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Winter NOC Doublers

An Hyeon-Su (sometimes seen as Ahn Hyun-Soo) is one of the most successful short-track speed skaters ever, having won 5 World Championships from 2003-07, and winning 4 medals, including 3 golds, at the 2006 Olympics in Torino. He will compete at Sochi in 2014, but if you try to find him under that name, good luck.

He is now Viktor Ahn, and competes for Russia, and will be on the Russian team in Sochi, having started competing there in 2011, and recently achieving Russian citizenship.

At Sochi, Chris Spring will compete in bobsledding for Canada, after appearing for Australia at Vancouver. Anthony Lobello is on the 2014 Italian short-track speed skating team but in 2006 he competed in that sport for the United States. Vic Wild, an American snowboarder who married Russian snowboarder Alena Zavarzina, will compete for Russia in Sochi, having obtained Russian citizenship in 2011. And Petr Nedvěd will skate in ice hockey for the land of his birth, the Czech Republic, 20 years after skating for Canada at the 1994 Lillehammer Games.

These are but a few of many examples of the athletic diaspora that has taken place over the last 20 years or so, especially since the break-up of the Soviet Union. Athletes often compete for nations other than the one in which they have lived and grown up. Ofttimes, it is a nation in which they were born, but did not live there long.

Another example this year is the case of Gary di Silvestri and his wife Angelica Morrone di Silvestri, who will compete in cross-country skiing for Dominica. Part of the group often called Olympic tourists, who have no chance for a medal, the di Silvestris became acquainted with Dominica while vacationing there, and when they decided they wished to make an attempt to compete at the Winter Olympics, what better nation to choose than that bastion of winter sports than Dominica?

In 1994 at Lillehammer, Armenia competed for the first time at the Winter Olympics, with a 2-man bobsled team of Joe Almasian and Ken Topalian. Both were from Massachusetts in the United States, and had never set foot in Armenia, but they were of Armenian descent and after learning bobsled, however badly, they were allowed to compete for Armenia at Lillehammer. Both sledders have yet to visit the nation they represented at the Winter Olympics.

In all, 1,496 athletes have represented 2 or more NOCs at the Olympic Games and Olympic Winter Games, with 280 of these coming at the Winter Olympics. Most of these have been due to the split-up of the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, and the re-unification of Germany.

In fact at the Winter Olympics, only 27 times have athletes represented what we term DDNs (distinctly different nations), and only once has this has occurred more than one time for any set of DDNs. This was the case of the Tlałka-Mogore twin sisters, Dorota and Małgorzata, who both competed in Alpine skiing in 1984-88 for Poland (1984) and France (1988).

The other combinations of related nations are obvious – 50 athletes competed for both the Unified Team and Russia, and 43 for both Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic, and for Germany and the former West Germany (FRG).

Among DDNs, Canada has had 5 different athletes compete for it and another nation (5 different nations), while Switzerland and Austria have had this occur 4 times each. At Sochi, Viktor Ahn will become the first Korea / Russia mix.

Below we list all the Winter Olympic occurrences of athletes competing for 2 or more NOCs.


NOCMix                                                                                                     ###

Unified Team / Russia                                                                           50

Czech Republic / Czechoslovakia                                                 43

Fed. Rep. Germany / Germany                                                        43

German Demo. Rep. / Germany                                                     28

Unified Team / Soviet Union                                                            13

Slovakia / Czechoslovakia                                                                   9

Unified Team / Russia / Soviet Union                                            8

Bosnia & Herzegovina / Yugoslavia                                               8

Russia / Soviet Union                                                                             6

Unified Team / Kazakhstan                                                                5

Slovenia / Yugoslavia                                                                             5

Unified Team / Ukraine                                                                        4

Belarus / Russia                                                                                        3

Latvia / Soviet Union                                                                             3

Serbia & Montenegro / Serbia                                                         3

Belarus / Unified Team / Soviet Union                                        2

Belarus / Unified Team                                                                         2

Belarus / Ukraine                                                                                     2

France / Poland                                                                                         2

Austria / Unified Team / Russia                                                       1

Belarus / Russia / Soviet Union                                                       1

Unified Team / Kazakhstan / Russia                                            1

Unified Team / Kazakhstan / Soviet Union                             1

Unified Team / Ukraine / Soviet Union                                      1

Armenia / Belarus                                                                                  1

Australia / Russia                                                                                   1

Austria / Bulgaria                                                                                   1

Austria / Germany                                                                                 1

Austria / Hungary                                                                                  1

Azerbaijan / Unified Team                                                                1

Azerbaijan / Russia                                                                                1

Belgium / Netherlands, The                                                              1

Belarus / Kazakhstan                                                                           1

Canada / Czech Republic                                                                   1

Canada / Finland                                                                                     1

Canada / Jamaica                                                                                    1

Canada / Russia                                                                                       1

Canada / United States                                                                       1

Croatia / Yugoslavia                                                                              1

Spain / Germany                                                                                      1

Estonia / Great Britain                                                                         1

Estonia / Soviet Union                                                                          1

Unified Team / Uzbekistan                                                                1

France / Hungary                                                                                    1

France / Korea (South)                                                                        1

France / Netherlands, The                                                                1

German Democratic Republic / Switzerland                         1

Germany / Ukraine                                                                                1

Hungary / Romania                                                                              1

Italy / Russia                                                                                             1

Japan / United States                                                                         1

Kazakhstan / Kyrgyzstan                                                                 1

Latvia / Russia                                                                                         1

Lithuania / Soviet Union                                                                   1

Moldova / Romania                                                                              1

Moldova / Switzerland                                                                      1

Norway / Switzerland                                                                        1

Russia / Switzerland                                                                           1

Serbia & Montenegro / Yugoslavia                                            1

Sweden / United States                                                                    1

Totals                                                                                                     280

Winter Sports Doublers

We’ll look now at how often athletes have competed in 2 or more sports at the Winter Olympics.

We talked earlier on this blog about the distinction betweens sports and disciplines at the Winter Olympics. Basically the IOC only recognizes 7 Winter Olympic sports – biathlon, bobsledding, curling, ice hockey, luge, skating, and skiing. The separate “sports” that most people consider as such – cross-country skiing, figure skating, speed skating, ski jumping, etc. – are only disciplines to the IOC with the IOC recognizing 6 disciplines of skiing (Alpine, cross-country, freestyle, Nordic combined, ski jumping, snowboarding), 3 disciplines of skating (figure, speed, short-track), and 2 disciplines of bobsledding (bobsledding and skeleton).

So this makes comparison difficult. But we will use the commonly considered definition that there are 15 sports at the Winter Olympics, calling all IOC-defined disciplines as separate sports.

Using the 15-sport definition, there have been 326 examples of athletes in 2 or more sports at the Winter Olympics. This has occurred 640 times at the Summer Olympics.

Three athletes have competed in 4 sports at the Winter Olympics, although this stretches the terminology, since all were disciplines of skiing. All 3 athletes competed in Alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, Nordic combined, and ski jumping, as follows:

Karl Johan Baadsvik (CAN)   ASK/CCS/NCO/SKJ   1936

Bronisław Czech (POL)           ASK/CCS/NCO/SKJ   1928/1932/1936

Bill Irwin (CAN)                           ASK/CCS/NCO/SKJ   1948

Winter Olympians have competed in 3 sports 40 times, with almost all of these comprising 3 disciplines within skiing. However, the two truly unusual ones were Belgian Louis de Ridder, who competed in ice hockey and speed skating in 1924 and in bobsledding and ice hockey in 1936; perhaps less unusual, but no less remarkable, is the example of Korean Gang Gwang-Bae, who is the only athlete to have competed in all 3 of the sliding sports – bobsled, luge, and skeleton. Gang competed in luge in 1998, skeleton in 2002-06, and bobsled in 2010.

Doubling in two sports at the Winter Olympics is less common among women, as one might expect, as they have had less sports to choose from. Women have competed in 2 winter sports 35 times, with 26 of those the combination of biathlon and cross-country skiing. Canadian Linda Crutchfield-Bocock has the most unusual combination, competing in Alpine skiing in 1964 and luge in1968. No woman has competed in 3 Winter Olympic sports.

There have been 11 cases in which Winter Olympic athletes have competed in distinctly different sports. Here is the list:

Léon Quaglia (FRA)                              ICH-1920/24/28, SSK-1924/28

Georges André (FRA)                         BOB-1924, CUR-1924

Louis De Ridder (BEL)                         ICH-1924/36, SSK-24, BOB-1936

Paul Van den Broek (BEL)                 BOB-1924, ICH-1924

Victor Verschueren (BEL)                  BOB-1924, ICH-1924

Albert Hassler (FRA)                             ICH-1924/28/36, SSK-1924

Raoul Weckbecker (LUX)                   BOB-1928/36, ASK-1936

Justo del Carril (ARG)                           ASK-1948, BOB-1948

Stuart Parkinson (GBR)                        ASK-1948, BOB-1956

Linda Crutchfield-Bocock (CAN)    ASK-1964, LUG-1968

Jeremy Palmer-Tomkinson (GBR)  ASK-1968, LUG-1972/76/80

The entire breakdown of the various Winter Olympic sports combinations is as follows:

Sports                                                                                                                               ###

Cross-Country Skiing / Nordic Combined                                                    86

Biathlon / Cross-Country Skiing                                                                         78

Nordic Combined / Ski Jumping                                                                          55

Cross-Country Skiing / Nordic Combined / Ski Jumping                     31

Bobsledding / Luge                                                                                                      11

Alpine Skiing / Cross-Country Skiing                                                                 9

Alpine Skiing / Freestyle Skiing                                                                              8

Speedskating / Short-Track Speedskating                                                        6

Alpine Skiing / Cross-Country Skiing / Nordic Combined                      5

Bobsledding / Skeleton                                                                                                5

Cross-Country Skiing / Military Ski Patrol                                                       5

Alpine Skiing / Ski Jumping                                                                                        4

Alpine Skiing / Bobsledding                                                                                       3

Alpine Skiing / X-Country Skiing / Nordic Comb. / Ski Jumping          3

Alpine Skiing / Nordic Combined                                                                           3

Alpine Skiing / Luge                                                                                                        2

Bobsledding / Ice Hockey                                                                                           2

Ice Hockey / Speedskating                                                                                         2

Luge / Skeleton                                                                                                                 2

Bobsledding / Curling                                                                                                   1

Bobsledding / Ice Hockey / Speedskating                                                         1

Bobsledding / Luge / Skeleton                                                                                 1

X-Country Skiing / Military Ski Patrol / Nordic Combined                     1

Cross-Country Skiing / Ski Jumping                                                                     1

Military Ski Patrol / Nordic Combined / Ski Jumping                                 1

Totals                                                                                                                                 326

And here are the numbers for women only:

Sports                                                                                                                           ###

Biathlon / Cross-Country Skiing                                                                      26

Alpine Skiing / Freestyle Skiing                                                                           4

Bobsledding / Luge                                                                                                     3

Alpine Skiing / Luge                                                                                                   1

Speedskating / Short-Track Speedskating                                                    1

Totals                                                                                                                                35

We know of 3 scheduled new sports doublers in Sochi. Serbian Milanko Petrović is entered in biathlon and cross-country skiing, as is Tanja Karišik of Bosnia & Herzegovina, and Dutch female skater Jorien ter Mors is entered in both speed skating and short-track speed skating. There are at least 10 examples of athletes entered in Sochi who will be competing in a second Winter Olympic sport.


General Factsheets – Previous NOC Medal Standings and Records

Here are the medal standings by NOC at previous Olympics, along with various notes and records about most medals by day, and most medals or gold medals by Games, by NOCs. At the end, you’ll find the medal standings day-by-day for the previous 4 Winter Olympics, so you can follow in Sochi and compare to how your nation was doing at previous recent Olympics.

General Factsheets – All Sorts of Stuff

Here is the second of our general factsheets with historical / statistical information leading up to Sochi. All sorts of things on here – data about Olympic Programs, which nations have competed and with how many competitors, all-time medal standings by nations, and the usual Opening Ceremony information about torchbearers, oath takers, dignitary information. And a bit more too.

General Factsheets – The Leaders, The Most, The Best

Here are the first of our 3 general factsheets on the Olympic Winter Games. This one gives multiple lists of Olympic records in every category you can imagine – most medals, most gold medals, most silvers, individual, overall, age records, appearance records, most events. Ask about it and it will be in here. More to come in the next 2 days on the Olympic Winter Games in general.

Winter Olympic Nations – Probably Not Gonna Compete

We’re in a little bit of a holding pattern while we await the IFs to publish the final lists of NOCs who have accepted their quota spots in the various 2014 sports. That should be out on Monday, the 27th. Final entries should be coming in starting that day as well.

In the interim, we’re fairly certain that the NOCs in the attached PDFs will not be competing, although all of them have competed previously at the Winter Olympics. That is because they no longer exist as nations – Czechoslovakia, Fed. Rep. of Germany (West), German Democratic Republic (East), Netherlands Antilles, Serbia & Montenegro, Soviet Union, Unified Team, and Yugoslavia. These are for historical interest only.

Previous Winter Olympic Nations – Not Competing in Sochi

The attached factsheets will give information about nations that have previously competed at the Olympic Winter Games. A few have actually qualified (Algeria, Puerto Rico, South Africa) but their NOCs have elected to not send any athletes to Sochi. There appear to be 22 nations that have previously competed at the Winter Olympics but will not be in Sochi.

We will send out the factsheets for the Sochi competing nations on Monday, after acceptances of quota spots is finalized. Tomorrow, just for historical interest, we’ll give information about those previous Winter Olympic Nations that no longer exist (Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Netherlands Antilles, East & West Germany)

Twins competing in the same event at the Winter Olympics

The Dutch speed skating twins Michel and Ronald Mulder have both qualified for the Sochi Olympics in the 500 m. The two are both medal hopefuls, being ranked 2nd and 5th in this season’s World Cup Standings. Twins competing in the same event at the Winter Olympics is not unique, but still relatively rare.

The first time this happened was in Garmisch-Partenkirchen 1936. The hockey players András and László Gergely both were forwards for the Hungarian team, which ranked 7th. Sixteen years later, twins won the first Winter Olympic medal together. Swedish hockey players Hans and Stig Andersson earned a hockey bronze in 1952. The two were born with surname Andersson, but changed their names to Tvilling before the 1956 Olympics, a name meaning “Twin” in Swedish. We are not entirely sure about the 3rd pair of twins to compete at the Winter Olympics. Sources are unclear on whether František and Steve Tikal are twins or not – they certainly are brothers. Their story is interesting nonetheles, as Steve had fled communist-ruled Czechoslovakia for the West, and represented Australia while his brother still played for their mother country.

The first gold winning twins came in 1964, again in ice hockey, with Soviet twins Boris and Yevgeny Mayorov. After retiring from active sports, Boris became coach of Spartak Moscow, while Yevgeny became the team’s director. The 1964 ice hockey event was the first competition at the winter Olympics with two twins competing, as Geza and Iuliu Szabo also played for Romania. In Sapporo 1972, the first twin sisters first competed. The Firth twins would eventually contest four Olympic Winter Games together. Sharon and Shirley were both members of the Gwich’in First Nation in Canada, and later featured in a CBC documentary called “The Olympians: The Firth Sisters”. The first mixed gender twins entered in 1976, when Christian and Karin Künzle of Switzerland ranked 7th in pairs figure skating.

At the 1984 Sarajevo Olympics, the best ever twin performance at the Winter Olympics came in the men’s slalom. Phil Mahre, already a silver medallist in 1980, claimed gold in the Olympic slalom. His twin brother Steve came second (after winning the first run) to produce the first 1-2 for twins in Winter Olympic history. After the Mahres, only one pair of twins has medalled: the Sedins. Henrik and Daniel helped Sweden win the 2006 hockey gold medal, equalling the performance of the Mayorovs. The Sedins have played together on the same team their entire professional career, both now being long time representatives of the Vancouver Canucks. In 1999, they  won the Elitserien Player of the Year together.

The full list of twins competing in the same event at the Winter Olympics:

  • András and László Gergely (Hungary) – Ice hockey 1936
  • Hans and Stig Andersson-Tvilling (Sweden) – Ice hockey 1952 & 1956
  • František and Steve Tikal (Czechoslovakia & Australia) – Ice hockey 1960 [twins not confirmed]
  • Boris and Yevgeny Mayorov (USSR) – Ice hockey 1964
  • Geza and Iuliu Szabo (Romania) – Ice hockey 1964 & 1968
  • Christer and Thommy Abrahamsson (Sweden) – Ice hockey 1972
  • Sharon and Shirley Firth (Canada) – Cross country skiing 1972 (5 km, relay), 1976 (5 km, 10 km, relay), 1980 (5 km) & 1984 (5 km, 10 km, 20 km)
  • Christian and Karin Künzle (Switzerland) – Figure skating 1976 (pairs)
  • Phil and Steve Mahre (USA) – Alpine skiing 1976 (giant slalom), 1980 (slalom, giant slalom) & 1984 (slalom, giant slalom)
  • Dorota and Małgorzata Tlałka-Mogore (Poland) – Alpine skiing 1984 (slalom)
  • Antonia and Ferdinand Becherer (West Germany) – Figure skating 1988 (pairs)
  • Catarina and Christina Eklund (Sweden) – Biathlon 1994 (7.5 km, 15 km)
  • Dmitry and Stanislav Dubrovsky (Russia) – Nordic combined 1994 (individual)
  • Kenji and Tsugiharu Ogiwara (Japan) – Nordic combined 1998 (individual, team)
  • Melanie and Maureen de Lange (Netherlands) – Short-track speed skating 1998 (relay)
  • Ben and Matt Hindle (Canada) – Bobsleigh 1998 (four-man)
  • François and Maurice Rozenthal (France) – Ice hockey 1998 & 2002
  • Nataliya and Vera Zyatikova (Belarus) – Cross-country skiing 2002 (10 km, 15 km, pursuit, relay)
  • Lanny and Tracy Barnes (USA) – Biathlon 2006 (15 km, relay)
  • Daniel and Henrik Sedin (Sweden) – Ice hockey 2006 & 2010
  • Julia and Stefanie Marty (Switzerland) – Ice hockey 2006 & 2010
  • Jocelyne and Monique Lamoureux (USA) – Ice hockey 2010
  • Laura and Sara Benz (Switzerland) – Ice hockey 2010
  • Valj and Vita Semerenko (Ukraine) – Biathlon 2010 (7.5 km, 10 km, 15 km, relay)