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The first official Winter Olympics were held in 1924 in Chamonix, France. Athletes arrived from 16 countries with over 200 participants taking part in a small selection of events. In 1928 the games were held in St Moritz but it was not until 1932 that the games first took place outside of Europe when they were awarded to Lake Place in the United States of America. The Lake Placid games were not too successful due to the lack of snow and the Great Depression that was taking place.In 1936 the games went back to Europe when Germany hosted them, and these marked the last Winter Olympics for 12 years due to the Second World War.In 1948 St Moritz was awarded the Winter Olympics for the second time by the IOC mainly due to the fact that Switzerland had been mainly untouched by the devastation of the war. All in all 28 countries competed in the games nearly double the amount from the first games held in 1924.Oslo in Norway hosted the 1952 games and the 1956 games were awarded to Italy which was the first Winter Olympics to be televised. In 1960 America again was the host in Squaw Valley.In 1964 the games again came back to Europe in the Austrian town of Innsbruck and stayed in Europe in 1968 when Grenoble in France was chosen to host. The 1968 event was the first to be televised in colour.In 1972 Sapporo in Japan hosted the games, the first time they were held outside of Europe or America. 35 Nations took part in the event with China and the Philippines taking part for the first ever time.Denver in America was originally awarded the 1976 games but the people of Colorado expressed their opposition to the event and in a state referendum opted against hosting them. Innsbruck in Austria stepped in and took over with much of the infrastructure still in place from 1964.In 1980 the games were back in America with Lack Placid getting the event for the first time since 1932. 36 nations took part in the tournament with the Soviet Union leading the medal table with 10 gold medals in total. 1984 saw the games in Europe again in Yugoslavia, a record 49 countries took part with Egypt, Monaco, Puerto Rico, Senegal and Virgin Islands taking part for the first time, East Germany headed the medal table with 9 Gold medals.In 1988 Calgary in Canada took over hosting rights, the games were highly successful with 57 nations taking part in the events, the Soviet Union regained the top spot in the medals table with East Germany close behind.The 1992 games held in Savoie in France were the last ones to be held at the same year as the Summer Olympics. 64 Nations took part in the games, with the recently unified Germany taking part as one nation for the first time since 1964, with the German team running out winners of the medal table with 10 Gold Medals.The 1994 games were held in Lillehammer, Norway and gained notoriety over the Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan incident, whereby Hardings husband deliberately injured Kerrigan to try and keep her from the games. 67 nations took part with Russia leading the medals table with 11 Gold medals.In 1998 Japan hosted the games for the second time with over 2000 participants taking part from 72 countries.The 19th Winter Olympics and the first of the 21st Century were hosted by Salt Lake City in the USA in 2002, 78 nations took part in the games with Norway leading the table with 13 Gold Medals.The last Winter Olympics to be held were hosted by Turin in Italy, with over 80 Nations taking part. In 2010 the games will be held in Vancouver in Canada with a record number of countries predicted to enter.
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