In year 1897 the first orienteering competition was held in Norway.
The sport of orienteering, burn as a military sport, developed in that little edge of the Europe: the Scandinavia. In the middle of the last century the orienteering activity in these countries had already a lot of athletes.
After many years (1961) the IOF (international Orienteering Federation) was born. Initially 10 countries join it. In 1966 the World Orienteering Championships of Elite classes took place for the first time, mean while this sport spread over the most part of Europe. Nowadays 67 countries are IOF's members.
The JWOC (Junior World Orienteering Championships) started in 1990 in Sweden, orienteers' elected land, in Älvsbyn. This JWOC edition had mainly north European countries, where orienteering was already establish as one of the main sport, but also countries as DDR, Poland, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, Hungary, Russia, etc.
First edition competition (as well as next editions ones) were dominated from Scandinavian runners. The races held in that first edition were classic distance and relay.
The following year JWOC have been held in Germany and the short distance made its first appearance. In 1993 Italy got the honour to host junior world orienteering championships in Castelrotto. FISO (Italian Orienteering Federation) was born only in 1988 and it had already 4329 subscribers.
Till 2004 JWOC have been run with those three different races: short distance, classic distance and at last relay. Since JWOC in Poland (2004) a new naming has been introduced: middle distance for the old short distance and long distance in place of the old classic distance.
At JWOC 2005 in Switzerland the sprint distance has been tested for the first time; however already next year the fourth race was officially introduced in Lithuania. This is the JWOC's evolution until today.
This year's JWOC will be host in Australia, next year's one will be in Sweden and finally in 2009 Italy and Primiero Valley will have the honour to held JWOC for the second time, 16 years after the first Italian edition in 1993 of junior world orienteering championships.