competition.

The Games at St. Moritz were the only time that bobsled teams could have five men instead of four. The United States placed first and second in the event.


Lake Placid, United States

Due to the Depression, turnout was low, with only 17 nations participating. Half of the athletes were from the United States or Canada. Dog-sledding was included as a demonstration sport.

The U.S. bobsled team captured gold for the second time in a row. Team member Eddie Eagan became the only person to win a gold medal in both the Winter and Summer Olympics. He already had a gold in boxing from the 1920 Summer Games.


Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany

The Germans saw these Winter Games as a prelude to the Summer Games in Berlin. An attempt by German emigrants in the United States for a national boycott failed.

Ivan Brown and Alan Washbond (United States) won gold in the two-man bobsled.

Sonja Henie (Norway) won her third consecutive gold medal, making her the most successful individual Olympic female figure skater.


The Games were scheduled to be held in Sapporo, Japan, but war with China caused Japan to pull out. Germany volunteered, but World War II forced cancellation of the Winter Olympics until 1948.


St. Moritz, Switzerland

The popularity of Alpine skiing increased, and slalom and downhill events were added. The winter pentathlon (cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, fencing, shooting and horse-riding) was held as a demonstration sport.

Henri Oreiller (France) won two golds and one bronze in Alpine skiing and was the most successful athlete of the 1948 Winter Games.

Barbara Ann Scott (Canada) became the first North American to win a gold in figure skating.


Oslo, Norway

Germany and Japan were allowed to compete for the first time since World War II. The Oslo Games marked the first time the Olympics were held in a Scandinavian country.

Andrea Mead (United States) was victorious in the slalom and giant slalom, becoming the first U.S. athlete to win two golds in a Winter Olympics.

Richard Button (United States) won his second gold and was the first to perform a triple jump in the figure-skating competition.


Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy

An Italian television station provided the first Winter Olympics live coverage. "Eurovision" allowed parts of Central Europe to watch competition.

The United States swept the men's figure-skating competition. Gold went to Hayes Alan Jenkins, silver to Ronald Robertson and bronze to David Jenkins, Hayes' younger brother.

The new Soviet hockey team upset Canada in the finals and took the gold undefeated.


Squaw Valley, United States

The opening and closing ceremonies were stage-managed by Walt Disney, chairman of the Olympic Pageantry Committee. South Africa was represented for the first and last time until 1994. Figure-skating events moved indoors.

Georg Thoma (Germany) became the first non-Scandinavian to win the Nordic combined.


Innsbruck, Austria

Computers helped officials time and judge events. Mild weather prompted the Austrian military to truck in snow. Luge made its Olympic debut.

Lidiya Skoblikova (USSR) captured all the golds in women's speedskating.

Ortrun Enderlein (Germany) won gold in the first women's Olympic luge event.


Grenoble, France

For the first time, there were two separate German teams competing in an Olympics.

Peggy Fleming (United States) took home the gold in women's figure skating.

Jean-Claude Killy (France), the host country's favorite son, won gold medals in all three Alpine skiing events. The Games were dubbed the "Killympics."


Sapporo, Japan

The Sapporo Games were the first Winter Olympics held outside of Europe and the United States. They also marked the first time all three medals in one discipline were won by a non-European country (Japan, in the normal hill ski jump).

Galina Kulakova (USSR) captured three gold medals in women's cross-country skiing.

Speedskater Dianne Holum (United States) won a gold (1,500 meters) and silver (3,000 meters). She would later coach Eric Heiden to the 1976 and 1980 Games.


Innsbruck, Austria

The Games were originally awarded to Denver but later nixed by Colorado voters. Innsbruck used facilities from the 1964 Games.

Speedskater Sheila Young (United States) captured gold, silver and bronze medals, making her the first U.S. athlete to win three medals at a single Winter Olympics.

Ice dancing made its Olympic debut. Ludmilla Pakhomova and Alexander Gorshkov (USSR) took the first gold medal.


Lake Placid, United States

The second Lake Placid Games marked the first use of artificial snow in Olympic competition.

Eric Heiden (United States) won five gold medals in speedskating.

Alexander Saizev and Irina Rodnina (USSR) won gold in pairs figure skating. It was her third consecutive gold medal.

The U.S. hockey "Dream Team" defeated the Soviets, who had taken gold since 1964.


Sarajevo, Yugoslavia

It was the first and only time the Olympics were held in a socialist country.

Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean (Great Britain) scored the first perfect scores in ice dancing and won the gold.

Scott Hamilton (United States) took the gold medal in figure skating.

Phil Mahre and his brother Steve (United States) placed first and second in the slalom event.


The IOC voted to have the Summer and Winter Olympics in different years starting in 1994. The Games would be held alternately every two years, with the Winter Games in the same years as soccer's World Cup.


Calgary, Canada

For the first time since 1968, demonstration sports (curling, short-track speedskating and freestyle skiing) were included. Speedskating events were moved indoors.

Alberto Tomba (Italy) took two gold medals in the men's slalom.

Bonnie Blair (United States) captured the first of three consecutive gold medals in the 500-meter speedskating event.


Albertville, France

Germany was once again represented by one team. The Russian republics, with the exception of Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia, competed on the Unified Team.

Nordic skier Lyubov Yegorova (Unified Team) won three golds and two silvers, making her the most successful female athlete in Albertville.

World champion Kristi Yamaguchi (United States) garnered the gold medal in women's figure skating.


Lillehammer, Norway

The South African team returned after 34 years. Each Russian republic had its own team.

Johann Koss (Norway) garnered three gold medals in speedskating and set a world record in each event.

Speedskater Bonnie Blair (United States) won two gold medals for a grand total of five, making her the most successful U.S. female Winter Games athlete.

Drama lingered in the women's figure-skating competition as Nancy Kerrigan faced her U.S. teammate Tonya Harding, who was investigated for plotting to disable Kerrigan before the Games. Ukraine's Oksana Baiul took home the gold medal and Kerrigan the silver.


Nagano, Japan

The Olympics returned to Japan after 26 years. Three sports -- curling, snowboarding and women's hockey -- made their medal debut. For the first time, the NHL suspended its season to allow the best professional players to participate in the Games.

The Japanese ski-jumping team won four medals, including a gold in the team event.

Hermann Maier (Austria) won the gold in the giant and super giant slalom after recovering from a crash in the downhill.

Cross-country skier Bjørn Dæhlie (Norway) won three golds and one silver, giving him an unprecedented 12 total Winter Olympic medals (eight gold).


Salt Lake City, United States

Women's bobsledding made its first appearance at the Winter Games. Jill Bakken and Vonetta Flowers (United States) won the gold medal.

A vote-swapping scandal led to two gold medals being awarded in pairs figure skating -- one to Russia's Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze and one to Canada's Jamie Sale and David Pelletier.

In the short-track speedskating women's 500-meter final, Yang Yang (A) (China) won China's first-ever Winter Olympic gold medal.


Torino, Italy

More than 2,500 athletes from more than 80 nations participated in the Torino Games, breaking Olympic records.

Albania, Ethiopia and Madagascar were represented in their first Winter Games, and snowboard cross and speedskating team pursuit made their debut.

Canada's Duff Gibson became the oldest athlete to win gold in an individual event, winning the skeleton at 39 years and 150 days old.

In his Winter Games debut, professional skateboarder and snowboarder Shaun White (United States), the first athlete to win both Summer and Winter X Games titles, won gold in the men's snowboarding halfpipe.


Vancouver, Canada

Canada plays host to the 2010 Winter Games for the second time. The Vancouver Games will be spread across a 74.5-mile (120-kilometer) radius that includes the popular mountain resort of Whistler. Ski cross -- an event in which four to six skiers race against each other down a course featuring rollers, jumps and banked turns -- makes its medal debut.