Canada & the (Modern) Olympic Games

Before I write about the modern Olympics, I need to pick up from my last Olympics post (This week in Canadian History – January Week 3).

In 1612, the Cotswold Olimpik Games were founded in England. Then, an Oxford scholar discovered the original site of Olympia, Greece, in 1766.  A little later, in 1829, the Temple of Zeus was found by French archaeologists.

The next event of note was on June 23, 1894, when the International Olympic Committee is formed.  Baron Pierre de Coubertin convened the first Olympic Congress in Paris, France. The first official international Olympic Games opened in Athens, Greece.

Canadian Flag
Canadian Flag
And so begins Canada’s participation in the Olympic Games. The second Olympic Games was held in 1900, in Paris, France, in conjunction with the Paris World’s Fair.  Canada returned home with 2 medals.  The third Olympic Games, in St. Louis, Missouri in 1904, Canada won 6 medals.  Then came the fourth Olympic Games in 1908 in London, England, where Canada won 16 medals.  In 1912, the fifth Olympic Games was held in Stockholm, Sweden, where Canada won 8 medals.

Between 1914 and  1918, the sixth Olympic Games were not played because of World War I, but was honoured by name. The seventh Olympic Games were held in Antwerp, Belgium, and Canada won 9 medals.

1924, the seventh Olympic Games, marks the beginning of Winter and Summer Olympic Games. The Summer Games were held in Paris, France and Canada won 4 medals; the Winter Games were held in Chamonix, France, and Canada’s medal count was one.

By the numbers: following is a listing of the Games (and medals won in the name of Canada):

1928, Summer Games at Amsterdam, Netherlands (15);  Winter Games at St. Moritz, Switzerland, (1).
1932, Summer Games at Los Angeles, California (15); Winter Games at Lake Placid, New York (7).
1936, Summer Games at Berlin, Germany (9); Winter Games at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany (1).
1948, Summer Games at London, England (3); Winter Games at St. Moritz, Switzerland (3).
1952, Summer Games at Helsinki, Finland (3); Winter Games at Oslo, Norway (2).
1956, Summer Games at Melbourne, Australia (6); Winter Games at Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy (3).
1960, Summer Games at Rome, Italy (1); Winter Games at Squaw Valley, California (4).
1964, Summer Games at Tokyo, Japan (4); Winter Games at Innsbruck, Austria (3).
1968, Summer Games at Mexico City, Mexico (5); Winter Games at Grenoble, France (3).
1972, Summer Games at Munich, West Germany (5); Winter Games at Sapporo, Japan (1).
1976 Winter Games at Innsbruck, Austria (3). 1978 Summer Games at Montreal, Quebec (11).

At the 1980 Winter Games in Lake Placid, U.S., Canada won 2 medals. The Summer Games at Moscow, Canada did not take part. The boycott was a part of a package of actions initiated by the United States to protest against the Soviet invasion in Afghanistan.

1984, Summer Games at Los Angeles, California (44); Winter Games at Sarajevo, Yugoslavia (4).
1988, Summer Games at Seoul, Korea (10); Winter Games at Calgary, Alberta (5).
1992, Summer Games at Barcelona, Spain (18); Winter Games at Albertville, France (7).
1994 Winter Games at Lillehammer, Norway (13); 1996 Summer Games at Atlanta, U.S. (22).

1998 Winter Games at Nagano, Japan (15). For the first time, Canada’s best players (professional players from the National Hockey League) were able to compete at the Olympics, so Canadians had high expectations. We did not get a medal in that sport.

2000 Summer Games at Sydney, Australia (14); 2002 Winter Games at Salt Lake City, U.S. (17); 2004 Summer Games at Athens, Greece (12); 2006 Winter Games at Turin, Italy (24); 2008 Summer Games at Beijing, People’s Republic of China (18); 2010 Winter Games at Vancouver, British Columbia (26); 2012 Summer Games at London, England (18).

Total Summer Olympic Games medals for Canada: 278; International Rank: 20.

Total Winter Olympic Games medals for Canada: 145; International Rank: 6.

My next post about the Olympic Games will be a few notable anecdotes and stories.


  1. Those are very impressive totals– Canada is clearly a force to be reckoned with!! And I’m awarding this blog Gold Medals for writing, history, research, reporting, and, of course, charm!! : )


  2. Really nice to see the changing fortunes over time.

    You mentioned that the US and Canada (in particular but not alone) boycotted the 1980 Summer Olympiad in Moscow because the Soviets had the audacity to invade Afghanistan (how ironic, in retrospect).

    I think it is equally important, however, to remember that the Soviet bloc boycotted the 1984 Summer Olympiad in LA, which may go a long way to explaining the sudden influx of Canadian medals (44 vs. the high single- to low-double digits around that).

    By no means am I trying to minimize Canada’s success abroad, but that one, I felt, needed a bit of context.


    • I agree. I had originally written a blurb about it, but it was a long post as it was. I don’t like long posts. We’ll see what I post in the next one. 🙂 Thank you, though, for the comment. I appreciate it!


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