Schneemann was the first official mascot of the Winter Olympic Games

The first official mascot of the Winter Olympic Games was at Innsbruck in 1976 and was called Schneemann, a snowman in a traditional red Tyrolean hat. Designed by Walter Pötsch, Schneemann 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. The public's opinion of Schneemann was divided, but its financial success was indisputable. In addition to the tee-shirts, soft toys and the other items Schneemann inspired, individuals in large costume versions became "living mascots" at promotional events. There were objects with Schneemann holding a hockey stick or wearing skis and boots. This practice of representing the mascot in various poses and practicing multiple sports has become customary.

Denver become only city in Olympic history to withdraw as hosts

Denver were awarded the 1976 Winter Olympic Games ahead of Sion in Switzerland, Tempere in Finland and Vancouver in Canada at the International Olympic Committee Session in 1970. But in a Colorado referendum in November 1972, voters rejected funding for the event. It is the only time a city has been awarded the Olympics but pulled out. The IOC then offered the Games to Whistler in 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, the 1964 host city, as a replacement.

Same flag, different countries...

When Liechtenstein made its Olympic debut at Berlin in 1936 they discovered that the country's flag of two equal horizontal bands of blue on the top and red was identical to that of Haiti. It led to a crown being added to the top left hand corner of Liechtenstein's flag the following year to differentiate it. But it was not until 1976 that it got hoisted at an Olympic medal ceremony when Hanni Wenzel won a bronze in the giant slalom at the Winter Games in Innsbruck.