These were a turning point for the Winter Games, held just two years after the Albertville Games in order to separate them from the Summer Games. The Winter Games returned to Norway for a second time. The 104-strong Canadian team turned in its best-ever Winter Games performance with 13 medals — three gold, six silver, four bronze — in seven sports, 15 best-ever results, and 34 top-eight finishes.
The Salt Lake City Olympic Winter Games saw the expansion of the Olympic program to 78 events with the inclusion of skeleton and women’s bobsleigh. Canada also fielded its largest team to date with 157 athletes and took home their largest medal haul ever with 17 – seven gold, three silver and seven bronze.
Canada’s elite winter athletes will be riding a wave of momentum into the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi following the unprecedented 26-medal performance four years earlier on home soil in Vancouver.
Although short track speed skating was being practiced in Europe at the end of the 19th century, the sport became really popular in Canada and the United States in the early 1900s. Short track speed skating takes place on a 111.12m oval. Strategy and racing tactics are very important as the winner is not necessarily the fastest skater, but sometimes the smartest skater.
Long track speed skating is considered to be the fastest human-powered sport in the sport, with skaters reaching speeds of more than 60 km/hr. The origins of skating can be traced back to the 13th century when animal bones were filed, shaped and strapped to footwear to facilitate travel on frozen canals in the Netherlands.
Americans have been at the forefront of snowboard’s evolution since Vern Wicklund’s first attempt at a snowboard-like sled in 1939. Surfing’s influence on the sport would continue later in the decade when the prototype for the modern snowboard was created using the model of a short surfboard.
Ski jumping was born in 1860 when Norwegian Sondre Norheim, the father of modern skiing, built the first measured jump and flew 30 metres without poles over a rock. Ski jumping has been part of the Olympic Winter Games since the first edition in Chamonix in 1924.