2026 Winter Olympics Betting Offers
The Winter Olympics will be hosted in Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, from 6th-22nd February 2026. It will be the second time that Cortina d’Ampezzo has hosted, having done so in 1956, and the third time in Italy with Turin hosting in 2006.
The first such multi-sport even took place in 1924 when there were just five sports that were broken down into nine disciplines. They were bobsleigh, curling, ice hockey, Nordic skiing and skating. As with the Summer Olympics, they are held every four years and are seen as the pinnacle of sporting achievement for the athletes involved.
The sports that are included on the Winter Olympic roster are seemingly constantly being rotated, with the likes of curling and bobsleigh having been removed and then added back in. Other more modern sports are added to the list when the demand to do so becomes so great that it cannot be ignored. Organised by the International Olympic Committee, the events are based on ice or snow and therefore the Winter Olympics need to be hosted by cold countries.
The sports featured in the games rarely attract betting markets let alone deals, but for the Olympics this is different. To save you time we’ve listed the best deals below to help add value to any bets you want to place. Further down you can find details about the games, its history and format.
Winter Olympics Betting Offers for 2026
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Format Of The Winter Olympics
|Number Of Events
|1924 (Didn’t Happen In 1960)
|Happened In 1924 Then Added Permanently In 1998
|Short Track Speed Skating
|Happened in 1928 & 1948 Then Added Permanently In 2002
There is obviously some crossover with the Summer Olympics page on this site, largely because of how closely the two events are linked. In the case of both of them there are too many disciplines to look at them all in detail on this page, with more sports being added to the roster with every passing year.
In essence the Winter Olympics take place every four years and each discipline competed offers athletes the chance to win a Gold, Silver or Bronze Medal depending on whether they come first, second or third. The table above looks at the current list of sports as well as the year in which they were added to the Winter Olympic Charter.
Within each sport, then, there are numerous different events that take place. In snowboarding, for example, there’s the parallel, the half-pipe, the snowboard cross and the slopestyle. It’s obviously not as simple as just saying that there’s figure skating, Alpine skiing or skeleton events taking place, given that there will be variations within those different categories.
Places within each Winter Olympic discipline are limited, meaning that many athletes will miss out on their dream of competing. Let’s look at the figure skating at the 2018 Games as a good example. There were a total of 148 quota spots available, with each National Olympic Committee able to enter a maximum of nine men and nine women.
On top of that there were another ten team trophy spots available for countries that qualified to take part in the team events, meaning that a total of 158 athletes were able to take part in figure skating that year. There was no individual qualification for it, instead the athletes were chosen at the discretion of the National Olympic Committees for each participating country. They could enter three athletes per discipline.
When it came to the countries that were able to enter athletes, the decision was based on the results of the 2017 World Championships in most cases. That is a good reflection of how the qualification process works for most sports that are included at the Winter Olympics, though obviously they all have their own intricacies and rules.
Generally speaking there are a number of qualifying tournaments that are used to allocate spaces in the various Olympic sports. In the event that too many players meet the qualification criteria the various Federations will have the right to choose the athletes that will represent them at the Games.
As with the Summer Olympics, the International Olympic Committee offers no monetary reward for athletes taking part in the Winter Games. Instead, athletes that finish in the top three places in any given discipline are awarded a medal that reflects their position:
- Gold for 1st
- Silver for 2nd
- Bronze for 3rd
It is also possible for the individual countries to offer medal bonuses for their athletes. At the 2018 Winter Olympics, as an example. The USA rewarded Gold Medallists with $37,500, Silver Medallists with $22,500 and Bronze Medallists were given $15,000. In the event of a team sport the amount on offer was split evenly.
Aside from an amount of money earned by winning a specific medal, the top athletes are also able to earn money from endorsements and advertising deals. Some countries have Olympic Committees that are willing to fund athletes during their training, but this is rarely enough money to do anything other than cover basics such as rent and food.
The History Of The Winter Olympics
Baron Pierre de Coubertin was the driving force behind the formation of the Summer Olympics, with the International Olympic Committee being created in 1894 and the first modern Olympics occurring two years later.
It took much longer for the Winter Olympics to come into existence, with the inaugural competition taking place in Chamonix in France in 1924. The five original sports were split up into nine disciplines for the first Winter Olympics and they were as follows:
- Ice Hockey
- Military Patrol
- Cross-Country Skiing
- Nordic Combined
- Ski Jumping
- Figure Skating
- Speed Skating
The Winter Olympics evolved out of a predecessor in the form of the Nordic Games, which were the brainchild of General Viktor Gustaf Balck and took place in Stockholm in 1901 then again in 1903 and 1905 before switching to become a four-yearly even up until 1926. He was a friend of Pierre de Coubertin and campaigned to get winter sports added to the Olympic roster, eventually succeeding when figure skating took place at the Summer Games in London in 1908.
Eugenio Brunetta d’Usseaux suggested that a week of winter sports should be hosted by the IOC as part of the Summer Olympics in Stockholm in 1912, but his idea was dismissed as there was a desire to protect the Nordic Games. A week of winter sports would have taken place at the 1916 Olympics in Berlin, only for them to be cancelled because of the outbreak of the First World War.
The First Winter Olympics
When the First World War ended the Summer Olympics were held in Antwerp. Whilst a separate winter event still didn’t take place, figure skating and ice hockey were on the roster and proved to be successful and popular enough to cause the IOC into a rethink. In 1921 the IOC Congress voted to host an ‘International Winter Sports Week’ under the banner of the International Olympic Committee, with Chamonix chosen as the host venue.
In the end it was eleven days rather than a week, with more than 250 athletes attending from across sixteen nations. It was considered to be a major success and in 1925 the IOC officially decided to create an event specifically for the winter sports, retroactively declaring the 1924 tournament to be the first ever iteration of it. The second Winter Olympics was hosted by St. Moritz in Switzerland, where mixed weather caused the opening ceremony to take part in a blizzard and other events cancelled because it was so warm.
The Event Begins To Grow
The third Winter Olympics was also the first to be hosted outside of Europe, with Lake Placid in the United States of America playing host. The event had grown ever so slightly compared to the debut tournament, with seventeen nations taking part and 252 athletes attending. That made is smaller than the 1928 tournament, largely because Lake Placid was harder for most people to get to and the Great Depression caused competitors financial problems.
Two German towns named Garmisch and Partenkirchen joined together in order to host the 1936 Games, which was similar to the Summer Olympics insomuch as it was used as a propaganda exercise by the Nazi government of the time. 1936 was also the last time that the Summer and Winter Olympics were hosted by the same country and in the same year as each other. In sporting terms, it was the year that saw Alpine skiing get its debut, though Austrian and Swiss skiers refused to take part after teachers were banned on account of them being considered to be professionals.
The Post-War Games
There was supposed to be a Winter Olympics in Sapporo in 1940 but it was decided in 1938 that it shouldn’t take place there because Japan had invaded China. Instead it was to be moved to Garmisch and Partenkirchen once more but then the Germans invaded Poland in 1939 and the outbreak of the Second World War put paid to that idea. The 1944 Games, which were supposed to take place in Italy, were also cancelled. As a result it wasn’t until the end of the War that another Winter Olympic Games was able to take place, with St. Moritz chosen as the venue.
The neutrality of Switzerland during the War meant that it had largely been protected from bombings and other damage and the fact that most of the venues were still in place from the 1928 Games meant that it seemed the most logical host. This time 28 countries sent competitors along, including two ice hockey teams from the United States who both claimed to be the legitimate ones. In the end 10 different countries won Gold Medals, which was more than in any of the previous Winter Olympics and suggested that it had begun to gain prestige as a tournament.
Olympic Popularity Reaches A New High
The 1956 Olympic Games were hosted by Cortina d’Ampezzo, the Italian town that had missed out on the chance to host the Games in 1944. It was notable for many reasons, not the least of which was the fact that it was the first Winter Games that was broadcast on international television. It was used as something of a test for the ability for television companies to show large-scale sporting events. It was also the year that the Soviet Union took place in the Olympics for the first time.
As with the debut of the Soviets in the Summer Olympics, there was a degree of controversy surrounding the country’s success on account of the fact that the state had sponsored amateur athletes, essentially making them professionals as they were paid by the country to train at their events full-time. Four years later and further developments in the Olympic setup took place when Squaw Valley in the United States was the host and became the first Olympics to offer a village for the athletes. It also used a computer for the first time to tabulate the results.
As well as the main actual sports that are part of the Olympic roster and attract top athletes from all over the world to take part in them, there have also been so-called demonstration sports that have occurred from time to time. These were typically sports that were popular locally in the host country and were put on in order to ‘demonstrate’ them to an audience from outside the area.
Demonstration sports never had medals attached to them and were discontinued in 1992. Many people still think that as something of a shame, especially considering the fact that some well-loved sports were added to the Olympic roster after first being demonstration sports. These include military patrol, which was a demonstration event in 1924, 1928, 1936 and 1948 before finally becoming an actually Olympic sport in 1960.
Previous Olympic Games
|Milan & Cortina d’Ampezzo
|Salt Lake City
|Cortina d’Ampezzo (Canceled)
Winter Olympic Records
The Winter Olympics is simply too all-encompassing an event with far too many individual disciplines within it to go into the records of each individual sport or moment within said sports.
That doesn’t mean that there aren’t some records that we can share with you, however, including the fact that the United States of American holds the records for hosting the Olympics more than any other country, having done so four times.
Never Been Hosted In Southern Hemisphere
France is second on the list, having hosted the Winter Games three times at the time of writing. Italy is scheduled to join France on three hosting years, given that Milan and Cortina are down to co-host the 2026 Winter Olympics.
No city in the southern hemisphere of the planet has hosted the Winter Olympics for the simple reason that the Games take place in the winter, which is summer on that side of the planet.
12 Nations Have Competed In All Games
There have been 12 countries that have taken part in every single iteration of the Winter Olympics since the first one in 1924. They are:
- Great Britain
- The United States of America
The US is the only country to have won a Gold Medal at every single Winter Games to date, though unlike in the Summer Olympics they do not lead the way in the all-time medal table. That honour goes to Norway, though it would be Germany if you were to include the medals of West Germany into the table.
Norway Lead The Medal Table
Norway’s 148 Golds, 133 Silvers and 124 Bronze Medals mean that they sit on 405 medals in total, which is ahead of the 330 that the US have won with a breakdown of 113 Golds, 122 Silvers and 95 Bronze Medals. The ‘worst’ nation is arguably Great Britain, given that the country has taken part in all Winter Olympics to date and yet sits on just 34 medals (12 gold, 5 silver, 17 bronze), which is one more than the Czech Republic who have only taken part in seven Games.
Germany are in third place with 267 medals to date, although if you include the 39 medals that West Germany and 110 from East Germany won that would take them to 416 (152 gold, 149 silver, 113 bronze), ahead of Norway.
Arguably that even more impressive given Germany as a whole has taken part in 19 games to date. Obviously East and West Germany got to compete in 6 editions together, so perhaps you can say they had 25 games, but at the same time the West and the East were competing for the same medals. Overall I think Germany edge it over Norway, but the record books show Norway top and that is that.
If we also combine Russia and the Soviet Union we get a return of 315 medals from 15 games (125 gold, 96 silver, 94 bronze), which is pretty impressive. Russia and the Soviet Union have missed events primarily due to political reasons.
Several Cities Have Hosted Two Games
In terms of individual cities that have played host to the Winter Olympics, the most is two. Lake Placid did so in 1932 and then again in 1980, whilst St. Moritz hosted in both 1928 and 1948. Cortina d’Ampezzo will join that list in 2026 when it shares hosting duties with Milan, having previously hosted the 1956 Games.
Marit Bjørgen Most Successful Athlete
The most successful athlete of all-time at the Winter Olympics is the Norwegian Marit Bjørgen, who notched up 15 medals thanks to 8 Golds, 4 Silvers and 3 Bronzes. The cross-country skier is followed closely by her compatriot, the biathlon athlete Ole Einar Bjørndalen, who won 13 medals during his career. The top three is closed out by another Norwegian in the form of the cross-country skier Bjørn Dæhlie, who has 12 meals to his name.