The Nordic Games, a competition of winter sports organized in the Scandinavian countries (Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Denmark), existed prior to the Winter Olympics. The first Winter Olympics did not take place until almost thirty years after the first modern Olympics were held in Athens, Greece, in 1896. The first Winter Games were held from January 25 to February 4, 1924, in Chamonix, France. Four years later, athletes came to compete in a second Winter Olympics in St. Moritz, Switzerland. From 1928 until 1994 the Winter Games took place every four years in the same calendar year as the Summer Games. In 1986 the International Olympic Committee voted to change the schedule so that the Winter and Summer Games would be held every four years, alternating in even-numbered years. To do this, the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, took place only two years after the Winter Olympics were held in Albertville, France.
Further Information: Anderson, Dave. The Story of the Olympics. New York: Beech Tree, 1996; Wallechinsky, David. The Complete Book of the Winter Olympics. Woodstock, New York: Overlook Press, 1998.