Winter Olympics 2002 Winter Olympics 2002


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Mike Powell/Allsport

Discovered in bogs at Sweden and Finland, the earliest recorded skis date to between 4,000 and 5,000 years ago. The ski runners were bones from large animals, strapped to shoes with leather thongs.

1200 AD: Skis are first used. King Sverre of Sweden equips scouts with them, sending the troops on reconnaissance missions.

19th century: Norway begins the tradition of modern sports skiing.

1880s and 1890s: The sport gains popularity in other European countries.

1924: Arnold Lunn of England organizes the first combined event, a downhill and slalom.

1928: Lunn and Hannes Schneider create the first of the great ski races the Arlberg-Kandahar which eventually turns into a circuit, with events at different resorts throughout the Alps.

1930: Lunn's efforts lead the International Ski Federation (FIS) to endorse alpine ski races.

1936: Alpine skiing makes its Olympic debut at the Garmisch-Partenkirchen Games. The sport consists of only two events the men and women's combined. Nordic skiing had been the premier event since the 1924 Games, but alpine soon gains popularity.

1948: Hedy Schlunegger of Switzerland wins the first Olympic women's downhill at the St. Moritz Games.

1992: At the Albertville Games, Italian Alberto Tomba becomes the first alpine skier to win the same Olympic event twice. Tomba successfully defends his 1988 giant slalom gold medal.

1998: Austrian Hermann Maier overcomes a violent crash during the downhill to win gold in the men's giant slalom and super-G at the Nagano Olympic Games. American Picabo Street comes back from a serious knee injury to capture gold in the women's super-G.