Just 16 nations participated in the first Winter Olympics in Chamonix in 1924, and all but the U.S. and Canada were European. To this day, nations from Northern and Western Europe consistently bring home the most medals.
The only two nations from North America to win Olympic medals are the U.S. and Canada, with the U.S. being second only to Norway in the total number of medals ever won in the Winter Olympics. Mexico has sent athletes to a number of Winter Olympic Games, but has never won a medal.
Following World War II, Japan and Germany were both banned from the 1948 Winter Olympics for their role in the war. Japan was the only Asian nation to earn any medals until the early 1990s.