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.


One thought on “Winter Sports Doublers”

  1. Hi Bill, I don’t know if you’ve seen recent articles on Georgia Simmerling but she is attempting to be part of the Canadian track cycling team pursuit at Rio 2016.
    This would follow her having competed at Vancouver 2010 in alpine skiing and at Sochi 2014 in ski cross. My question is: how many athletes have competed in three different disciplines over the course of three Olympic Games (in addition to the names above)? I’m hoping with your extensive database you’ll have the answer. Thanks so much!

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