Why Are Winter Olympics Not Held in The Southern Hemisphere?

In the 22 years since 1924, no country in the Southern Hemisphere has played host to the Winter Olympics. Summer Olympics have been staged only twice in the southern hemisphere, both times in Australia (1956 and 2000; 2016 games will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil).

Why Are Winter Olympics Not Held in the Southern Hemisphere?

Several political and socioeconomic issues contribute to the dominance of the Northern Hemisphere in hosting the games. Northern Hemisphere countries, where many of the world’s wealthiest people live, contribute heavily to the cost of organising and hosting the games.

Why Are Winter Olympics Not Held in The Southern Hemisphere?

The price tag for Russia’s Sochi Olympics, which is anticipated to exceed $50 billion, is something that few other countries could or would be prepared to cover.

However, Geology And Climate Play Significant Roles in the North’s Winter Olympic Exclusivity.

Richard Seager, a geologist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, told Live Science, “To host a Winter Olympics, you need a region with snow.” For the rest of the Southern Hemisphere, “it would very much limit you to the Andes.”

Of course, Antarctica isn’t included in this because it does get snow, but the climate there is too harsh to host the Olympics.

Because more landmasses in the Northern Hemisphere are located at high latitudes, they receive less direct sunshine in the winter and become colder, making them more prone to snowfall, than landmasses in the Southern Hemisphere. The bulk of the Southern Hemisphere’s landmass is situated near the equator, where more solar radiation makes the climate warmer and less prone to snowfall.

Nonetheless, other regions of the Southern Hemisphere, such as southern Australia and New Zealand, receive a reasonable quantity of snow. But Seager said that future games may be held in New Zealand, despite the country’s small size, isolation, and accessibility issues, and its lack of reliable snowfall for the games.

Land in the Northern Hemisphere is more plentiful than land in the Southern Hemisphere, which impacts regional and global climate patterns and may marginally favour snowfall in the North due to the North’s higher latitudes.


Since the big landmasses in the Northern Hemisphere tend to get quite cold in the winter, “Northern Hemisphere winters do tend to be cold and snowy,” Seager added. Seager mentioned that snow needs both cold air and moisture to form. “Except for Antarctica, the huge ocean areas in the Southern Hemisphere moderate winter temperatures.

Therefore, snow occurs in the Andes and the New Zealand Alps, both of which are located at high latitudes and receive ample moisture from the ocean.” Seager suggested that potential future hosts for the Winter Olympics include Chile and New Zealand.

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