The XXI Winter Olympic Games took place in 2010 in Zürich and other cities of the Alpine Confederation (AC). They were the first Olympic Games since 1980's Summer Games in Moscow and the first Winter Games since the ones in Lake Placid, USA, held earlier that year.
The International Olympic Committee was re-founded in Santiago, Chile in 2001, but the new IOC found it impossible to make concrete plans for a new Games for several years. In 2006, the Alpine Confederation approached the IOC, now based in Auckland, New Zealand, with a bid to host a Winter Games on a limited scale, as a forerunner to a full-fledged Olympics to be held at a later date. The IOC was wary at first, since any Games held in the AC would attract a limited pool of teams, mainly European. Nevertheless, there was a clear need to move forward, and the IOC accepted the Alpine bid. It made the announcement at the same time it announced that Auckland would host the first postwar Summer Games in September 2010; these Auckland Games would later be postponed to 2012.
The Alpine Confederation's concept - a limited Olympic event basically regional in scope - helped to inspire the plan, announced in 2009, for small-scale Winter Games to be held in several cities in September 2010.
The AC took four years to prepare for its celebration of the Games. While Zürich was the official host city and the site of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, events were held at venues throughout the Confederation, befitting the decentralized nature of the AC.
Competitions took place in the 11 sports, the same ones as in 1980:
- Alpine Skiing (Downhill, Slalom, Giant Slalom, and Combined)
- Biathlon (20 km and 4x7.5 km relay)
- Bobsleigh (2-man and 4-man)
- Figure Skating (Single, Pairs, and Ice Dancing)
- Ice hockey
- Luge (Singles and Doubles)
- Cross-Country Skiing (15 km, 50 km, and 4x10 km relay)
- Nordic Combined
- Ski Jumping (Normal Hill)
- Speed Skating (500, 1500, 5000, and 10,000 meters)
In addition, two Demonstration Sports took place alongside the official competitions. Ice stock (Eisstockschießen) was demonstrated for the third time, while the Celtic Alliance sponsored a Curling demonstration on a roofed outdoor sheet prepared in Bern; this was the second Olympic appearance for curling.
Nineteen nations sent competitors to the Zürich Games. They are listed in their official order in French.
- Allemagne du Nord
- L'Alliance Celtique
- Pologne de l'Est
- République-Unie d'Amérique
- Union Soviétique
- La Confédération Alpine
In addition, the Kingdom of Cleveland sent a rink of four men to compete in the Curling demonstration, but the country was not an official Olympic competitor. Its athletes marched with the Celtic Alliance in the opening ceremony. Notable absentees from the Games included any competitors (except Siberia) from east Asia: Japan, Korea, and Taiwan were not able to send competitors, citing the distance and expense and, in Japan's case, the unstable political climate in Europe, doubtless referring to ongoing troubles between the Alpine Confederation and Sicily.
The Olympic Torch was lit in Olympia in Morea on October 22, 2009, for the first time in almost three decades. The Lighting Ceremony, performed by actresses dressed as ancient priestesses, began the celebration of the Games. Greek runners, including former Olympians and other athletes, politicians and dignitaries, and community notables, carried the torch through every state of the Greek Confederation, except for Mount Athos and the Suez Mandate. At several points in the Greek relay, the torch was carried by ship, including a Greek Naval patrol boat from Crete to Greek Libya and then on an ANZC naval vessel to the Ionian Islands, due to conflicts in the area. In the climax of the relay, from the Ionian island of Corfu to the Greek shore at Sarande, in a replica of an ancient trireme, before the final leg of the Greek relay to Ioannina. Along the way, the revival of the Olympic Movement was celebrated as a reawakening of Greek nationhood, even though the country did not expect to win any medals in the Winter Games themselves.
From Ioannina, the Torch was taken via military transport helicopter to Rijeka in the Croatian-speaking areas Venice. That nation, an Alpine protectorate, sent no athletes to the Games but was privileged to be one of only three nations to host the Torch Relay. From Rijeka, the Torch was passed in a loop around the Istrian peninsula and through Slovenian areas of Venice to Trieste, Venice's seat of government. Skirting the Adriatic coast, the Torch was finally carried to the ceremonial capital, the city of Venice itself. From there, it made a U-turn so that its overland route into Austria could pass through the Friuli-Venezia-Giulia region of northern Italy, the shortest route into Alpine territory. The choice to carry it over land sent a powerful political message: after years of Alpine occupation, northern Italy was once again calm and secure enough that runners could pass safely through. The Torch entered the Confederation itself on December 7 and began to tour the country. The route was planned to include every Alpine canton in Austria, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein.
The Olympics were formally opened on Friday, February 12, in Letzigrund Stadium in Zürich, which had been refurbished for the Games. The opening ceremony was first and foremost a celebration of the revived Olympic movement. Artistic performances showcased the culture of the different regions of the Confederation. Confederation President Charles Remond opened the Games at 8:11pm local time. The Olympic Flame was lit by the final Torchbearer, Austrian ski jumper Andreas Felder, whose Olympic ambitions for the 1984 Games had been halted by the Third World War in September 1983.
The winners were ranked by weighted scoring - Gold=5, Silver=2, and Bronze=1. The host nation is highlighted.
|Men's slalom||Sweden||Alpine Confederation||Alpine Confederation|
|Men's giant slalom||Alpine Confederation||Norway||Norway|
|Men's downhill||Alpine Confederation||Norway||Alpine Confederation|
|Men's combined||Alpine Confederation||Alpine Confederation||Alpine Confederation|
|Women's slalom||Alpine Confederation||Sweden||Burgundy-et-Franche-Comté|
|Women's giant slalom||Alpine Confederation||Alpine Confederation||
|Women's downhill||Alpine Confederation||Alpine Confederation||Alpine Confederation|
|Women's combined||North Germany||Sweden||Alpine Confederation|
|Men's Individual||Norway||Norway, Belarus||Not awarded|
|Men's Relay||Norway||Alpine Confederation||Sweden|
|Women's Individual||Norway||Belarus||North Germany|
|Woman's Relay||Burgundy-et-Franche-Comté||North Germany||Norway|
|2-man sleigh||Prussia||Prussia||Alpine Confederation|
|Men's Singles||Alpine Confederation||Canada||Siberia|
|Women's Singles||Prussia||Alpine Confederation||Prussia|
Cross Country Skiing
|15 km Freestyle||Alpine Confederation||Sweden||Prussia|
|50 km Classical||Norway||Prussia||Sweden|
|4 x 10 km Relay||Sweden||Norway||Bourgogne-et-Franche-Comté|
|Individual Large||Alpine Confederation||Finland||Norway|
|Individual Normal||Bourgogne-et-Franche-Comté||Alpine Confederation||Finland|
|Team Relay||Alpine Confederation||Prussia||Bourgogne-et-Franche-Comté|
|Men's normal hill||Simon Ammann, Alpine Confederation||Adam Malysz, East Poland||Heinrich Lehner, Apine Confederation|
|Men's large hill||Simon Ammann, Alpine Confederation||Adam Malysz, East Poland||Heinrich Lehner, Apine Confederation|
|Women's normal hill (exposition)|
|Large Hill Team||Alpine Confederation||Prussia||Norway|
Ice Stock (demonstration)
|Men's||Alpine Confederation||Siberia||North Germany|
Lake Placid 1980 Winter Olympics and 30 years
|Winter Olympic Games|
XXI Olympiad (2010)