Winter Olympics – disciplines and venues

20/02/2023 - SnowTrex

The Winter Olympics take place every four years. Athletes compete in seven sports and 15 disciplines at the Winter Olympics, competing for the Olympic medals of gold, silver and bronze. SnowTrex presents the sports and disciplines of the Winter Olympics and offers an overview of all previous venues.

In 1960, the Winter Olympics were held in Squaw Valley in the US state of California. The Alpine skiing competitions were held at the Palisades Tahoe ski resort.

Venues of the Winter Olympics

The Winter Olympics were first held in the French ski resort of Chamonix in 1924, but were only subsequently recognised in 1926. st. Moritz in Switzerland followed in 1928. The continuous four-year rhythm has only been interrupted twice since then: In 1944, the Games did not take place due to World War 2, and in the 1990s the rhythm was adjusted.

Until 1992, the Summer and Winter Olympic Games were held in the same year. After 1992, this was to be changed for commercial reasons and not least because of the demands of television. Therefore, the next Winter Olympics were held in 1994, followed four years later in 1998. Germany hosted the Winter Olympics in Garmisch-Partenkirchen only in 1936 and 1940. Germany’s planned bid for 2022 in Munich failed because of the citizens: in all four referendums in Munich, Garmisch-Partenkirchen and the districts of Traunstein and Berchtesgaden, the population voted narrowly against a bid.

1928St. MoritzSwitzerland
1932Lake PlacidUSA
1948St. MoritzSwitzerland
1956Cortina d’AmpezzoItaly
1960Palisades Tahoe (bis 2021 "Squaw Valley Ski Resort")USA
1980Lake PlacidUSA
2002Salt Lake CityUSA
2018PyeongchangSouth Korea
2026Milan and Cortina d’AmpezzoItaly

The sports and disciplines of the Winter Olympics

A total of seven sports will be contested at the Winter Olympics in 15 different disciplines. A discipline is a single type of competition within a sport. A prerequisite for a winter sport to be recognised as Olympic by the IOC is the extensive operation of that sport in at least 25 countries and on three continents.

1. Biathlon

In the biathlon, athletes have to be in good shape as well as being accurate in cross-country skiing.

Biathlon is cross-country skiing combined with shooting competitions and is contested in individual, mass start, sprint, pursuit and relay events. Biathlon has been an Olympic sport since 1960. The precursor of the biathlon is the military patrol, which was held as a competition at the first Winter Olympics in Chamonix.

The biathlon competitions at a glance:

Current competitionsOlympic since (year)Men/Women
15 km single1992Women
20 km individual1960Men
12.5 km mass start2006Women
15 km mass start2006Men
7.5 km mass start1992Women
10 km sprint1980Men
10 km pursuit2002Women
12,5 km pursuit2002Men
4 x 6 km relay2006Women
4 x 7.5 km relay1968Women/Men
2 x 6 km/ 2 x 7.5 km mixed relay2014Mix

2. Bobsleighing

Bobsleighing is contested in a sports sledge in an ice canal.


The Art of Bobsleigh | Faster Higher Stronger

Since the beginning of the Winter Olympics, bobsleigh has been one of the winter sports. Only in 1960 did no bobsleigh competitions take place, as no bobsleigh track was built due to low participation. The competitions have been held for men in four-man bobsleigh since 1924 and in two-man bobsleigh since 1932. Since 2002, women have also competed in bobsleigh at the Winter Olympics, but only in two-man bobsleigh.

Current competitionsOlympic since (year)Men/Women
Four-man bob1924Men
Two-man bob1932Men
Two-man bob2002Women


Skeleton - Men's Heats 1 & 2 | Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics

Skeleton was already on the men’s programme in 1928 and 1948 in St. Moritz (Switzerland). After a 54-year break, skeleton returned to the Olympic Games programme in 2002 in Salt Lake City (USA). Since then, skeleton has been a permanent fixture at Winter Games. Since 2002, women have also competed in skeleton.

Current competitionsOlympic since (year)Men/Women

3. Curling

The most INCREDIBLE Curling Shots at Beijing 2022!

Curling, similar to curling, is a winter sport played on ice in which two teams of four players each try to play their curling stones closer to the centre of a target circle on an ice rink than their opponents. Curling was already on the programme at the beginning of the Olympic Games, but initially only as a demonstration sport. Since the 1998 Winter Olympics, however, curling for men and women has been an official competition of the Winter Olympics.

Current competitionsOlympic since (year)Men/Women
Team1924 resp. 1998Men

4. Ice hockey

Ice hockey is a team sport with five field players and a goalkeeper. It is played on an ice surface that is about 60 m long and 30 m wide. The goal is to get the “puck”, a small hard rubber disc, into the opponent’s goal. Ice hockey has been an Olympic sport for men since the beginning of the Winter Games. Women’s teams have been competing since the 1998 Winter Olympics.

Current competitionsOlympic since (year)Men/Women
Team1920 (Summer Games)Men

5. Ice skating

Figure skating

Aljona Savchenko and Bruno Massot (GER) - Gold Medal | Pairs Free Skating | PyeongChang 2018

Figure skating was the first Olympic winter sport. But figure skating was already part of the programme at the 1908 Summer Olympics in both men’s and women’s singles and pairs. Jumps, pirouettes and an artistic dance characterise the sport.

Current competitionsOlympic since (year)Men/Women
Single1908 (Summer)Men/Women
Pair skating1908 (Summer)Mixed
Ice Dance1976Men/Women
Mixed Team2014Mixed

Speed skating

Irene Schouten Breaks Olympic Record in Speed Skating | 2022 Winter Olympics

Speed skating has been part of the men’s programme since the first Winter Olympics in 1924. Although the women’s competitions were held as a demonstration in 1932, they have only been officially part of the programme since 1960. The track length in classic speed skating is 400 m.

Current competitionsOlympic since (year)Men/Women
500 m1924/1960Men/Women
1,000 m1960/1976Men/Women
1,500 m1924/1960Men/Women
3,000 m1960Women
5,000 m1924/1988Men/Women
10,000 m1924Men
Team pursuit2006Men/Women
Mass start2018Men/Women

6. Luge

Germany’s Johannes Ludwig takes singles luge gold | 2022 Winter Olympics

Luge is luge on an artificial track, lying on one’s back. Luge has been part of the programme of the Olympic Winter Games since 1964. Since 2014, there has been a fourth competition, the team relay. Although the regulations allow women in the double-seater, only men have competed in this event at the Olympic Games so far.

Current competitionsOlympic since (year)Men/Women
Single seater1964Men/Women
Double seater1964Men
Team relay2014Mixed

7. Skiing

The collective term skiing covers the various skiing and snowboarding disciplines. In addition to all snowboarding disciplines, freestyle skiing, alpine skiing and Nordic skiing disciplines such as cross-country skiing and ski jumping are also included. By the way, ski ballet was held in 1988 and 1992 as a demonstration competition.

Freestyle Skiing

Freestyle skiing is divided into different disciplines. On the halfpipe, in jumping and slopestyle, performance is assessed by a jury awarding points; in skicross and moguls, a winner is determined by direct comparison in head-to-head races.

At the 1988 Olympic Games, three competitions – moguls, jumping and ballet – were held as demonstrations. The freestyle skiing discipline moguls first became official Olympic in 1992. In 1994 freestyle jumping became Olympic, and in 2010 a third competition, skicross, was added. Since 2014, two more disciplines, slopestyle and halfpipe, have been held at the Winter Olympics.

Current competitionsOlympic since (year)Men/Women
Mogul slope1992Men/Women
Big Air2022Men/Women

Alpine Skiing

Alpine Skiing Beijing 2022 | Men's downhill highlights

Alpine skiing has been part of the programme of the Winter Olympics since the 1936 Winter Games (combined) and is held on a course marked out by gates on a ski slope. All gates must be crossed correctly from the start to the finish; the individual time at the finish is scored. The athletes compete in five different disciplines. Since 1948, slalom and downhill have been Olympic alongside the combined event; giant slalom was added four years later. Since 2018 there has also been a mixed team competition.

Current competitionsOlympic since (year)Men/Women
Giant Slalom1952Men/Women
Team competition2018Mixed

Nordic skiing

Nordic skiing includes cross-country skiing and ski jumping, as well as the combination of the two, the Nordic combined.

Cross-country skiing

Cross-country skiing has been part of the Winter Olympics programme since the first Winter Olympics in 1924. However, the women’s competitions have only been part of the Winter Olympics since 1952. Of the current 12 disciplines, the men’s 50km has been contested at all Winter Olympics to date.

Long climbs and the finish sprints at the end cost a lot of energy in the cross-country competitions.
Current competitionsOlympic since (year)Men/Women
Individual sprint2002Men/Women
Team sprint2006Men/Women
10 km1952/1992Men/Women
15 km1956/1992Men/Women
30 km1956/1992Men/Women
50 km1924Men
15 km skiathlon2006Women
30 km skiathlon2006Men
4 x 5 km relay1976Women
4 x 10 km relay1936Men

Nordic combined

The best of Nordic Combined at #Beijing2022 🎿

Nordic combined is a competition consisting of ski jumping and cross-country skiing. Today, the competition is started as a pursuit race according to the Gundersen method based on the jump distances at different time intervals, so that the first athlete at the finish is the winner. The Nordic Combined has been part of the programme of the Olympic Winter Games since the 1924 Winter Games in Chamonix, but at that time in the individual/normal hill competition with 18 km (from 1956: 15 km) of cross-country skiing. In this competition, the cross-country skiing was held before the jumping and the points achieved were added together. In between, from 1988 to 2006, there was still jumping on the large hill with a 7.5 km sprint. Nordic combined is only a men’s competition so far.

Current competitionsOlympic since (year)Men/Women
Large hill 10 km Gundersen2010Men
Normal hill 10 km Gundersen2010Men
Team -- Large hill 4 × 5 km relay2006Men

Ski jumping

The BEST ski jumping moments of Beijing 2022! 🥇❄️

Ski jumping has been consistently Olympic since the first Winter Olympics in 1924. The athletes jump from a ski jumping hill at the jumping table and try to jump as far as possible. In addition to the distance, the flight position and the elegance of the (telemark) landing are also taken into account in the scoring.

Current competitionsOlympic since (year)Men/Women
Normal hill1924/2014Men/Women
Large hill1964Men
Large hill team1988Men


‘What scenes!’ – Gasser mobbed by rivals after defending big air title | 2022 Winter Olympics

Snowboarding is still a very young Olympic sport. Snowboarding was only included in the programme of the Winter Olympics in 1998. There are also various disciplines in snowboarding, five of which are currently Olympic.

Current competitionsOlympic since (year)Men/Women
Parallel Giant Slalom2002Men/Women
Big Air2018Men/Women

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