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The Winter Olympics
Part 2: Training and Competition

The Winter Olympics is an important event is the lives of thousand of athletes. They work very hard for years at a time in hopes of competing in the Winter Games. Some athletes have full-time jobs and find it difficult to find time to train. Others are professional athletes and spend most of their time training. Many sports have national and world championships, but the Olympics are considered to be more prestigious because they happen only every four years and because they are usually attended by many more athletes.

Many sports also have qualifying events. Figure skating is a well-known example of this. Most countries have "trials," events that resemble the Olympics and from which the athletes who score the highest go on to the Games themselves. Other sports, such as hockey, have captains who choose the best players they can find. The idea beyond both approaches is to send a counry's best athletes to the Olympics.

Many of the world's largest nations watch closely how many medals their athletes win. Other athletes are happy just to make it to the Games; for them, it's all about the experience and the camaraderie.

Like the Summer Olympics, the Winter Games take place in and around a city that has access to the kinds of venues that will faciliate Olympic competition. The first Winter Games took place in Chamonix, France, in 1924, with 292 athletes from 16 nations competing in 18 events. Since then, the Games have grown considerably. At the 2002 Winter Olympics, in Salt Lake City, Utah, a total 2,399 athletes from 77 nations competed in 78 events.

The country that has played host to the most Winter Olympics is the United States, with four. Check out the table below for a complete rundown.

Year
Place
Country
1924
Chamonix
France
1928
St. Moritz
Switerland
1932
Lake Placid, NY
United States
1936
Garmisch-
Partenkirchen
Germany
1948
St. Moritz
Switzerland
1952
Oslo
Norway
1956
Cortina d'Ampezzo
Italy
1960
Squaw Valley, California
United States
1964
Innsbruck
Austria
1968
Grenoble
France
1972
Sapporo
Japan
1976
Innsbruck
Austria
1980
Lake Placid, NY
United States
1984
Sarajveo
Yugoslavia
1988
Calgary, Alberta
Canada
1992
Albertville
France
1994
Lillehammer
Norway
1998
Nagano
Japan
2002
Salt Lake City, Utah
United States

First page > An Introduction > Page 1, 2

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