"It's your chance to go out there and give it your best. There are not very many gold medals. I mean there's only in the ski events this year, there's only like 12 awarded. So they're pretty far and in between." - 1994 Downhill Olympic Gold Medalist Tommy Moe
Every four years since 1924, the Winter Olympic Games have been held in cities across the world; and just as the landscapes of these host cities have changed so has the nature of the games. 1964 Slalom Olympic Gold Medalist Pepi Stielger says, "Now so many years later, you have very complex operation attached to ski racing. The companies are sponsoring the ski racers. In 1960, it was still an amateur rule."
One event that’s been there from the beginning: Skiing. 1994 Downhill Olympic Gold Medalist Tommy Moe says, "It's your chance to go out there and give it your best. There are not very many gold medals. I mean there's only in the ski events this year, there's only like 12 awarded. So they're pretty far and in between."
Nordic skiing was the first to receive the gold medal in the inaugural 1924 games. It was then 12 years later the International Olympic Committee decided to add a new event to the games, alpine skiing. "I think snowboarding's done a lot for skiing and skiing has done lot for snowboarding. I think downhill ski racing was the original extreme sport when it first came out a long time ago and there wouldn't be any snowboarding without skiing," Moe said.
Unlike skiing, snowboarding was first introduced in the Olympics in 1998 in half pipe and slalom. In 2011, the International Olympic Committee added a new event for the 2014 games, slopestyle "There just modern sports now, that's what kids want to see now. They want to see cork 720's off these big jumps, and you know big spins and big airs," Moe said.
The added pressure for athletes tends to make them go faster, higher, and bigger, which all increase the risk, they may not come out on top. "Nowadays in modern medicine they always able to fix things back together very quickly, in the old days it was not that way," Stiegler said.
However because of all the advancements the sports have seen, it has helped propel them to higher limits. "There are so many nations and people that are competing in the Olympics. You don't have to just beat 6, 7, or 8, but now you have to beat 20 as good as you," Stiegler said, while Moe agrees. "The biggest changes are probably in the technical events like slalom and giant slalom, like the courses are much tournier now, the skis have gotten a lot better, and the courses have gotten a lot more challenging."