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When and where were the first Winter Olympic Games held?

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The first Olympic games were held in the Greek city-state Olympia. The games can be traced back to 776 BCE.

Chamonix, France, in 1924



The first international multi-sport event specifically for winter sports were the Nordic Games, held in 1901 in Sweden. The Nordic Games were organized by General Viktor Gustaf Balck. They were held again in 1903, again in 1905, and then every four years there after until 1926. Balck was a charter member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and a close personal friend of Olympic Games founder Pierre de Coubertin. He attempted to have winter sports, specifically figure skating, added to the Olympic programme. Balck was unsuccessful until the 1908 Summer Olympics in London, which featured four figure skating events. Ulrich Salchow (10 time World champion) and Madge Syers won the individual titles.
Three years later, Italian count Eugenio Brunetta d'Usseaux proposed that the IOC stage a week with winter sports as part of the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm. The organizers opposed this idea, their reasoning was two-fold: they desired to protect the integrity of the Nordic Games; and they were concerned about a lack of facilities that could accommodate winter sports. The idea was resurrected for the 1916 Games, which were to be held in Berlin. A winter sports week with speed skating, figure skating, ice hockey and Nordic skiing was planned, but the 1916 Olympics were cancelled after the outbreak of World War I.
The first Olympics after the war, the 1920 Games in Antwerp featured figure skating with the addition of ice hockey. At the IOC Congress held the following year, it was decided that the organizers of the 1924 Summer Olympics, France, would also host a separate "International Winter Sports Week", under the patronage of the IOC. This "week" (it actually lasted 11 days) of events in Chamonix proved to be a great success. More than 200 athletes from 16 nations, competed in 16 events. Fewer than 15 of the athletes were women and they were only allowed to compete in figure skating events. Finnish and Norwegian athletes dominated the events. In 1925 the IOC decided to create a separate Olympic Winter Games, and the 1924 Games in Chamonix were retroactively designated as the first Winter Olympics.
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