The 23rd (XXIII) Olympic Winter Games are officially underway in PyeongChang, South Korea. The games will run until the Closing Ceremonies on February 25. In between, the world will cheer athletes as they go for the gold and achieve greatness on both the snow and the ice. Go for the gold in trivia with these fun facts about the Winter Olympics – perfect for quizzing your family during commercials or inspiring kids to learn more. (There are 16 facts, one for each day of the Games.)
1. When and where were the first Winter Olympic games held?
The Winter Olympics were first held in 1924 in Chamonix, France. The modern Summer Olympics began in Athens in 1896.
2. How many countries have athletes competing in PyeongChang?
There are 92 countries represented at the 23rd Winter Olympiad, a record. Ecuador, Eritrea, Kosovo, Malaysia, Nigeria and Singapore are countries appearing at their first Winter Games this year. (I’m rooting for the Nigerian bobsled team!) Nearly 3,000 athletes will compete, and 242 of them are from Team USA, including 7 sets of siblings.
3. What’s with the lines on the Olympic medals?
Each host city designs unique medals and this time they feature dramatic lines on the surface of the medals. According to Forbes, “Korean Olympic officials say these dynamic diagonal lines reflect both the history of the Olympic Games and the determination of the competitors vying for a place on the podium.”
4. We all know that the fourth place finisher does not get a medal, but he/she does not go home empty handed. What do fourth place finishers at the Olympics receive?
The first eight athletes in each event receive a diploma from the IOC. The first three finishers receive both a medal and a diploma.
5. How much is a gold medal worth?
While the exact value depends on the price of gold, which fluctuates, Forbes estimates that the gold medals awarded at this year’s games are worth around $570. That’s in part because they are made mostly silver and just gold plated.
Curling mixed doubles, speedskating mass start, snowboarding big air, and alpine skiing team event will all make debut appearances in PyeongChang.
7. Which American city has hosted the Winter Olympics twice?
Lake Placid, in 1932 and 1980. (Other Winter Games that took place in the U.S. were in 1960 in Squaw Valley and in 2002 in Salt Lake City.)
8. Which country has won the most gold medals at the Winter Games since they began?
Norway leads the international pack with a total of 313 medals through the 2010 Winter Olympics. The U.S. is second with 274. Check out the All-Time Winter Medal Standings by Country, 1924-2010 here.
9. Which athlete has won the most Winter Olympic medals? How many?
Norwegian biathlete Ole Einar Bjørndalen has the title of most decorated Winter Olympic athlete in the history of the games. Marit Bjørgen of Norway has 10 medals (six gold, three silver, and one bronze) and hopes to earn more this year and could surpass her countryman.
10. Who is the most decorated American winter Olympian?
Short track speed skater Apolo Ohno won the most medals for the U.S. A. at the Winter Games with a total of eight: two gold, two silver, and four bronze. Bonnie Blair is the most decorated female American Winter Olympian. (Michael Phelps is the most decorated American Olympian in the summer games with 23 gold, 3 silver, 2 bronze medals.)
11. What four indoor sports are part of the Winter Olympics?
Curling, figure skating, speed skating (including short track speed skating), and ice hockey.
12. What was the last year that the Winter Games and Summer Games were held in the same year? Can you name those 2 cities?
1992, when the Summer Games were in Barcelona, Spain and the Winter Games were in Albertville, France. The next Winter Olympics were held in 1994 Lillehammer, Norway.
13. How high are the walls of the halfpipe for the Halfpipe Snowboarding event?
14. Who was the youngest individual Olympic champion at the Winter Games?
American figure skater Tara Lipinski brought home the gold at age 15 at the 1998 games in Nagano, Japan. You can see her talk about the experience on The Huffington Post here.
This year, Team USA’s youngest athlete is 17-year-old figure skater Vincent Zhou. Other 17-year-olds on Team USA are speed skater Maame Biney and Red Gerard, the first American to win a gold in PyeongChang.
15. Where will the 2022 Winter Olympic games be held?
Beijing in the People’s Republic of China will play host the 2022 winter games. The games will begin on Feb. 4, 2022, and will be spread out over three “Games zones”: Beijing, Yanqing and Zhangjiakou. You can read more about them here.
16. The Olympic motto is “Citius, Altius, Fortius.” What does that mean in English?
It means “Faster, Higher, Stronger.” Pierre de Coubertin, considered the father of the modern Olympic games, proposed it in 1894 after hearing the words said by Dominican priest Henri Didon years earlier.
You May Also Like: Fun Facts about PyeongChang and Skier Robby Kelley shows what “never give up” looks like after crash
Don’t miss a post! Please subscribe to Between Us Parents’ completely safe, spam-free email list in the box in the top right corner of the page!
Please like Between Us Parents on Facebook.
Pin for Later: