The Winter Olympics have been a cold-weather staple every four years since the inaugural games in 1924, which were held in Chamonix, France with just 16 events. Things have come a long way in the ensuing century, with the next competition scheduled for 2022 in Beijing. When the greatest athletes on Earth get together, incredible things are bound to take place. Here are 15 astounding world records from the Winter Olympics.
Oldest Winter Olympian
Olympians are typically on the younger side, but that’s not always the case. The oldest winter Olympian ever actually competed in the very first games in 1924. Carl August Kronlund of Norway was 58 years old when he competed in the curling event. His record may soon be broken by Prince Hubertus von Hohenlohe, an alpine skier who turns 61 in February 2020, if he qualifies for the 2022 games.
Youngest Winter Olympian
In 1932, an 11-year-old from Great Britain made her way into the games for figure skating. Although she didn’t win any medals, Cecilia Colledge became the youngest winter Olympian in history.
Youngest Winter Medalist
The 90s were a good time to be a young athlete. The youngest winter medalist ever, Kim Yun-Mi of Korea, took the podium for short track speed skating in 1994. She was only 13 years old when she brought home the team gold. The youngest individual medal winner was Tara Lipinski for Team USA. She took gold in the 1998 games for figure skating at age 15.
Most Winter Olympic Medals
Marit Bjoergen of Norway is the most medal-clad winter Olympian in history. In the 2018 Pyeongchang games, she took home her 14th Olympic medal, surpassing the previous record-holder, also a Norwegian, by one.
Fastest Two Goals by a Player in an Olympic Ice Hockey Match
What can you do in six seconds? Well, if you’re USA athlete Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson, you can score two Olympic hockey goals. In the 2018 games, Lamoureux-Davidson did just that and scored two consecutive goals in six seconds against her Russian opponents.
Most Winter Olympic Appearances by an Athlete
In 2018, 47-year-old Noriaki Kasai of Japan competed in his eighth Olympic games. He has been a prominent ski jumper for decades and plans on continuing into his 50s.
Most Winter Olympic Medals by a Country
Most people assume that a large country like the United States, Canada, or Russia would hold the record for winning the most winter Olympic medals, but it’s actually a small country with a population of only 5 million people. Norway is the winningest country in winter Olympic history with a 329 medals. That’s almost 40 more medals than the second-place United States.
Only Perfect Score in Winter Olympic History
In the 1984 games, an ice dancing pair from the U.K. consisting of Joyce Torvill and Christopher Dean achieved what many thought was impossible. They earned a perfect score in artistic impression. Such a feat had never been done before and hasn’t been achieved since.
Most Participants at a Winter Games
The athletes at the 2018 games set a lot of records, but the games themselves actually set one as well. Pyeongchang set the record for the most participants in a winter games — 2,963 athletes from 92 countries.
Fastest Winter Olympic Sport
When you’re traveling on ice, it’s pretty easy to hit frightening speeds. Four people in a bobsled can easily reach 80 miles per hour. Downhill skiers are even faster yet at 84 miles per hour. But there’s one sport that’s faster than the rest.
The luge is the fastest sport on ice, with athletes reaching terrifying speeds of over 90 miles per hour. The scariest part is that the luge doesn’t offer much in the way of protection in the case of a crash.
Oldest Goal Scorer in Olympic Ice Hockey
When people enter their 40s, they don’t typically want to scrap and brawl with world-class athletes on the ice while chasing around a puck. For Teemu Selänne of Finland, that’s all he wanted to do. In 2014, at 43 years old, he became the oldest goal scorer in Olympic hockey history and went on to become the oldest ice hockey medalist as well.
Only 6 Events Have Been in Every Winter Olympics
There have only been six sports that have been featured in every Winter Olympics since the beginning in 1924:
- Cross-country skiing
- Figure skating
- Ice hockey
- Nordic combined
- Ski jumping
- Speed skating
Coldest Winter Games
Athletes had to bundle up at the 1994 games in Norway when the temperatures dropped to 12 degrees Fahrenheit. The 2018 games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, got close to the record, with some athletes even skipping the frigid opening ceremonies for fear that the cold would hurt their athletic abilities.
Warmest Winter Games
The 2018 games were some of the coldest, but just four years prior, the 2014 event in Sochi, Russia, marked the warmest games on record. The highest temperature during the games was a record-setting, summer-like 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Athletes were caught sunbathing between events.
First Woman to Win Individual Gold Medals in Different Sports at a Winter Olympics
Some athletes are just good at everything they do. Ester Ledecka from the Czech Republic is one of them. In the 2018 Winter Olympic games, Ledecka took home gold in both alpine skiing and snowboarding, two very different disciplines, making her the first person to ever win gold for both in the same Olympic games.