Olympic Savoie, tracks to the future

From 8 February 2012 to 31 October 2013






1992 : the world changed, and so did the Olympic Games !

On the 20th anniversary of the Albertville and Savoie Olympic Games (1992-2012), the House of the Winter Olympic Games (Albertville) presents an exhibition on winter sports and technical advances, titled “Olympic Savoie, tracks to the future”.


Albertville 1992 was the Olympic event that demonstrated a new world order, marked by the end of the cold war : Croatia and Slovenia participated for the first time as independent nations, the Baltic nations such as Lithuania returned (for the first time since 1928), Estonia and Latvia (for the first time since 1936). The German team was reunited for the first time since 1936. Several countries that had been part of the Soviet Union (Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan) competed together in the Unified Team (EUN).


But in 1992, we must remember that we did not have the Internet, skis were not parabolic, snowboarding was the reserve of a few aficionados, cameras had film inside them, yet … some strong early indicators marked the Savoyard event as one that foretold the future. How ? Through several innovations that would mark the story of the Olympic Games and leave their own “tracks” :

- on a sporting level with the introduction of mogul skiing which was unique among the Alpine disciplines, together with short track speed skating and female biathlon,

- on a human level with the inclusion of the Paralympic Games in the host city for the first time,

- on a cultural level, the traditions, customs and habits of the alpine inhabitants were displayed with artistic creativity in the opening ceremony.


At Albertville, the future arrived in 1992 to open a new direction for sport, for athlete and technical advancement of winter sports ; and with the spectacle of a Winter Games with the “force of youth” which was actively sought by the talented organisers Michel Barnier and Jean-Claude Killy, without forgetting the choreographer Philippe Decouflé !


Since winter and mountain sports have been practiced, techniques have constantly evolved and bring useful and important improvements such as nylon climbing ropes, which rapidly replaced the older hemp ropes.

But in 1992, there was a major leap forward ! From the Albertville Olympic Winter Games, winter sports experienced multiple innovations, both in the sports themselves and in the field of environmental technology.


2012 : science and technology, a new field of play !

Technological advances in the past 20 years have completely changed the face of sport, from the sports themselves, to accident prevention ; and these developments concern not only the high level sportsman but also a much wider public. Tools aid the body and enhance options at any age. Athletes know their bodies and their limits better thanks to new techniques, while saving them from becoming bionic sporting machines ! Video and computer techniques help in training, judging and improve the experience for spectators. All over the world, the capture of movement by computer sensors allows players to play virtually in front of a screen, whether it is tennis, or a fast slalom, from the comfort of the living room !

An interactive relationship develops between the person and the technological tool, which offers opportunities for innovation. Social networking tools cross all frontiers and encourage interaction around the world for any connected sportsman. These developments also require regulations in the area of games and betting to preserve sport ethics.


Today, 20 years later, we find ourselves in a new transitional period for the future. Since 1992 and beyond 2012, the Olympic legacy of the Savoie has been to make tracks towards the future… and they will surely lead to new surprises at the next Olympic Winter Games !






The exhibition consists of panels, presenting collections of photographs, videos and slides that show, in an interactive manner, the importance of technical development, and an original approach. 

For contrast and reference there is an exhibit of work by photographers who worked at the Olympic Games of 1992 titled Regards 1992.

Throughout the exhibition there are images by Pascal Lemaître, Liberto Macarro, Jean-Pierre Mirabel, Jean-Luc Traini, and the Zone 5 collective, which allow us to relive some “behind the scenes” moments of the Olympic Games. A young female photographer, Julia de Cooker brings a contemporary look, in 2012, of the Olympic sites.

Passing through the exhibition the visitor alternates between media displays and technical exhibits, and between 1992 and 2012.


Four major themes are developed :

*The body in movement.

Illustrated with historic images from the beginnings of sport, when the body was viewed aesthetically by Philippe Guillotel, and Philippe Decouflé where the dancer becomes the athlete shown by participants in the Olympic Games ; and where the body is transformed into an athlete with the goal of winning. The analysis of the athlete inspired Alain Bar for his engravings on copper.

* Environmental technology

We would like to develop contact with manufacturers in order to present their research into the design of skis and snowboards (by computer), equipment for handicapped athletes, systems for research of avalanche victims, altitude training, computer notation systems for ice skating, the manufacture of technical clothing, movement capture technology, timing, climbing equipment, medical research into the pathologies associated with high altitude and cold temperatures… Environmental developments, the role that the search for sustainable development plays in the new technologies and research ; and what this brings to the debate on artificial snowmaking, the management of water resources, and global warming. 

*The athlete

Between sport and sciences, where does the athlete fit in ? Comparison of interviews and profiles of athletes in 1992 and today. The vital role of character : The International Olympic Committee (IOC) uses the term “athlete role model” to emphasise the responsibility of athlete behaviour. Changes in the way that athletes are treated by the media. The development of sports photography and filming. A film produced by the Olympic Museum for the exhibition “Athletes and science” will be shown. With the debate of transmission of knowledge to future generations the one hundredth anniversary of the birth of Émile Allais becomes fully relevant.

* Social practices

The new disciplines introduced at the Games bring urban trends to mountain sites, even though they are practised in specially developed areas. The notion of instant gratification, and the loss of mountain culture have introduced a change in client behaviour, which must also be considered. But the Youth Olympic Games, with the first edition being held at Innsbruck in 2012, demonstrate the desire by the IOC to transmit values and maintain an ethic that is human, educational and cultural.



Organisation and partners



Planned dates : From 8 February 2012 to 31 October 2013


Scientific committee :

Alain Arvin-Bérod, philosopher and historian of sport and the Olympic movement, Scientific advisor to the House of the Olympic Games and to the first European Think Tank dedicated to sport “Sport and citizenship”, expert at the Institute of sport and management (Grenoble School of Management), member of the French national Olympic academy.


Claire Grangé, historian, member of the Organising Committee at the Winter Olympics of 1992, Head of displays and director of the House of the Olympic Games since 1993, curator of the exhibition “Olympic Savoie, tracks to the future”.


Edgar Grospiron, first Olympic moguls champion (J.O. 1992, Albertville), Olympic bronze medal moguls (J.O. 1994, Lillehammer), three times World Champion (1990, 1991, 1995), international consultant, head of the French delegation at the first Youth Winter Olympics (Innsbruck, 2012). 


Mountain and winter sports technical advisers : Cyrille Livet and Matthieu Marin-Cudraz, for the equipment ; Éric Charamel, mountain guide.


Display : The exhibition covers 230m2 and 115ml with display cases or plinths for the presentation of objects, as well as tactile and interactive displays for the public.


Scientific and technical partners (under development) : INSEP, Lausanne Olympic Museum, Turin National museum of the mountain, Le Vieux Campeur, Lausanne art school, ENSA, IFFREMONT… 

Institutional partners (under development) : General Council of the Savoie, French Olympic committee, Rhône-Alpes regional government…