Winter Olympic Sports

list of sports in the winter olympicsIn the world of winter sports, there is no event more prestigious than the Winter Olympics. These Winter Games have produced some epic moments over the years, especially as the list of sports in the Winter Olympics has grown. So, here comes a guide explaining all you need to know about Winter Olympic sports.

Of course, there are other important winter sports events besides the Olympic Games, for example, the Audi FIS Ski World Cup Andorra 2024, which is coming to Grandvalira in the near future. The Grandvalira Avet Course is famous for being one of the best World Cup slopes around and historic moments and memories are made here.

Andorra, though, has never hosted the Winter Olympics. Here, below, comes a look at the countries that have been the host sites for the celebration of Winter Olympic sports for the past century.

A comprehensive list of Winter Sports in the Olympics

While there is excitement every time the Winter Olympics comes around, there is also a bit of confusion among the general public when it comes to what sport is played at the Winter Olympics. To answer that question, here comes a detailed list of sports in the Winter Olympics:

  • Alpine skiing
  • Biathlon
  • Bobsleigh
  • Cross-country skiing
  • Curling
  • Figure skating
  • Freestyle skiing
  • Ice hockey
  • Luge
  • Nordic combined
  • Short track speed skating
  • Skeleton
  • Ski jumping
  • Snowboarding
  • Speed skating

Every one of the 15 Winter Olympic sports or disciplines listed above was part of the programme at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

Of course, within each of the Winter Olympic sports, there are then different disciplines and then different medal events. For example, skiing is broken down into alpine skiing, cross-country skiing and freestyle skiing. Then, for another example, alpine skiing is broken down further into the downhill, super G, giant slalom, slalom, alpine combined and mixed parallel slalom medal events.

The evolution of Winter Olympic Sports

It’s also worth keeping in mind that the answer to the question of ‘What are the winter sports in the Olympics?’ has changed over time. While there were 15 disciplines at the Winter Olympics 2022, the list of sports in the Winter Olympics has been changing over the editions and the years.

Looking at the years of the Winter Olympics, the very first official Winter Olympics came in 1924 and the Games were held in Chamonix, France. That Olympic Games date was significant, as there had been calls for a winter version of the Summer Games for some time beforehand.

The list of sports in the 1924 Winter Olympics was much smaller than the current one, with just five sports and nine disciplines. Those first five Winter Olympic sports were: Bobsleigh, Curling, Ice Hockey, Skating and Nordic Skiing.

Over the next century, the top Winter Olympic sports have evolved slightly, often depending on the Winter Olympics locations. As is also the case with the Summer Games, the organisers will try to push for events that have a particular cultural significance in the host country.

Below comes a list of sports in the Winter Olympics by year:

  • 1924 (Chamonix, France): 6 sports, 9 disciplines
  • 1928 (St. Moritz, Switzerland): 4 sports, 8 disciplines
  • 1932 (Lake Placid, USA): 4 sports, 7 disciplines
  • 1936 (Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany): 4 sports, 8 disciplines
  • 1948 (St. Moritz, Switzerland): 4 sports, 9 disciplines
  • 1952 (Oslo, Norway): 4 sports, 8 disciplines
  • 1956 (Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy): 4 sports, 8 disciplines
  • 1960 (Squaw Valley, USA): 4 sports, 8 disciplines
  • 1964 (Innsbruck, Austria): 6 sports, 10 disciplines
  • 1968 (Grenoble, France): 6 sports, 10 disciplines
  • 1972 (Sapporo, Japan): 6 sports, 10 disciplines
  • 1976 (Innsbruck, Austria): 6 sports, 10 disciplines
  • 1980 (Lake Placid, USA): 6 sports, 10 disciplines
  • 1984 (Sarajevo, Yugoslavia): 6 sports, 10 disciplines
  • 1988 (Calgary, Canada): 6 sports, 10 disciplines
  • 1992 (Albertville, France): 6 sports, 12 disciplines
  • 1994 (Lillehammer, Norway): 6 sports, 12 disciplines
  • 1998 (Nagano, Japan): 7 sports, 14 disciplines
  • 2002 (Salt Lake City, USA): 7 sports, 15 disciplines
  • 2006: (Turin, Italy): 7 sports, 15 disciplines
  • 2010: (Vancouver, Canada): 7 sports, 15 disciplines
  • 2014: (Sochi, Russia): 7 sports, 15 disciplines
  • 2018: (Pyeongchang, South Korea): 7 sports, 15 disciplines
  • 2022 (Beijing, China): 7 sports, 15 disciplines

The eagle-eyed will have spotted from the above list of Winter Olympics locations that there was a change between 1992 and 1994, with the Winter Games moved to a different year from the Summer Games, in order to spread it out more. So, when people ask ‘When is the Winter Olympics 2023 or 2024?’ or ‘Where are the Winter Olympics held in 2023 or 2024?’, the answer is that there are no Winter Olympic sports in these years. The next edition will be the Winter Olympics 2026, which will be held in Milan and Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy.

Unforgettable moments in Winter Olympic Sports history

It’s clear to see that the list of sports in the Winter Olympics has grown over the years, but what are the winter sports in the Olympics that have produced the most unforgettable moments?

Well, one was in ice hockey and the game now known as ‘The Miracle on Ice’. This was in 1980 when the USA’s men’s ice hockey team looked to end the dominance of the Soviet Union. Playing on home soil, or home ice, an underdog USA team managed to produce the most incredible upset in the history of Winter Olympic sports.

Then, there have been moments or pure brilliance over the years, with examples of this being Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean’s ‘Boléro’ routine in figure skating in 1984, or Eddie the Eagle taking flight on his skis in 1988.

Another famous Winter Olympics moment was in 1988, with the story of the Jamaican bobsleigh team, which led to the famous movie ‘Cool Runnings’.

The cultural significance of Winter Olympic Sports

For certain countries, achieving gold medals in Winter Olympic sports is a real sign of prestige and cultural significance. That is the case with Norway, the all-time leader of the Winter Olympics medal table, with 405 total medals and 148 golds. The run of the Soviet Union was also culturally significant for that country at a time when it was cut off from the rest of the world.

At the end of the day, the Olympics is the Olympics and stepping up to the podium after achieving greatness in one of the Winter Olympic sports is about as special as it can get!