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This Day in USA Winter Olympic History – 8 February

USA Winter Olympic Medalists on 8 February

Medalist Sport X Event Medal Date
Irving Jaffee SSK M 10K Gold 8 Feb 1932
Billy Kidd ASK M Slalom Silver 8 Feb 1964
Jimmy Heuga ASK M Slalom Bronze 8 Feb 1964
Cindy Nelson ASK W Downhill Bronze 8 Feb 1976

This Day at the Olympics

385 Olympians were born

49 Olympians died

41 Olympic events were held


USA Births and Death on this Day at the Olympics

Born Athlete Sport OlyYr
8 Feb 1892 Ted Conant SAI 1932
8 Feb 1903 Joe Tierney ATH 1928
8 Feb 1908 James Eagan LAX 1928
8 Feb 1921 Leo Martin BOB 1948
8 Feb 1929 Pappy Gault BOX 1948
8 Feb 1929 Louis McMillan ROW 1952
8 Feb 1930 Cathy Hardy ATH 1952
8 Feb 1931 Gene Sandvig SSK 1956
8 Feb 1936 Charles Pranke CYC 1968
8 Feb 1941 Reg Benham BOB 1964
8 Feb 1947 Ronnie Harris BOX 1964
8 Feb 1949 Scotty Allen FSK 1964
8 Feb 1951 Lynn Skrifvars SWI 1972
8 Feb 1962 Nicole Kramer SWI 1976
8 Feb 1962 Dave Stephens ATH 1988-96
8 Feb 1968 Joy Fawcett FTB 1996-04
8 Feb 1970 Alonzo Mourning BAS 2000
8 Feb 1976 Jim Parque BSB 1996
8 Feb 1978 Christa Williams SOF 1996-00
8 Feb 1989 Nick Delpopolo JUD 2012
Died Athlete Sport OlyYr
8 Feb 1956 Bill Thompson ROW 1928
8 Feb 1981 Joe Dougherty ROW 1928-36
8 Feb 1981 Jimmy Morgan BOB 1976
8 Feb 1982 Edwin Fullinwider FEN 1920-24
8 Feb 1988 Ralph Flanagan SWI 1932-36
8 Feb 1992 Tom Williams ICH 1960
8 Feb 2006 Larry Black ATH 1972
8 Feb 2006 Kurt Orban HOK 1948-56
8 Feb 2010 Jimmy Heuga ASK 1964-68
8 Feb 2013 Bill Smith SWI 1948

USA Event Factsheets for 8 February

And now to help USA oriented sports fans and media, here are the USA Event Factsheets for the medal events concluding on 8 February. One event omitted is men’s snowboarding slopestyle, which finishes today but is a new event, and has no history or statistics to present to you.

More on Opening Ceremony Flagbearers

OK, we just noted that 5 flagbearers in Sochi will be carrying their national flag for the 3rd time at an Opening Ceremony. Does that equal the record? Not really. Five athletes have carried their national flag 4 times at the Opening Ceremony, but nobody has ever done it 4 times at the Winter Olympics. However, Spain’s Francisco Fernández Ochoa, an Alpine skiier, uniquely carried the Spanish flag 3 times at the Winter Olympics Opening Ceremonies, and also carried at the 1972 München Opening Ceremony – at a Summer Olympics. 30 athletes have carried their national flag 3 times at an Olympic Games – 25 before tonite.

Here is the list of flagbearers carrying their national flag 4 times at the Olympic Games.

NOC Athlete Sport Years
AUT Hubert Raudaschl SAI 1972/1984-88/1996
BEL Gaston Roelants ATH 1964-76
FSM Manuel Minginfel WLT 2000-12
TTO Hasely Crawford ATH 1972-84
ESP Francisco Fernández Ochoa ASK 1972(S/W)/1976-80

Opening Ceremony Flagbearers

OK, the flagbearers have been officially announced. There are 87 of them announced, as India, which will compete in these Games as Independent Olympic Athletes (IOA), will march under the Olympic Flag, so it seems they did not want to announce who will carry that flag.

No major surprises. As always, the majority of the flagbearers are former Olympic athletes – 52 of the 87 have competed at the Olympics previously. The 35 new Olympians to carry the flags are often from small countries, with only 1-2 competitors,  or nations competing in the Winter Olympics for the first time, such as Dominica, or Timor-Leste.

Five athletes will be carrying their nation’s flag for the 3rd time at an Opening Ceremony – Albanian Erjan Tola, and Nepalese Dachhiri Sherpa both carried their flags in 2006 and 2010. Three athletes will be doing this for a third time, but not consecutively –Cristian Simari Birkner carried the Argentine flag in 2002 and 2010, the Mexican Prince Hubertus Von Hohenlohe carried his flag in 1994 and 2010, while Eva Tofalvi carried the Romanian flag in 2002 and 2010.

Several athletes will carry their national flag for a second time – Bermuda’s Tucker Murphy, Bosnia & Herzegovina’s Žana Novaković, the Cayman Islands’ Dow Travers, Kyrgyzstan’s Dmitry Trelevski, and Moldavian Victor Pînzaru.

There are a few interesting notes about flagbearers. Hanna Mariën will carry the Belgian flag. She has competed at the Olympics before, but only at the Summer Olympics, winning a silver medal in the 4×100 relay at Beijing in 2008. Ivica Kostelić will carry the Croatian flag for the first time, but his sister, Janica, carried it three times at the Winter Olympics – 1998, 2002, 2006. And Todd Lodwick will carry the USA flag before competing in his 6th Winter Olympics. Only three times has an Opening Ceremony flagbearer done so before competing in his 6th Winter Olympics – Jochen Behle of Germany in 1998, Mike Dixon of Great Britain in 2002, and Finland’s Marja-Liisa Kirvesniemi-Hämäläinen in 1994.

If you want to carry your nation’s flag, it’s a good idea to be an Alpine skiier, as fully 33 of the flagbearers will compete in that sport. Second on the sporting list is cross-country skiing with 15. Ski jumping brings up the rear with only multiple Olympic medalist Simon Ammann of Switzerland carrying a flag from that sport.

And here is the complete list of flagbearers. The order in the far right column denotes the order in which they will march into the stadium. This is done as follows: Greece is always first, the host nation is always last (Russia), and the others come in alphabetically, in the alphabet of the host nation, in this case, Cyrillic Russian.

NOC Name Sport Sex Order
Albania Erjon Tola ASK M 5
Andorra Mireia Gutierrez ASK F 6
Argentina Cristian Simari Birkner ASK M 7
Armenia Sergey Mikayelyan CCS M 8
Australia Alex Pullin SNB M 2
Austria Mario Stecher NCO M 3
Azerbaijan Patrick Barchner ASK M 4
Belarus Alexei Grishin FRS M 10
Belgium Hanna Emilie Marien BOB F 11
Bermuda Tucker Murphy CCS M 12
Bosnia & Herzegovina Zana Novakovich ASK F 14
Brazil Jaqueline Mourao BIA/CCS F 15
British Virgin Islands Peter Crook FRS M 9
Bulgaria Maria Kirkova ASK F 13
Canada Hayley Wickenheiser ICH F 35
Cayman Islands Dow Travers ASK M 34
Chile Dominique Ohaco FRS F 82
China Tong Jiang FSK M 38
Chinese Taipei Sung Ching-Yang SSK M 69
Croatia Ivica Kostelic ASK M 79
Cyprus Constantinos Papamichael ASK M 36
Czech Republic Sarka Strachova ASK F 81
Denmark Lene Nielsen CUR F 24
Dominica Gary Di Silvestri CCS M 25
East Timor Yohan Goncalves Goutt ASK M 70
Estonia Indrek Tobreluts BIA M 85
Finland Enni Rukajarvi SNB F 77
France Jason Lamy-Chappuis NCO M 78
Georgia Nino Tsiklauri ASK F 23
Germany Maria Hoefl-Riesch ASK F 21
Great Britain Jon Eley STK M 17
Greece Panagiota Tsakiri CCS F 1
Hong Kong Pan To-Barton Lui STK M 22
Hungary Bernadett Heidum STK F 18
Iceland Saevar Birgisson CCS M 30
Ind. Olympic Athletes 50
Ireland Conor Lyne ASK M 29
Iran Hossein Saveh Shemshaki ASK M 28
Israel Vladislav Bykanov STK M 27
Italy Armin Zoeggeler LUG M 32
Jamaica Marvin Dixon BOB M 86
Japan Ayumi Ogasawara CUR F 87
Kazakhstan Yerdos Akhmadiyev CCS M 33
Korea Lee Kyou-Hyuk SSK M 60
Kyrgyzstan Dmitry Trelevski ASK M 37
Latvia Sandis Ozolins ICH M 39
Lebanon Alexandre Mohbat ASK M 40
Liechtenstein Tina Weirather ASK F 42
Lithuania Deividas Stagniunas FSK M 41
Luxembourg Kari Peters CCS M 43
Macedonia  FYRO Darko Damjanovski CCS M 16
Malta Elise Pellegrin ASK F 44
Mexico Hubertus Von Hohenlohe ASK M 46
Moldova Victor Pinzaru CCS M 47
Monaco Olivier Jenot ASK M 48
Mongolia Byambadorj Bold CCS M 49
Montenegro Tarik Hadzic ASK M 80
Morocco Adam Lamhamedi ASK M 45
Nepal Dachhiri Sherpa CCS M 51
Netherlands Jorien ter Mors STK F 52
New Zealand Shane Dobbin SSK M 53
Norway Aksel Lund Svindal ASK M 54
Pakistan Muhammad Karim ASK F 55
Paraguay Julia Marino FRS F 56
Peru Roberto Carcelen CCS M 57
Philippines Michael Christian Martinez FSK M 76
Poland Dawid Kupczyk BOB M 58
Portugal Arthur Hanse ASK M 59
Romania Eva Tofalvi BIA F 61
Russia Alexander Zubkov BOB M 88
San Marino Vincenzo Romano Michelotti ASK M 62
Serbia Milanko Petrovic BIA M 63
Slovakia Zdeno Chara ICH M 64
Slovenia Tomaz Razingar ICH M 65
Spain Javier Fernandez FSK M 31
Sweden Anders Soedergren CCS M 84
Switzerland Simon Ammann SKJ M 83
Tajikistan Alisher Qudratov ASK M 67
Thailand Kanes Sucharitakul ASK M 68
Togo Mathilde Amivi Petitjean CCS F 71
Tonga Bruno Banani LUG M 72
Turkey Alper Ucar FSK M 73
US Virgin Islands Jasmine Campbell ASK F 20
Ukraine Valentina Shevchenko CCS F 75
United States Todd Lodwick NCO M 66
Uzbekistan Kseniya Grigoreva ASK F 74
Venezuela Antonio Pardo ASK M 19
Zimbabwe Luke Steyn ASK M 26

Events Factsheets

OK, the real action starts tomorrow, with 5 medal events being decided – men’s biathlon 10 km, women’s cross-country skiathlon, women’s freestyle skiing moguls, men’s snowboarding slopestyle, and men’s speed skating 5,000 metres.

We will start posting separate Events Factsheets on this blog in just a few minutes for those events – save slopestyle, which is a new event. These will give all the historical and statistical background anyone will need to understand the event and write a story about it, should you be so inclined.

We have already done Sports Factsheets for all the Winter Olympic sports. The Events Factsheets will contain information that was in those, but will actually have a lot more info for you.

Each morning during the Winter Olympics we will post these, and try to get them out the morning before the actual event concludes so that the media can have them for their stories.

Those First Winter Olympics – in Saint Moritz???

The first Olympic Winter Games were held at Saint Moritz, Switzerland in 1928. What’s that you say? You thought it was at Chamonix, France in 1924? Hang on a second, and we’ll tell you why one can make a case that they actually started in 1928.

The history of the Winter Olympics is a bit complex actually. Pierre de Coubertin was not in favor in Winter Olympic Games, and opposed the idea. The concept started with the Scandinavians who started holding Nordic Games in 1901, and these are regarded as the “precursors to the Winter Olympics.” You can find out a lot about the Nordic Games and the origins of the Winter Olympics in this article by Ron Edgeworth – (A little disclaimer here – Ron Edgeworth is a pseudonym for the author of this post.)

Winter Olympic events were held at the 1908 Olympics in London, when figure skating was contested, and at the 1920 Olympics in Antwerp, when both figure skating and ice hockey were contested. The 1916 Olympics were scheduled for Berlin although they were never held because of World War I. Those Games also had skiing and skating events on their original program.

The leading figure in the history of the Nordic Games was Sweden’s Viktor Gustaf Balck, who was actually opposed to the idea of Winter Olympics, fearing that they would make his Nordic Games less significant, and in fact, this would happen, as the last Nordic Games would be contested in 1926.

The idea of holding winter sports at the Olympics is mentioned in IOC Sessions as early as 1909, and discussions about this concept are described going right up to the 1924 Chamonix competitions.

I say “Chamonix competitions” because they were never officially called Winter Olympic Games, although to be fair, most of the world’s press did describe them in that way. The working title of the 1924 Chamonix “Winter Olympics” was “Semaine internationale des sports d’hiver” (International Winter Sports Week). If you really want to get pedantic (and we do), their official title in the 1924 Official Report was “Les sports d’hiver organisés du vendredi 25 janvier au mardi 5 février 1924 à Chamonix – Mont Blanc par le Comité Olympique Français avec la collaboration de la Fédération Française des Sports et du Club Alpin Français sous le Haut Patronage du Comité International Olympique à l’occasion de la Célébration des Jeux de la VIIIme Olympiade.”

In May 1925 the International Olympic Committee (IOC) amended the Olympic Charter to allow for Olympic Winter Games. But the 1924 Chamonix International Winter Sports Week was never declared as the 1st Olympic Winter Games by the IOC in the minutes of its sessions, although this has been felt to be an error of a secretary taking the minutes of the session in 1925, as the IOC has long recognized Chamonix as the 1st Olympic Winter Games. Sorry, Saint Moritz.