The Winter Olympics opening ceremony in Beijing, 4 February 2022.

by Geoffrey Churchman

Incongruously for those in Australasia, the Winter Olympics are always held at the hottest time of year so it’s hard to empathize with the low temperatures when watching in a warm room (I particularly remember watching the 1992 games in a hot room in Sydney at which skier Annelise Coberger won a slalom silver medal), but it’s easy to admire the skills and often artistry of the contestants while wrapped up in warm clothing, wearing sun visors when outside in highly reflective sun on snow and with feet remaining on little footings on slim boards or skates.

Because the number of countries where athletes excel in winter sports is rather smaller than in the Summer Olympics, the same select countries always seem to dominate, with Norway being number one — but we’re used to that scenario with rugby and cricket. In the North Island the opportunities to develop ski-field skills are limited to what can be done on the 5 on the central volcanos; ski-fields in the South Island are more abundant. NZ has won 3 medals in the Winter Olympics, but that compares poorly with the summer events.

A summary history of the Winter Olympics (the first were held in 1924 in Chamonix, France) is here. A schedule of events for this, the 24th Winter Games, as well as results is here.