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Olympics Betting - Winter Olympic Games

Olympics Betting

The Winter Olympics hasn’t been around as long as the original Olympic Games have been, but it has grown to a great event and one that hasn’t been afraid to introduce new sports as it has gone along. The first ever Winter Olympics was hosted in France in 1924 and then there were just the five sports being contested, across nine different disciplines for that inaugural edition. The Winter games have been held every four years since then aside from 1940 and 1944 when events were cancelled by World War II.

The Winter Olympics did use to be contested in the same year as the Summer Olympics but all of that changed in 1986 when a decision to move it to alternating even-numbered years to the Summer Olympics was made.

New disciplines and new countries join the Winter Olympics
2018 Winter Olympic Games Odds & Preview

The Winter Olympics are generally held in early February which is approximately the height of winter for the northern hemisphere and with specific criteria needing to be met to host a Winter Olympics, it is why you won’t see too much variation of where they will be hosted.

Canada and the USA have had their fair share of hostings between them, while the likes of Norway and France have had their turns. Aside from North American and Europe, Asia is the only other continent to have had representative nations hosting a Winter Olympics.

Famous Winter Olympic Moments

The Soviet Union entered the Winter Olympics for the first time in 1960 and they blasted onto the scene in their debut, topping the medal charts. A lot of their immediate success was put down to the fact that athletes were reportedly being paid by the state to train full time, being sponsored by the state in order to enhance chances of success.

Walt Disney provided the Open and Closing ceremonies at the 1960 Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley and the Games also made history too because it was the first time that an athletes’ village was used and it was also the first time that computers were used at an Olympic Games to keep a track of results.

In 1964 the Australian Army had to actually ship in snow to Innsbruck for the games because it was unseasonably warm that year and there wasn’t enough of it around. Lidiya Skoblikova collected four of what was six career Winter Olympic medals for speed skating. The 1964 Winter Olympics was the first time that Luge was introduced. The first Winter Olympics to be broadcast in colour happened at the 1968 Games. Jean-Claude Killy became the first man ever to win all of the alpine skiing events at one Games in that year too.

The Winter Olympics went outside of Europe and North America for the first time in 1972 as Sapporo, Japan hosted. The 1976 Games had to get moved from Denver, USA to Vancouver, Canada because the people of Colorado weren’t prepared to pay to fund the games. But Vancouver didn’t want the Games so they couldn’t actually go there, then the IOC refused to acknowledge Salt Lake City being prepared to step in and it eventually ended up back at Innsbruck on short notice as they had infrastructure in place.

In 1980, probably the most famous Winter Olympic Games of all were contested. This is when the “Miracle On Ice” happened which was when the USA ice hockey team beat the Soviets (who had won the four previous gold medals) to then go on and win the gold medal. In 1984 Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean landed gold for Great Britain ice dancing.

Olympics Betting – Odds, Preview and Predictions

In 1988 in Calgary, East German Christa Rothenburger won the women’s 1,000-metre speed skating event and went on to create history later that year by getting a silver medal in track cycling at the summer games. She is the only athlete ever to have won an Olympic Medal at the Winter And Summer Olympics in the same year. 1992 was the last time that the Winter and Summer Olympics were hosted in the same year and Germany competed as a single nation for the first time following the collapse of the Berlin Wall.

For the 1994 Games, the most famous moment was the injury to American ice skater Nancy Kerrigan, who was injured following an assault which had been planned by her rival Tonya Harding’s husband. Both skaters still competed at the Games, Kerrigan got silver in the end, Harding nothing. The 1998 Winter Olympics created history by accepting professionals for the ice hockey tournament for the first time. Despite that, neither Canada or the USA won, it was the Czech Republic. This was the first year that women’s ice-hockey was introduced.

2002 saw a dust-up between Canada and Russia over voting in figure skating to the point the IOC had to step in and give both competing couples a gold medal. In 2010 Russia finished outside of the top five in the medal charts for the first time ever following their debut and following that disappointment, it is believed that was the spark that ignited the reported state-sponsored doping scheme for Russian athletes. Britain’s Amy Williams won gold at the Games though in the skeleton.

Pretty much throughout the 2014 Games in Sochi, Russia, it was dominated by doping issue which led to a big moment in 2017 when the IOC banned Russia. Lizzy Yarnold won gold at the women’s skeleton though to make it back to back gold medals in the discipline for Great Britain.

Popular Winter Olympic Sports

The alpine skiing events have long been the staple of the Winter Olympics and it involves disciplines such as the downhill, super-G and slalom events. Curling has grown and grown since coming back at the 1998 Winter Olympics and features three tournaments. Ice Hockey is another of the main spectacles at the Winter Olympics, while other popular sports are the speed skating, ski jumping, luge, bobsleigh and the more recent introductions like Freestyle Skiing and Snowboarding.

Famous British Winter Olympians

Really it was a success in figure skating which captured Britain’s imagination at the Winter Olympics. Those who remember Jayne Torvill & Christopher Dean Figure skating gold at the 1984 event, performing to Ravel’s Bolero will recall it being a tremendously iconic moment. But in the two Winter Olympics prior to that, there had been figure skating success for Team GB. John Curry won the gold at 1964 Games and then Robin Cousins famously got his gold four years later.

The first ever Gold medal for Britain at the Winter Olympics came in 1924 when they won the Men’s Curling. However, in 1908 at the Summer Olympics, Madge Syers won gold when figure skating was part of the London Summer Olympics that year. Following the 2002 Curling success for GB Women, Amy Williams got the skeleton gold in 2010 with Lizzy Yarnold getting it four years later.

Perhaps one of the most famous of all winter Olympians is ski-jumper Eddie Edwards who was the first ski jumper to represent Great Britain since 1928 when he competed at the 1988 Winter Olympics. He finished dead last in both of his events (and by a huge margin) but it was his lack of success which saw him become so popular.

2014 Review

The Sochi Games was arguably the most controversial of all Winter Olympics. There were actually 12 new competitions birthed at the 2014 Winter Olympics which ended up being the most expensive in history. In the build-up, there were concerns about corruption, cost and safety of LGBT competitors and spectators. Then two years later WADA confirmed that for around four years there had been alleged doping of over a 1,000 Russian athletes and the country was stripped of 13 Olympic Medals from the 2014 Games, which led to Russia receiving an Olympic ban which was placed on them in 2017. Norway topped the medal charts with eleven golds, part of 26 medals they picked up. The USA actually collected the most number of medals, but only nine of them were gold, leaving them in third place with Canada sandwiching themselves and Norway. Great Britain came away with a total of four medals, one of them gold (Lizzy Yarnold in the Skeleton). Italy’s Armin Zoeggeler became the first athlete to get six Winter Olympic medals over six consecutive games (luge). Speed skater Ireen Wüst from the Netherlands achieved five medals.

2018 Winter Olympics Preview

The Winter Olympics then move on to Pyeongchang South Korea. There will be a total of 102 events across 7 different sports (15 disciplines) at the 2018 Winter Olympics. This will be the second time that South Korea have hosted the Olympics as Seoul was the host of the 1988 Summer Games. The event will create history as it will be the first Winter Olympics to host over 100 events. For the first time since 1998, no professional Ice Hockey players from the NHL will be allowed to take part.

Four new disciplines will make their introduction and they are big air snowboarding, mixed doubles curling, mass start speed skating and mixed team alpine skiing. As a demonstration sport, there will be two eSports tournaments at the Games as well which will actually be held before the Opening Ceremony. 94 teams will take part, that’s 93 nations and the OAR (Olympic Athletes from Russia). Six countries will make their Winter Olympic debuts – Ecuador, Eritrea, Kosovo, Malaysia, Nigeria and Singapore.

You can find betting odds, previews and predictions in our news category Olympics Betting: