Supriya Ghosh (Editor)

1976 Winter Olympics

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Host city
Innsbruck, Austria

Opening ceremony
February 4

Nations participating

Closing ceremony
February 15

1976 Winter Olympics

Athletes participating
1123 (892 men, 231 women)

37 in 6 sports (10 disciplines)

The 1976 Winter Olympics, officially known as the XII Olympic Winter Games (French: XIIes Jeux olympiques d'hiver, German: Olympische Winterspiele 1976), were a winter multi-sport event which was celebrated February 4–15, 1976 in Innsbruck, Austria. It was the second time the Tyrolean city hosted the Games, which were awarded to Innsbruck after Denver, the original host city, withdrew in 1972.


Host selection

The cities of Denver, Colorado, United States; Sion, Switzerland; Tampere, Finland; and Vancouver (with the Garibaldi mountains), Canada, made bids for the Games.

The games were originally awarded to Denver on May 12, 1970, but a 300% rise in costs and worries about environmental impact led to Colorado voters' rejection on November 7, 1972, by a 3 to 2 margin, of a $5 million bond issue to finance the games with public funds.

Denver officially withdrew on November 15, and the IOC then offered the games to Whistler, British Columbia, Canada, but they too declined owing to a change of government following elections. Whistler was later associated with neighbouring Vancouver's successful bid for the 2010 games.

Salt Lake City, Utah, a 1972 final candidate who eventually hosted in 2002, was offered by the U.S. Olympic Committee in early January 1973 as a substitute host. By the end of the month and lacking federal assistance, Mayor Jake Garn of Salt Lake City withdrew their bid, and Lake Placid was soon offered by the USOC. Still reeling from the Denver rejection, the IOC selected Innsbruck, which had recently hosted in 1964, on February 4, 1973.

The chart below displays the original vote count for the 69th IOC meeting at Amsterdam, Netherlands, in 1970, before the Denver rejection and the installation of Innsbruck, Austria, as alternate host.


The mascot of the 1976 Winter Olympics is a Tyrolean snowman Games of Simplicity.


  • First Games under the presidency of Michael Morris, 3rd Baron Killanin
  • Austrian favorite Franz Klammer won the men's downhill event in alpine skiing in 1:45.73, after great pressure from his country and defending champion Bernhard Russi of Switzerland.
  • Dorothy Hamill of the US won the gold in Figure Skating, and inspired the popular "wedge" haircut.
  • Elegant British skater John Curry altered his routine to appeal to Olympic judges, winning gold.
  • American skater Terry Kubicka attempted – and completed – a dangerous backflip in figure skating.
  • Rosi Mittermaier of West Germany nearly swept the women's alpine skiing events, earning two golds and a silver, missing the third gold by 0.13 seconds.
  • Soviet speed skater Tatiana Averina won four medals. The U.S. team won six medals in speed skating.
  • In the 4-man bobsled, the East German team won the first of three consecutive titles.
  • The USSR won its fourth straight ice hockey gold medal; for the second consecutive Olympics, Canada refused to send a team.
  • Sports technology, in the guise of innovative perforated skis, sleek hooded suits and streamlined helmets appeared in alpine skiing, speed skating and ski jumping, making headlines in Innsbruck.
  • A second cauldron for the Olympic flame was built to represent the 1976 Games. Both it and the cauldron from the 1964 games were lit together.
  • The Soviet Union won the most medals with 13 gold, 6 silver, and 8 bronze.
  • Bobsleigh and luge competed on the same track for the first time ever.
  • Venues

  • Axamer Lizum – Alpine skiing except men's downhill
  • Bergiselschanze – Ski jumping (large hill), Opening Ceremonies
  • Eisschnellaufbahn – Speed skating
  • Kombinierte Kunsteisbahn für Bob-Rodel Igls – Bobsleigh, Luge
  • Messehalle – Ice hockey
  • Olympiahalle – Figure skating, Ice hockey, Closing Ceremonies
  • Patscherkofel – Alpine skiing (men's downhill)
  • Seefeld – Biathlon, Cross-country skiing, Nordic combined, Ski jumping (normal hill)
  • Medals awarded

    There were 37 events contested in 6 sports (10 disciplines). Ice dancing made its debut to the Olympics. See the medal winners, ordered by sport:

    Participating nations

    37 nations participated in the 1976 Winter Olympic Games. The games marked the final time the Republic of China (Taiwan) participated under the Republic of China flag and name. After most of the international community recognized the People's Republic of China as the legitimate government of all China, the ROC was forced to compete under the name Chinese Taipei, under an altered flag and to use its National Banner Song instead of its national anthem. Andorra and San Marino participated in their first Winter Olympic Games.

    Medal count

    (Host nation highlighted)


    1976 Winter Olympics Wikipedia

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