Are You Watching the XXIII Winter Olympics?

Today’s post comes from Madie Ward in the National Archives History Office.

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Mount Van Hoevenberg Olympic Bobsled Run, 2007. (National Archives Identifier 75317791)

The XXIII Winter Olympics are here!

They are being held in PyeongChang, Republic of Korea, from February 9 to 25.

With a total of 102 medal events, this year’s Olympics is the first to surpass 100. The games feature fifteen disciplines: alpine skiing, biathlon, bobsleigh, cross country skiing, curling, figure skating, freestyle skiing, ice hockey, luge, Nordic combined, short track speed skating, skeleton, ski jumping, snowboard, and speed skating. 

Ninety-two countries are participating, bringing thousands of athletes to the world’s foremost sports competition.

Within the nationwide holdings of the National Archives we have myriad items that relate to this iconic tradition. These include:

Mt. Van Hoevenberg Olympic Bobsled Run Historic Landmark: III Winter Olympic Games

The III Winter Olympics were held in Lake Placid, NY, from February 4 to 15, 1932.

Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt opening the III Olympic Winter Games in Lake Placid, NY, February 4, 1932. (FDR Presidential Library, National Archives)

Then Governor of New York—and soon to be President of the United States—Franklin Delano Roosevelt opened the games with a speech welcoming all involved countries and athletes. 17 countries competed for the gold in 14 events spanning those 11 days.

This document officially nominates the Mount Van Hoevenberg Olympic Bobsled Run from these games to the National Register of Historic Places in 2009. As noted, it was added to the Register the following year.

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National Historic Places Register Registration Form for Mt. Van Hoevenberg Olympic Bobsled Run, page 1, 2009-2010. (National Archives Identifier 75317791)

Created in 1966, the Register is the official Federal list of significant sites, buildings, and objects in American history and culture. Those added to this list receive honorific recognition, consideration in planning for Federally assisted projects, eligibility for certain tax provisions, and qualification for Federal grants for historic preservation.  Mount Van Hoevenberg is the first bobsled run built in the United States and the only one on the Register. Visit our catalog to view the entire document.

Squaw Peak Creation Video: VIII Winter Olympic Games

The VIII Winter Olympic games were hosted in Squaw Valley, CA, from February 18 to 28, 1960. Thirty countries competed in 27 events at the newly created Squaw Valley Ski Resort. Squaw Valley was created specially for these Olympic games and has since become a highly rated ski resort in Tahoe National Forest. These Olympic games debuted the men’s biathlon and women’s speed skating and was the only Olympics to not feature a bobsleigh event.

The Forest Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture created a film about the VIII Winter Olympics. It highlights the Squaw Valley resort, the opening ceremonies, and some popular events (to watch the entire film visit our online catalog).

First Day Cover of Olympic Winter Sports Stamps: XIV Winter Olympic Games

And not all our Olympic-related records are for those held in the United States. The XIV Winter Olympic Games were held in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia (now Bosnia-Herzegovina) from February 8 to 19, 1984. Forty-nine countries competed in 39 events on the first artificial snow used in the Olympics, ensuring the best snow for athletes. These were also the first winter games to take place in a Communist state, an unusual occurrence amid the Cold War.

First Day Cover of Olympic Winter Sports stamps, postmarked Lake Placid, NY, January 6, 1984. (Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, National Archives)

The first day cover of the 1984 Olympic Winter Sports stamps, shown here, is postmarked in Lake Placid, NY, January 6, 1984, to publicize the upcoming games. The stamps were issued in honor of the athletes and showcase four of the Olympics’ most popular events: figure skating, alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, and ice hockey.

From the first Winter Olympics in 1924 to today, this quadrennial event brings the world together. Enjoy the games!

To learn more about National Archives records related to Winter Olympics visit our website and browse our online Catalog.

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