Host of the 1968 Winter Olympic Games, Grenoble, France, is situated at the foot of the alps and the junction of the Drac and Isère rivers. To find the origins of the name Grenoble, we have to cast our gaze back through history. Grenoble is derived from the name Gratianopolis, latin for City of Gratian.Continue reading “Grenoble”


Sapporo, Japan, hosted the 1972 Winter Olympic Games, the first winter games ever held in Asia. Many of us know the Sapporo brand of beer, which comes from the city of Sapporo, but how did the city get its name? Sapporo is in a Ishikari Plain, a wide flat plain in an otherwise mountainous region.Continue reading “Sapporo”


Innsbruck, Austria, host of the 1964 and 1976 Winter Olympic Games has a fairly straightforward name. You see, there’s a river, the river Inn, and there’s a bridge over the river. In Austria they speak German, and the German word for bridge is brücke, so, Innsbruck means, simply “Bridge over the Inn.” Innsbruck is atContinue reading “Innsbruck”

Lake Placid

Lake Placid, NY, hosted both the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics. It is not only the home of the Miracle on Ice but the only place in the USA to have hosted a Winter Olympics twice. Originally, the area where modern-day Lake Placid is located was called The Plains of Abraham, (not to be confusedContinue reading “Lake Placid”


In 1984 Sarajevo hosted the Winter Olympic Games. At the time Sarajevo was part of Yugoslavia, however, since the Bosnian War it has been part of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Sarajevo has been inhabited since the Neolithic era, (9500 – 4500 BC), but the city of Sarajevo was founded by the Ottomans in 1461, (the exactContinue reading “Sarajevo”


Host of the 1988 Winter Olympic Games, Calgary, Alberta, was founded by the North West Mounted Police as Fort Brisebois to control American whiskey traders operating in the area. In 1876 Colonel James Macleod changed the name to Fort Calgary, after the town of Calgary, in the Island of Mull, in Scotland, and in 1894Continue reading “Calgary”


Continuing on the theme of host cities of the Winter Olympic Games, today we are featuring Albertville, France. Albertville was created in either 1836, (according to Wikipedia), or 1835, (according to Placenames Of The World), when the neighbouring villages of L’Hôpital and Conflans were combined by Charles Albert of Savoy, who, it appears, named theContinue reading “Albertville”


Host of the 1994 Winter Olympic Games, Lillehammer, Norway, has a much easier name to track down than Nagano, Japan. According to Wikipedia Lillehammer was named after the old Hamar farm that was already there when the town was established on January 1, 1838. There was a slight problem, though, there was another town calledContinue reading “Lillehammer”


Host of the 1998 Winter Olympics, Nagano, Japan has a name that’s tough to track down. According to both Placenames Of The World and namelab it is derived from the Japanese words naga meaning “long” and no meaning “field.” I haven’t been to Nagano, but a quick Google Image Search reveals that the city itselfContinue reading “Nagano”

Salt Lake City

Continuing continuing on with the names of winter olympic cities today we’re featuring Salt Lake City, Utah. There are no surprises here. Salt Lake City was originally called “Great Salt Lake City” after Great Salt Lake the nearby salty lake. Over time the name was shortened to Salt Lake City, and that’s what we haveContinue reading “Salt Lake City”