Winter Olympics: Germany, Unconventional Countries and More

(Last Updated On: December 10, 2018)

Editor’s Note: This post is brought to you by the Sporcle Olympics’ curator nscox. 

Hello Olympic fans! And Sporcle fans! Week 1 is officially in the books. And what a week it was. Triumphs, tragedies and, of course, figure skating judging controversies.

This week in the official Sporcle Olympics blog (insert musical fanfare) we’re going to take a look at two things:

Germany: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Guess Both East and West

map East West GermanyUp first is an issue that always comes up in quizzes that deal with countries at the Olympics. Someone always points out that Germany and West Germany are essentially the same entity. Or that “Germany” should be acceptable for both East and West.

In short: The issue is that East Germany, West Germany, the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia no longer exist. They either merged (Germany) or broke up. And many Sporcle users forget this when they play quizzes and think that Germany should work for the Germanies, Russia should work for the Soviet Union, etc., etc. Others suggest a merging of the totals.

There are all sorts of political arguments that figure into the debate, but to me the clincher is this: The IOC considers them separate and so should Sporcle. They all have different National Olympic Committees than their present day counterparts and don’t forget that three of them were made up of several nations. Besides, all five countries are pretty well known, so it’s not unreasonable to expect Sporcle users to know of them. There should be a note in quizzes which states that these nations are included, but I believe they should be separate.

There is also another Germany adding to the fun – the Unified Team of Germany, which was a combined East/West team that was around in the 50s and 60s. And the 1992 Summer and Winter Games saw the participation of the “Unified Team”. This was basically the Soviet Union, but since the USSR had broken up, a bunch of former Soviet countries participated together under this name. It is unrealistic to expect Sporcle users to know either of these facts, so I always accept Germany for the former and Soviet Union for the latter.

The Have-Nots

OLY M 2-Man Bobsleigh XLast time I touched briefly on the Olympic Non-Powerhouse that is Kyrgyzstan (who has still yet to compete). This time, lets take a look at a few other less-conventional Winter Olympics countries.

Jamaica – In a stunning development, the Jamaican two-man bobsled team finished in the Top 30! Of course, there are only 30 teams. The duo finished 29th.

Chile – Chile has a larger team than you would think – six athletes. And one of them, Dominique Ohaco, came within one point of qualifying for the final in women’s slopestyle freestyle skiing. She finished 13th out of 22.

Morocco – This is a Moroccan team and they aren’t bobsledders! There are two alpine skiers, neither of whom has competed yet. Alpine and cross country skiing tend to be the most popular sports for unconventional countries. Other countries with athletes in alpine include Brazil, Cayman Islands, India, Iran, Israel, Lebanon, Pakistan, Peru, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Togo, the Virgin Islands and Zimbabwe.

Philippines – I know it seems like I am making fun of these individuals, but just the fact that people from countries with no snow and limited winter sports funding can make it to the Games is impressive. This might be the best story: Michael Christian Martinez of the Philippines finished 19th (out of 30) in the highly competitive men’s figure skating event. Two spots back was Alexei Bychenko of Israel.

Nepal – Considering their location, one would expect the Nepalese to be powerhouses in alpine skiing. Not so. There was a competitor in the men’s 15 km cross country skiing and he finished second. The bottom 9 was an all-star team of unusual nations: Iran (79th), Mongolia, Macedonia, Ireland, Argentina, Bermuda, India, Nepal, and in the last position: Peru. There was also a skier from Dominica who did not finish.

Tonga – The gold medalist for “Most Unusual Nation at the Winter Olympics”, a Tongan participated in the men’s luge. And he didn’t do as bad as one might think, finishing 32nd out of 39. He even managed to beat a luger from Norway!

Want to know more about unconventional Winter Olympics countries? Try out the Tropical Nations at the Winter Olympics quiz!

And finally, the Games

Yes, this blog is about quizzes, so lets get this done. Here are the publishes and picks since the last blog. As always, you can send suggestions for curator picks to

Published Quizzes

2014 NHL Olympians by Team

Successful Olympic Hosts

Gimme 5: Winter Olympics Events

Editor Picks

Gold, Silver & Bronze

Winter Olympic Top 10 Blitz

Famous Winter Olympic Medalists II: Internat’l (slides)

Curator Picks

2010 Olympic Team Russia Ice Hockey Roster

Slovenia Sochi Typing

Women’s Olympic Figure Skating Medalists

I won an Olympic Gold medal in hockey

Olympic Games: North and South

I’ll be back later this week with another blog and more quizzes. Until then, enjoy the Games (in both senses of the word)!