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Sumi, Quatchi, and Miga © VANOC/COVAN

Sumi, Quatchi, and Miga are the official mascots of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, BC.

How the “Cooler” Games Began TM/MC TM/MC

Sports Galore! The Olympics are coming to Canada! (Again!) On February 12, 2010, the 21st Olympic Winter Games will get started in Vancouver, British Columbia. For 17 days, more than 2,500 athletes from more than 80 countries will compete in 15 different sports. And millions of spectators will be cheering them on! The Winter Olympics are the largest winter sports competition in the world. But how did this sporting extravaganza get started?

Ancient Roots

12 centuries, until a powerful Roman emperor ordered that it be stopped.

Modern Revival In 1894, a Frenchman named Baron Pierre de Coubertin decided to revive the Olympic Games. Coubertin believed that a huge athletic competition could be a way to promote peace between nations. With the support of leaders from around the world, he formed the International Olympic Committee (IOC). And on April 6, 1896, the first modern Olympic Games opened in Athens, Greece. A new sporting tradition had begun!

The roots of the Winter Games reach all the way back to Ancient Greece. Starting A New Competition nearly 3,000 years ago, athletes gathered The earliest modern Games focused almost at a place called Olympia every four years entirely on summer to compete in sporting sports. As time events and to honour passed, members of their gods. This Did You Know? the IOC wondered tradition, known as The Vancouver 2010 Games if there should be the Olympic Games, won’t be the first Winter Olympics a separate Winter continued for almost held in Canada. Back in 1988, Calgary, AB, hosted the 15th Olympic Winter Games. KAYAK #31 JAN/FEB 10


Games. In the early 1920s, they decided to hold a special competition to see how much international interest there really was in winter sports. The IOC’s “International Winter Sports Week” began on January 25, 1924, in the town of Chamonix, France. Over a period of 11 days, 258 athletes from 16 nations competed in 9 different sports. The event was a great success.

The Winter Games Are Born In 1926, the IOC voted to rename the 1924 Chamonix sports week the “First Olympic Winter Games.” The IOC made another important decision, too. The Winter Games would continue to be celebrated every four years!

There From the Start Canada was one of the 16 countries that sent

athletes to the 1924 Games in Chamonix. Our nation’s first Winter Olympic contingent consisted of one speed skater, two figure skaters, and a nine-man hockey team. The hockey team won gold — Canada’s very first Winter Olympic medal! Since the 1924 Games, many more Canadian athletes have attained Winter Olympic glory. They have brought home medals, broken world records, and accomplished feats that Canadians still talk about today!

In This Issue… This issue of Kayak takes a closer look at Canada’s exciting Olympic past and present. Get ready to read about inspiring Canadian athletes, amazing hockey triumphs, crazy sports mishaps, and the longest-ever Olympic torch relay!

The Canadian Olympic Team, Chamonix, France, 1924. KAYAK #31 JAN/FEB 10

Canadian Olympic Association KAYAK #31 JAN/FEB 10

Kayak 31 - The Winter Olympics  
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