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XII Olympic Winter Games
1976 Winter Olympics logo.svg
Emblem of the 1976 Winter Olympics[a]
Host cityInnsbruck, Austria
Athletes1,123 (892 men, 231 women)
Events37 in 6 sports (10 disciplines)
Opening4 February 1976
Closing15 February 1976
Opened by

The 1976 Winter Olympics, officially known as the XII Olympic Winter Games (German: XII. Olympische Winterspiele, French: XIIes Jeux olympiques d'hiver) and commonly known as Innsbruck 1976 (Austro-Bavarian: Innschbruck 1976), was a winter multi-sport event celebrated in Innsbruck, Austria, from February 4 to 15, 1976. The Games were awarded to Innsbruck after Denver, the original host city, withdrew in 1972. This was the second time the Tyrolean capital had hosted the Winter Olympics, having first done so in 1964.

Host selection

Main article: Bids for the 1976 Winter Olympics

The cities of Denver, Colorado, United States; Sion, Switzerland; Tampere, Finland; and Vancouver (with most events near Mount Garibaldi), British Columbia, Canada, made bids for the Games. The host was decided at the 69th IOC meeting in Amsterdam, Netherlands, on May 12, 1970.[1][2]

Original 1976 Winter Olympics bidding results[1]
City Country Round 1 Round 2 Round 3
Denver  United States 29 29 39
Sion  Switzerland 18 31 30
Tampere  Finland 12 8
VancouverGaribaldi  Canada 9

In a statewide referendum on 7 November 1972, Colorado voters rejected funding for the games, and for the first (and only) time a city awarded the Winter Games rejected them.[3] Denver officially withdrew on 15 November, and the IOC then offered the games to Whistler, British Columbia, Canada, but they too declined owing to a change of government following elections. Salt Lake City offered to host the games, but the IOC, still reeling from the Denver rejection, declined and selected Innsbruck to host the 1976 Winter Olympics, which had hosted the 1964 Winter Olympics games twelve years earlier, on 5 February 1973.


The mascot of the 1976 Winter Olympics was Schneemann, a snowman in a red Tyrolean hat. Designed by Walter Pötsch, Schneeman was purported to represent the 1976 Games as the "Games of Simplicity". It was also regarded as a good-luck charm, to avert the dearth of snow that had marred the 1964 Winter Olympics in Innsbruck.[4][5]


The official poster of the 1976 Winter Olympics
The official poster of the 1976 Winter Olympics


Main article: Venues of the 1976 Winter Olympics

Bergisel in 2004
Bergisel in 2004

Medals awarded

There were 37 events contested in 6 sports (10 disciplines). Ice dance made its Olympic debut. See the medal winners, ordered by sport:

Participating nations

37 nations participated in the 1976 Winter Olympic Games. The games marked the final time the Republic of China (Taiwan) participated under the Republic of China flag and name. After most of the international community recognized the People's Republic of China as the legitimate government of all China, the ROC was forced to compete under the name Chinese Taipei, under an altered flag and to use its National Banner Song instead of its national anthem. Andorra and San Marino participated in their first Winter Olympic Games.

Participating National Olympic Committees

Number of athletes by National Olympic Committees

Medal count

Pentti Peltoperä and Tuula Vilkas who represented Finland in speed skating events
Pentti Peltoperä and Tuula Vilkas who represented Finland in speed skating events

Further information: 1976 Winter Olympics medal table

These are the top ten nations that won medals at the 1976 Winter Games.

  *   Host nation (Austria)

1 Soviet Union136827
2 East Germany75719
3 United States33410
4 Norway3317
5 West Germany25310
6 Finland2417
7 Austria*2226
8 Switzerland1315
9 Netherlands1236
10 Italy1214
Totals (10 entries)353531101

Documentary film

In 1977, White Rock, a documentary film about the Innsbruck Winter Olympics was released.[13][14] The film was narrated by James Coburn,[13] and directed by Tony Maylam.[15][13][14] It was nominated for the Robert Flaherty Award (Feature Length Film, Documentary In Content) at the 30th British Academy Film Awards.[16] The film's soundtrack was composed by English keyboardist Rick Wakeman. His album, White Rock entered the UK Albums Chart on 12 February 1977, where it spent 9 weeks and reached number 14.[17]

See also



  1. ^ The emblem represents the coat of arms of Innsbruck, which shows the bridge on the Inn River that connects the old town and the Hötting district. The bridge and the Olympic rings symbolize the link that ties the many peoples of the world with friendship through the Olympic Games. The top of the coat of arms has two indents which match two of the Olympic rings and represent the 1964 and 1976 Winter Games which Innsbruck celebrates.


  1. ^ a b "Past Olympic host city election results". GamesBids. Archived from the original on January 24, 2011. Retrieved March 17, 2011.
  2. ^ "North America Gets '76 Olympics; Montreal Summer, Denver Winter". The Spokesman-Review. Associated Press. May 13, 1970. p. 14. Retrieved December 8, 2022 – via
  3. ^ Sanko, John (October 12, 1999). "Colorado only state ever to turn down Olympics". Rocky Mountain News. Archived from the original on June 1, 2009. Retrieved March 16, 2011.
  4. ^ International Olympic Committee. "Olympic Winter Games Mascots from Innsbruck 1976 to Sochi 2014". Archived from original June 3, 2014. Retrieved April 10, 2017.
  5. ^ Australian Olympic Committee. "A history of winter mascots". Retrieved April 10, 2017.
  6. ^ Dorothy Hamill bio. Retrieved on July 7, 2011.
  7. ^
  8. ^ Infoplease. Infoplease (February 1, 2009). Retrieved on July 7, 2011.
  9. ^ Archived March 13, 2008, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on July 7, 2011.
  10. ^ "Story #17".
  11. ^ CBC.CA. CBC.CA. Retrieved on July 7, 2011.
  12. ^ Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill; et al. "1976 Winter Olympics". Olympics at Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on 20 January 2011.
  13. ^ a b c "White Rock (1977)". IMDb. Retrieved October 2, 2017.
  14. ^ a b "Rick Wakeman – White Rock". Discogs. Retrieved October 2, 2017.
  15. ^ "White Rock (1977)". British Film Institute. Retrieved October 2, 2017.
  16. ^ "BAFTA Awards". British Academy of Film and Television Arts. Retrieved October 2, 2017.
  17. ^ "White Rock". Official Charts Company. Retrieved October 2, 2017.
Winter Olympics Preceded bySapporo XII Olympic Winter GamesInnsbruck 1976 Succeeded byLake Placid