The 1932 Summer Olympics (officially the Games of the X Olympiad and also known as Los Angeles 1932) were an international multi-sport event held from July 30 to August 14, 1932 in Los Angeles, California, United States. The Games were held during the worldwide Great Depression, with some nations not traveling to Los Angeles; 37 nations competed, compared to the 46 in the 1928 Games in Amsterdam,[a] and then-U.S. President Herbert Hoover did not attend the Games.[b] The organizing committee did not report the financial details of the Games, although contemporary newspapers claimed that the Games had made a profit of US$1,000,000.[b]
Host city selection
The selection of the host city for the 1932 Summer Olympics was made at the 23rd IOC Session in Rome, Italy, on 9 April 1923. Remarkably, the selection process consisted of a single bid, from Los Angeles, and as there were no bids from any other city, Los Angeles was selected by default to host the 1932 Games.
- An Olympic Village was built for the first time and became a model for future games, in Baldwin Hills, occupied by male athletes. Female athletes were housed at the Chapman Park Hotel on Wilshire Boulevard.
- The victory podium was used for the first time at the summer games (a podium was also used earlier in the year at the 1932 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid).[c]
- An Olympic mascot, Scottish Terrier Smoky, was featured for the first time in history.
- The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum was known in 1932 as Olympic Stadium.
- Tenth Street, a major thoroughfare in Los Angeles, was renamed Olympic Boulevard in honor of the Games of the Tenth Olympiad.
- Babe Didrikson won two gold medals in the javelin and the hurdles event. She also competed in a jump-off for a gold in the high jump. Her technique in the jump-off was ruled illegal, leaving Didrikson with second place.
- Paavo Nurmi was suspended from competition by the IAAF for alleged violation of amateur rules. Finns charged that the Swedish officials had used devious tricks in their campaign against Nurmi's amateur status, and ceased all athletic relations with Sweden. A year earlier, controversies on the track and in the press had led Finland to withdraw from the Finland-Sweden athletics international. After Nurmi's suspension, Finland did not agree to return to the event until 1939.
- In field hockey, only three nations took part. The host nation lost both matches, 1–24 to India and 2–9 to Japan, but still won a bronze medal.
- Poland's Stanisława Walasiewicz won the gold medal in the women's 100 m; she also won the silver medal in the event four years later. After her death in 1980, it was discovered that she was intersex and would have been ineligible to participate under modern rules.
- Eddie Tolan won both the 100 m and 200 m sprint events.
- Romeo Neri won three gold medals in gymnastics.
- Helene Madison won three gold medals in swimming, while the Japanese upset the men's events and took all but one title.
- Takeichi Nishi (Baron Nishi) was the gold medalist with his horse Uranus in the equestrian show jumping individual event. Nishi's gold medal is Japan's only gold medal in the equestrian event to this day. Nishi died in 1945 as an officer stationed in the defense of the island of Iwo Jima, and as such is an important character in Clint Eastwood's film, Letters from Iwo Jima.
- Kusuo Kitamura won the gold medal in the men's 1500 meter freestyle swimming race. He was and continues to be the youngest ever male swimmer to win a gold medal at the Olympic Games.
- Dunc Gray won Australia's first cycling gold medal; he set a world record of 1m 13s in the 1000 time trial. The Dunc Gray Velodrome, built for the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, was named after him.
- Due to an official's error, the 3,000 m steeplechase went for 3,460 m, or one extra lap.
- There was apparently no women's team gymnastics event like there was in the previous 1928 Olympics (which was the first Olympics where there was a women's gymnastics competition) and like there would be for every single Summer Olympic games onward. No mention was ever made of this, nor was a rationale ever given anywhere in the Official Olympic report (or elsewhere), although there were women gymnasts who traveled to Los Angeles and participated in exhibition events at these games. On the other hand, several women's events debuted at these games, among them 80 meters hurdles and javelin throw. Babe Didrikson won both events and also competed in the high jump where she was controversially denied gold, leaving her with silver. As women, unlike men, were only allowed to enter a maximum of three events, Didrikson could not compete in the discus throw, long jump, and relay where she would have likely medaled based on her prior results. Had the 200 meters and pentathlon been contested at these games (they debuted in 1964), Didrikson would have won them easily based on her performances prior to the Olympics.
117 events in 20 disciplines, comprising 14 sports, were part of the Olympic program in 1932. In one of two Equestrian jumping events (team competitions) no medals were awarded. The number of events in each discipline is noted in parentheses.
- Athletics (29)
- Boxing (8)
- Road (2)
- Track (4)
- Dressage (2)
- Eventing (2)
- Show jumping (2)
- Fencing (7)
- Gymnastics (11)
- Field hockey (1)
- Modern pentathlon (1)
- Rowing (7)
- Sailing (4)
- Shooting (2)
- Weightlifting (5)
- Freestyle (7)
- Greco-Roman (7)
The Art competitions at the 1932 Summer Olympics awarded medals for works inspired by sport-related themes in five categories: architecture, literature, music, painting, and sculpture.
Fifteen sports venues were used for the 1932 Summer Olympics. In order to control costs in the wake of the Great Depression, existing venues were used. They included two golf courses, two city parks, three public highways, and a city road. The Swimming Stadium was the only new venue constructed for these games. The Rose Bowl, constructed in 1921, was made into a temporary velodrome for track cycling events under the auspices of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI). The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, constructed in 1923, was used as the Olympic Stadium. The Olympic Auditorium was constructed in 1924 in preparation for Los Angeles being awarded the Games; it was modified to meet the specifications of the boxing, weightlifting, and wrestling federations. Long Beach Marine Stadium was created in 1925 when Alamitos Bay was dredged, then further dredged seven years later in time for the 1932 Games. Elysian Park, the oldest city park in Los Angeles, was founded in 1886, and has been part of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) training academy since 1925. The Riviera Country Club opened in 1926 as the Los Angeles Athletic Club Golf Course and was renamed Riviera by the time of the 1932 Games. The swimming stadium, constructed adjacent to the Coliseum in 1932, was intended to be a temporary structure. Riverside Drive, Los Angeles Avenue, Vineyard Avenue, and the Pacific Coast Highway were common driving routes in California at the time of the 1932 Games.
The Coliseum was the first home for the Dodgers Major League Baseball (MLB) team when it moved from Brooklyn, New York in the 1958 season. The following year, it hosted the MLB All-Star Game and the World Series. Once Dodger Stadium was completed in 1962, the Dodgers moved there where they have been since. The Los Angeles Rams National Football League (NFL) team used the Coliseum as its host stadium from 1946 to 1980 when it moved to Anaheim, located southeast of Los Angeles. It also hosted what became known as Super Bowl I in 1967. Even the American Football League's Chargers used the Coliseum as a venue in 1960 until their move to San Diego the following year. The Coliseum continues to host USC Trojans football games to this day, and also hosted UCLA Bruins football for a number of years. The Rams return to the Coliseum in 2016.
The track constructed in the Rose Bowl was given to the Tournament of Roses Association upon completion of the 1932 Games. The Bowl was expanded between 1932 and the 1984 Summer Olympics three times, increasing its capacity from 83,000 in 1931 to 104,594 in 1972. It hosted Super Bowl XI in 1977, where the Oakland Raiders defeated the Minnesota Vikings 32–14. It is the current home of UCLA Bruins football and the Rose Bowl Game, and was the home of the L.A. Galaxy soccer team for a number of years.
Elysian Park's shooting range was left intact for the LAPD to use. Sunset Fields Golf Club was renamed Brentwood Country Club in 1941 and is still in use as of 2010. All of the road courses were returned to public usage after the Olympics. The Olympic Auditorium continued to be of use for boxing and roller derby events until June 2005 when it was bought to be used as a megachurch. Los Angeles Harbor continues to be a major sea port in the Western United States, employing 919,000 people and generating US$39.1 billion in annual wages and tax revenues as of 2007. The Riveria Country Club continues to host golf events, hosting the 1948 U.S. Open and the PGA Championship in 1983 and 1995. The Swim Stadium was renovated in 2003 and continues to be in use as of 2010.
A total of 37 nations were represented at the 1932 Games. Colombia made its first appearance at the Olympic Games, and the Republic of China competed for the first time after its failed appearance at the 1924 Games.
|Participating National Olympic Committees|
Number of athletes by National Olympic Committees
|ROC||Republic of China||1|
These are the top ten nations that won medals at the 1932 Games.
|1||United States (host nation)||41||32||30||103|
- 1932 Winter Olympics
- Olympic Games celebrated in the United States
- 1904 Summer Olympics – St. Louis
- 1932 Summer Olympics – Los Angeles
- 1932 Winter Olympics – Lake Placid
- 1960 Winter Olympics – Squaw Valley
- 1980 Winter Olympics – Lake Placid
- 1984 Summer Olympics – Los Angeles
- 1996 Summer Olympics – Atlanta
- 2002 Winter Olympics – Salt Lake City
- 2028 Summer Olympics – Los Angeles
- Nations competing at the Amsterdam Olympics but not the 1932 Los Angeles Games were Bulgaria, Chile, Cuba, Egypt, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Panama, Rhodesia, Romania and Turkey.
- Hoover, who also skipped the 1932 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York, was the second U.S. president to miss a Games in the United States held during his term. The first was President Theodore Roosevelt, who decided not to attend the 1904 Summer Olympics, held in St. Louis, Missouri, because St. Louis mayor David R. Francis declined to let Roosevelt help officiate.
- In a letter dated May 1931, the IOC president, Count Henri de Baillet-Latour, advised the organizing committees of both Summer and Winter games that athletes should "stand on three pedestals, with the centre one higher than the two others." See Martin (2000) and Olympic.org article "1932: THE PODIUM MAKES ITS OLYMPIC DEBUT".
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