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18 Facts About The Winter Olympics That'll Completely Blow Your Damn Mind

The youngest competitor in Winter Olympics history was 11 years old.

1. The Biathlon is the only Winter Olympic event the US has not medaled in

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Despite hauling in 282 medals in 23 games, dating back to the first Winter Olympics in 1924, the biathlon is the only event that the US has never landed a podium spot in.

2. Curling is one of the oldest team sports

Pieter Bruegel the Elder / Via

While the exact origin of curling is unknown, the sport can be traced back to the 1500s. In the 1565 paining The Hunters in the Snow by artist Pieter Bruegel the Elder (seen above), you can see a sport being played on the lake that mimics curling. According to the World Curling Federation, the first written evidence of the sport was recorded in 1540.

3. 10,004 people were paid to watch the Olympics in 1924


The 1924 Olympics in Chamonix, France were the first Winter Olympic games. Perhaps in a way to ensure it would be a success, 10,004 people were paid to watch.

4. Not having enough snow and having too much snow have both been a problem in the Winter Olympics


During the 1964 Innsbruck games there was not enough snow to properly set up the events. Because of this, Austrian soldiers had to haul giant blocks of snow and ice from the Austrian mountains for the ski slopes and luge events.

34 years later during the 1998 Nagano games, the games were disrupted because there was too much snow in the area.

5. Norway has more Winter Olympic gold medals than any other country

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Despite sharing a population similar to Colorado, Norway entered the 2014 Sochi Games with a record of 107 gold medals and 303 total medals. Norway is also one of three countries that has won more medals in the Winter Games than the Summer Games.

6. Figure Skating and Hockey were originally a part of the Summer Games


Due to there not being a Winter Olympics at the time, figure skating made its Olympic debut in October 1908 at the London Summer Games (back when the games would stretch over the course of several months). Figure skating returned, along with ice hockey, in April 1920 during the Antwerp Summer Olympics. Four years later, the Winter Olympics made its debut.

7. Horses and dogs were once a part of the Winter Games

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In the 1928 Winter Games there was an event called skijoring. Competitors on skis raced each other as they were towed by riderless horses. Skijoring was a demonstration event during these games, so no medals were awarded and the event was not held in future Olympics.

In the 1932 Lake Placid Winter Games, dog sledding was a demonstration event that also never returned to the Olympics.

8. Eddie Eagan is the only person to win a gold medal in the Winter and Summer Olympics in different events

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American Eddie Eagan won gold in the light-heavyweight boxing event in the 1920 Antwerp Summer Games. 12 years later, he was a member of the four-man bobsled team that won gold in the 1932 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid.

9. Two separate US men’s hockey teams arrived at the 1948 Olympics

FOX / Via Giphy

Boy, this is awkward... Two separate hockey teams (backed by rival hockey associations) arrived at the 1948 St. Moritz Winter Games, each claiming to be the rightful participant on America's behalf. The team backed by the American Hockey Association (which was composed of professional hockey players) was ultimately recognized as the official American team.

10. The granite used for curling stones is very rare

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Curling stones are made from a special granite that is found in only two quarries in the world: the Trefor Granite Quarry in Wales and the Scottish island of Ailsa Craig.

11. The PyeongChang Winter Olympics cost $10 billion and is still not the most expensive Winter Olympics


The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi cost $50 billion — five times the amount of money as the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, which cost $10 billion.

12. The 2014 Winter Olympics was the first year women were allowed to participate in ski jump

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13. Fake snow was used in the Olympics for the first time in 1980

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During the 1980 Winter Olympics at Lake Placid, they had to use machines to produce fake snow for the first time to guarantee that all events took place in the best possible conditions.

14. The youngest competitor in Winter Olympics history was 11 years old

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Representing Great Britain, figure skater Cecilia Colledge was only 11 years old when she competed in the 1932 Winter Olympics.

The youngest competitor at the 2018 PyeongChang Games, representing China, is Ski Halfpipe competitor Wu Meng at only 15 years old.

15. The oldest competitor in Winter Olympics history was 58 years old

Wikicommons / Via

Representing Sweden, curler Carl August Kronlund (left) was 58 years old when he competed in the first ever Winter Olympics in 1924.

The oldest competitor at the 2018 PyeongChang Games, representing Canada, is curling alternate Cheryl Bernard at 51 years old.

16. The nation of Kazakhstan will pay big bucks if you win a gold medal

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In 2014, any Kazakhstani athlete who won gold would earn $250,000 for their efforts. Unfortunately, the nation only took home one medal and it was bronze.

Other nations also participated in this method of getting a gold medal. Latvia has offered its athletes $192,000 for a gold medal, while Ukranian gold medalists were offered $150,000.

17. Only 36 countries (out of 195 countries in the world) have won a gold medal at the Winter Olympics

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Only 44 countries have ever won a medal of any type in the Winter Olympics, compared with 147 that have won a medal at the Summer Olympics.

Surprisingly enough, Iceland is one of the countries that has never medaled at the Winter Olympics.

18. And the Olympic Village has provided athletes with condoms since the 1988 Games


Due to the incredibly high percentage of athletes who participate in sex during their time at the Olympics, it's probably a good idea to help them be as safe as possible.

At the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics, 110,000 condoms will be handed out to 2,925 athletes. That's about 37 per athlete.

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