Innsbruck, with a long tradition of winter sports, had suffered one of its worst winter seasons. International Olympic Committee (IOC) officials were confronted by the seemingly insurmountable task of bringing in more snow to the Olympic venues if the Games were to be saved. Ten days before the Opening Ceremonies, a Herculean effort by the Austrian army saw 20,000 ice blocks transported from a local mountain top using the luge and bobsleigh tracks.
Approximately 40,000 cubic meters of snow was used for the alpine courses and flattened by hand and foot, with an additional 20,000 cubic meters set aside for emergencies.
Emerging commercialism and its continuing confrontation with IOC President Avery Brundage's inflexible definition of an amateur, led to a ban on skiers from displaying their equipment during television interviews.
Canadian alpine teams weren't considered much of a threat following their pre-Olympic competition results. Nancy Greene was by far the best Canadian alpine skier at Innsbruck with a 7th place finish in the downhill event. Peter Duncan skied extremely well with a 19th place finish in the slalom. The nordic teams struggled throughout the Games as inadequate funding led to the cancellation of their dry-land training, and participation for only one pre-Olympic competition.
Although Canadian skiers were unsuccessful in winning a medal, the Canadian teams continued to earn the respect and recognition of all the nations present. Even with marked improvement, Canadians still remained well behind their European competitors. It would require training improvements and more funding support if Canadian aspirations were to be realized.
Opening date: January 29, 1964
Closing date: February 9, 1964
Candidate cities: Calgary (CAN), Lahti/Are (SWE)
To return to 'Canada's Olympic Skiing/Snowboarding Memories' exhibit, please click here.
For a brief history of the Olympic Games, please click here.
To learn more about the skiing disciplines at the Olympic Winter Games, please click here.