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Charles Jewtraw
Speedskater Charles Jewtraw wins the first gold medal for the United States in the Winter Olympics.

The International Olympic Committee did not sanction a Winter Olympics until 1925. A gathering of 16 national teams at the International Winter Sports Week in 1924 in Chamonix, France, however, would be inevitably recognized as the first official Winter Games.

The first Winter Games consisted of 14 events in five sports (Nordic skiing, figure skating, speedskating, hockey and bobsledding). Norwegian athletes medaled in 12 of the 14 events, the most by any nation. The only sports Norway did not win a medal were in ice hockey, where Canada took the gold, and bobsledding, which saw a Swiss team finish first in the four-man team event.


 Charles Jewtraw (USA) became the first American to win a gold medal in Winter Olympic competition when he sped to victory in the 500m speedskating event, with a time of 44 seconds.

 Clas Thunberg (Finland) dominated the speedskating events and became the 1924 Games' most decorated athlete, winning five medals in all: three golds in the 1,500m, 5,000m and the All-Round, a silver in the 10,000m and the bronze in the 500m.

 Thorleif Haug (Norway) took the gold in three out of four Nordic skiing events. His bronze medal in the fourth event — ski jumping — was later found to have been given in error. A scoring mistake was discovered in 1974 — 50 years later — and Haug officially was demoted to fourth place. The new third place winner, 83-year-old American Ander Haugen, was given his medal in a special ceremony in Oslo, Norway.

AttendanceMale AthletesFemale AthletesMost-MedaledU.S. Rank
16 nations281 13Norway (17)Fourth

Source: Knight-Ridder/Tribune

© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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