V Olympic Winter Games Held in St. Moritz, Switzerland
The 1948 Winter Olympics, officially known as the V Olympic Winter Games, was a winter multi-sport event celebrated in 1948 in St. Moritz, Switzerland.
The Games were the first to be celebrated after World War II, a twelve year hiatus. From the selection of a host city in a neutral country to the exclusion of Japan and Germany, the political atmosphere of the post-war world was evident during the Games. The organizing committee faced several challenges due to the lack of financial and human resources consumed by the war.
There were 28 nations that marched in the opening ceremonies on January 30, 1948. Nearly 670 athletes competed in 22 events in four sports. The Games also featured two demonstration sports: Military patrol, which later became the Biathlon and Winter pentathlon, which was discontinued after these Games. Notable performances were turned in by figure skaters Dick Button and Barbara Ann Scott. Most of the athletic venues were already in existence from the first time St. Mortiz hosted a Winter Games in 1928. All of the venues were outdoors, which meant the Games were heavily dependent on favorable weather conditions.
Since these Games were the first since World War II they were given the name, "The Games of Renewal." Japan and Germany were not invited to these Games as they were still ostracized by the international community for their role in World War II. Their absence would be short-lived as they returned to Olympic competition in 1952. The Soviet Union did not send athletes to the St. Mortiz Games of 1948, but they did send ten delegates as observers of the Games to determine how successful the Soviet athletes would have been had they competed.
28 nations competed in St. Moritz, the same number as the previous Winter Games in 1936. Chile, Denmark, Iceland, Korea, and Lebanon all made their Winter Olympic debut at these Games. Germany and Japan were not invited because of their involvement in World War II. Estonia and Latvia had been annexed by the Soviet Union in 1940, and would not compete again as independent nations until 1992. Argentina returned to the Winter Games after missing the 1932 and 1936 Games, and Australia and Luxembourg did not compete in 1948, even though they had participated in 1936.