1960 Winter Olympics
The emblem represents a star or snowflake, and the Olympic rings.
|Host city||Squaw Valley, California, United States|
(521 men, 144 women)
|Events||27 in 4 sports|
|Opening ceremony||February 18|
|Closing ceremony||February 28|
|Officially opened by||Vice President Richard Nixon|
|Athlete's Oath||Carol Heiss|
|Olympic Torch||Ken Henry|
The 1960 Winter Olympics was a winter multi-sport event held between 18 and 28 February 1960 in Squaw Valley, California, United States. In 1955 at the IOC meeting, the organizing committee made the choice to award Squaw Valley the as host of the Winter Games. Squaw Valley was undeveloped, so from 1956 to 1960 all of the venues and infrastructure had to be built at a cost of $80,000,000. The Games featured the athlete's village and was designed to be intimate, allowing spectators and athletes to wander to nearly all the venues. Thirty nations competed in four sports and 27 events. Women's speed skating and biathlon made their Olympic debuts. The organizers decided the bobsled events did not warrant the cost to build a venue, so for the first and only time bobsled was not on the Winter Olympic program. The Soviet Union dominated the medal count winning 21 medals, 7 of which were gold. Soviet speed skaters Yevgeny Romanovich Grishin, Swedish lumberjack Sixten Jernberg added a gold and silver to the 4 medals he won at the 1956 Winter Games. He would win three more in 1964 to finish his Olympic career with 9 medals.
World politics affected the lead-up to the Games, with tension between the United States and Soviet Union intensifying, and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) was forced to debate the participation of China, Taiwan, North Korea and East Germany because of the Cold War. In 1957 the United States government threatened to deny visas to athlete from Communist countries, causing the IOC to threaten to revoke Squaw Valley's right to host the 1960 Games. Bowing to international pressure, the United States allowed athletes from Communist countries entry for the Games.
Host city selection 
Squaw Valley was a struggling ski resort with minimal facilities, which made its selection to host the 1960 Winter Olympics a surprise. The only inhabitant and homeowner in the area was Alexander Cushing, who was inspired to an Olympic bid by a newspaper article mentioning that Reno, Nevada and Anchorage, Alaska had expressed interest in the Games. Cushing, president of the Squaw Valley Development Company, petitioned California Governor Goodwin Knight to support a bid to host the Olympic Games. Knight's administration agreed and recommended that the California Legislature appropriate US$1,000,000 to the effort. Based on the financial support received from the State of California, the United State Olympic Committee (USOC) approved the bid on 7 January 1955. Cushing and the USOC received a resolution passed by the United State Congress and signed by President Dwight Eisenhower, calling on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to consider Squaw Valley's bid for the 1960 Games. Preliminary reports were drafted and submitted to the IOC who was considering bids from Innsbruck, Austria, St. Moritz, Switzerland and Chamonix, France. Squaw Valley's bid was accepted but IOC president Avery Brundage warned the Organizing Committee that unless more funds were secured by April 1956, the bid would be awarded to Innsbruck. Another $4,000,000 was committed by the State Legislature, which met Brundage's requirements. On 4 April 1956 the right to host the 1960 Winter Olympics was officially awarded to Squaw Valley. Competitors and officials from European nations were incensed with the selection, they felt that the alpine ski courses were not up to specifications and that the altitude would prove too stressful on the athletes.
|1960 Winter Olympics bidding results|
|City/Site||Country||Round 1||Round 2|
|Squaw Valley||United States||30||32|
The Squaw Valley resort in 1956 consisted of one chair lift, two rope tows, and a fifty-room lodge. Cushing presented the site as a blank canvas of unspoiled environment, where a world-class ski resort could be constructed. The obscurity of the location was underscored at the closing ceremonies of the 1956 Winter Olympics. Traditionally the mayor of the current host city passes a flag to the mayor of the next host city signalling the transfer of the Games. Since Squaw Valley was an unincorporated village it had no city government. John Garland, an IOC member from California, was asked to stand in and received the flag from the mayor of Cortina d'Ampezzo.
After the Games were awarded to Squaw Valley the California Olympic Commission was formed to take the lead in organizing the Games. Venues, an Olympic Village, and infrastructure had to be constructed and expanded in a four-year time frame. With the expansion of roads, bridges, water and electrical capacity the resort of Squaw Valley became the city of Squaw Valley. Hotels, restaurants, administration buildings, a Sheriff's office and a sewage pumping and treatment plant were all constructed to support the influx of visitors for the Games. Organizers wanted the Olympics to be intimate with nearly all of the venues close to one another. The Blyth Memorial Ice Arena, three outside skating rinks, a 400 meter speed skating oval, and four dormitories to house athletes had to be constructed. One venue deemed impractical to build was the bobsled run. Organizers felt the lack of possible entrants and the high cost of building the run were sufficient deterrents to leave the bobsled events off the 1960 Olympic program.
Several design innovations and new technologies were used for the 1960 Games. The speed skating, figure skating and ice hockey events were held on artificial ice for the first time in Olympic history. A refrigeration plant capable of heating 4,800 homes had to be built to generate and maintain the ice. The heat generated from the refrigeration plant was used to warm spectators, provide hot water, and melt the snow off of roofs. New timing equipment provided by Longines was installed that used a quartz clock to measure to the hundredths of a second. IBM provided a computer that was capable of tabulating results and printing them in English and French. Blyth arena, site of the opening and closing ceremonies as well as the figure skating and ice hockey competitions, was built with a 22 in (56 cm) gap in the roof, which would slide closed as the cables supporting the roof contracted during cold weather.
Funding for Cushings initial bid to the IOC came from the California Legislature and investors in the "Squaw Valley Development Company" – owners of the existing resort. To fund the construction the organizers turned to the federal government for assistance. The United States government provided about a quarter of the $80 million trequired to host the Games, thereby making Squaw Valley the first Olympics in the United States to receive federal funding. The monies were used to build the sports arena and provide military support during the Games. Further funding was secured from private sponsorships and from the State of California. Governor Knight and his successor Edmund "Pat" Brown remained behind the project, seeing it as a means to showcase the state of California to the world.
Television was not new to the Olympic Games, broadcasts of events to international audiences had begun at the 1956 Games. What was unprecedented was the sale of exclusive rights to broadcast the Games. The Organizing Committee decided to sell the television broadcast rights to CBS for $50,000. Unknown at the time was how lucrative the sale of broadcast rights would become. For example, CBS purchased the rights to broadcast the 1960 Summer Olympics for $550,000. During the Games CBS broadcast 31 hours of television focusing on ice hockey, speed skating, figure skating, alpine skiing and ski jumping. The impact of television was felt during the Games; in the men's slalom event, officials who were unsure if a skier had missed a gate asked CBS if they could review tape of the event. This request gave CBS the idea for what is now known as instant replay.
Athletic competition between the Soviet Union and United States had grown intense during the 1950s. Politically their opposing ideologies and interests in nations such as Germany, China and Korea created a delicate situation as the 1960 Winter Games approached. Of particular interest was the question of whether China would be allowed to participate. China last participated at the 1952 Summer Games but had since withdrawn from the IOC due to a dispute over Taiwan's participation as a separate country. The United States supported Taiwan while the Soviet Union stood behind China. Given the fact that the 1960 Games were to be held in America, there was concern among IOC members that the United States would not allow China, or any other Communist country to participate. In 1957 IOC president Avery Brundage announced that if the United States refused entry to any country recognized by the IOC, then they would revoke Squaw Valley's invitation to host the Games. Bowing to international pressure, the United States allowed athletes from Communist countries to participate. China continued to demand that Taiwan be expelled from the IOC, demands that were refused until China broke off relations ending any hope that they would participate in 1960.
Problems similar to the issue with China broke out over North Korea and East Germany. Prior to the Korean War the IOC had recognized the Olympic committee of Korea, which was headquartered in Seoul. North Korea was not recognized as a separate country by the IOC who maintained the existence of one Olympic committee. A unified team compromise was proposed but rejected, which meant only athletes from South Korea participated due to their prior recognition. Pressure for full recognition of East Germany continued despite the fact that both East and West Germany had participated as a unified team in 1956. One of the conditions for a unified German team was that the athletes be represented by a neutral flag. Initially West German officials refused to agree to this stipulation citing the fact that the West German flag had been used at both the 1956 Winter and Summer Games. Eventually the neutral flag was adopted and a unified German team participated.
The Games were held from 18 to 28 February. There were 27 events in eight sports contested. The sport of biathlon was added to the program as was speed skating events for women. After a poll was taken indicating that only nine countries would send a bobsled team, the organizers determined that bobsled would be removed from the Olympic program. Despite petitions from the International Bobsleigh and Tobogganing Federation to reconsider, the organizers felt they could not justify the costs of constructing a bobsled run for nine competing nations. It would be the only time in Winter Olympic history that the bobsled events were not held.
Opening ceremonies 
The chairman of the "Pageantry Committee" was Walt Disney, who was responsible for producing both the opening and closing ceremonies. He planned on an opening that would include 5,000 entertainers, the release of 2,000 pigeons, and a military gun salute of eight shots, one for each of the previous Winter Olympic Games. The opening ceremonies were held on 18 February 1960 at Blyth Arena in the midst of a blizzard. Heavy snow fell the morning of the 18th and caused traffic problems that delayed the ceremony by an hour. The festivities began with a sustained drum roll as the flags of each participating nation were raised on specially designed flag poles. As the Greek standard bearer led the 30 participating countries in the traditional Parade of Nations the weather broke and the rest of the two-hour ceremony proceeded in sunshine. Vice President Richard Nixon represented the United States government and declared the Games open. The Olympic flame was lit by Kenneth Henry, Olympic champion of the 500 meter speed skating race at the 1952 Winter Olympics in Oslo. The Olympic oath was taken by Carol Heiss on behalf of all the athletes. As the national delegations left the stadium fireworks concluded the ceremonies.
Ice hockey 
The ice hockey tournament took place at Blyth Arena and the Squaw Valley Olympic Skating Rink. Controversy over the amateur status of some of the players overshadowed the event. Canadian Olympic officials began to protest the use of "professional amateurs" by Eastern Bloc countries, and especially the Soviet Union. They alleged that the Soviets were giving their elite hockey players phantom jobs in the military that allowed them to play hockey full-time, which gave Soviet teams an advantage that they used to dominate Olympic hockey tournaments for nearly 30 years. This issue started coming to light during the 1960 Games and would culminate in a Canadian boycott of Olympic hockey tournament at the 1972 Winter Olympics. The team from the United States won an improbable gold medal, defeating the favored Canadian and Soviet teams, who took silver and bronze respectively. This was the first Olympic gold medal in ice hockey for the United States and it would mark the last time a Soviet team would not win the Olympic tournament until the United States victory at the 1980 Winter Olympics.
Cross-country skiing 
There were 6 cross-country skiing races at the 1960 Olympics, 4 for men and 2 for women, all held at the McKinney Creek cross-country complex. Soviet athletes swept the 10 kilometer race, which was the first medal sweep for the Soviets at the Winter Olympics. They were however upset by Sweden in the 3×5 kilometer relay. The Nordic countries dominated the men's competition. Swedish Lumberjack Sixten Jernberg added a gold and silver to the 4 medals he won in 1956. He would add 2 golds and a bronze in 1964 to finish his Olympic career with 9 medals and the most decorated Winter Olympian to date. Finnish skier Veikko Hakulinen added a gold, silver and bronze to the 2 golds and 2 silvers he had won in 1952 and 1956; while he competed in 1964, he would not earn another medal.
Biathlon made its Olympic debut in 1960. The precursor to biathlon, military patrol, was on the Olympic program for the first Olympic Games in 1924. Subsequently it was a demonstration sport at the 1928, 1936, and 1948 Winter Olympics, though the competition was only open to members of the military. Military patrol fell out of favor in 1948 due to antimilitary sentiments in the post World War II era. Biathlon took its place and was instated as a full Olympic sport in 1960. It encompassed a 20 kilometer cross-country race with four shooting stations at ranges from 100 m (330 ft) to 250 m (820 ft). Klas Lestander from Sweden became the first Olympic champion, Antti Tyrväinen from Finland and Soviet Aleksandr Privalov placed second and third respectively.
Nordic combined 
The Nordic combined competition was held on 21 February at the Squaw Valley normal hill and the McKinney Creek cross-country complex. The athletes had three jumps on 21 February followed by a 15 kilometer cross-country race. German skier Georg Thoma became the first athlete not from a Nordic country to win the event. He would win bronze medal in the Nordic combined in 1964. Tormod Knutsen of Norway and Nikolay Gusakov of the Soviet Union placed second and third, respectively. Gusakov's wife, Maria, competed in the cross-country events, winning a gold and silver.
Ski jumping 
There was one ski jumping event at the 1960 Games, the men's normal hill, which was held on 28 February. In 1964 the competition would be expanded to include a men's large hill event. Helmut Recknagel became the first German to win the event. In 1994 he would be joined by Jens Weißflog as the only German ski jumping Olympic champions. Niilo Halonen from Finland and Austrian Otto Leodolter earned the silver and bronze medals.
Figure skating 
Held at Blyth Memorial arena, the figure skating competition took place between 19 and 26 February. Though this wasn't the first time figure skating had been held indoors, it would never be contested outdoors again. There were three events: men's and women's singles and the pairs competition. In the men's event, David Jenkins, brother of 1956 Winter Olympic figure skating champion Hayes Jenkins, won the gold medal. It was his second Olympic medal, having won the bronze at the 1956 Games. Czechoslovakian Karol Divín took the silver medal (it would be the only medal for Czechoslovakia at the Games), and Canadian Donald Jackson won the bronze. Carol Heiss, winner of the silver medal in 1956, became the Olympic champion in 1960. A year later she married Hayes Jenkins and starred in Snow White and the Three Stooges. Dutch skater Sjoukje Dijkstra took the silver medal; she would finish her amateur career with an Olympic gold medal in 1964. Barbara Ann Roles gave the United States its third figure skating medal of the competition when she took the bronze. The Soviet Union made its Olympic figure skating debut by sending two couples to compete in the pairs competition; the result belied the fact that Soviet skaters would soon come to dominate this event. The competition was won by the Canadian pair of Barbara Wagner and Bob Paul who had won the last three world championships. The German pair Marika Kilius and Hans-Jürgen Bäumler followed their recent European championship victory with the Olympic silver medal, and the American husband-and-wife team of Ron and Nancy Ludington took the bronze.
Speed skating 
Women were allowed to compete in the Olympic speed skating competition for the first time in 1960. The Soviet Union had requested the inclusion of women's speed skating events in the program for the 1956 Games, but the request was rejected by the IOC. The issue was revisited for the 1960 Games, and since women had been competing internationally since 1936 and there was a World Championship for women's speed skating, the IOC agreed to four events; 500, 1,000, 1,500, and 3,000 meters. The events were held on the Squaw Valley Olympic Skating Rink, which was an outdoor skating oval, and featured artificial ice, a first for the Olympic speed skating competition. Given the altitude and the artificial ice, the rink was the fastest in the world, as evidenced by Norwegian Knut Johannesen’s world record in the 10,000 meter event. At 15:46.6 he was the first skater ever to break the 16-minute barrier, and eclipsed the previous world record by 46 seconds. Despite Johannesen's victory, the Soviets dominated the speed skating events, winning all but two of the races. Yevgeny Grishin won both the 500 and 1,500 meter races, though he shared the 1,500 meter gold medal with Norwegian Roald Aas. Lidiya Skoblikova from the Soviet Union was the other double gold medalist, when she won the 1,500 and 3,000 meter events. Polish skaters Helena Pilejczyk and Elwira Seroczyńska placed second and third in the 1,500 meter event, earning Poland's only medals of the Games and becoming just the second and third Poles ever to win Winter Olympic medals.
Alpine skiing 
Despite the lack of facilities at Squaw Valley, the resort did have steep mountain slopes in close proximity, resulting in some of the most difficult alpine skiing courses in Olympic history. Both men and women competed in the downhill, giant slalom and slalom with all 6 events held between 20 and 26 February. The men's downhill was won by Frenchman Jean Vuarnet who changed the sport by becoming the first Olympic champion to use metal skis. Swiss skier Roger Staub won the giant slalom and Ernst Hinterseer from Austria was the slalom champion. German Heidi Biebl won the women's downhill, Yvonne Rüegg of Switzerland won the giant slalom and Anne Heggtveit from Canada won the slalom. Skiers from 6 different nations won medals and Penny Pitou of the United States was the only multiple medal winner when she earned two silvers in the downhill and giant slalom.
Closing ceremonies 
The Games were brought to a close on 28 February in Blyth Memorial arena in front of 20,000 people. Flags of the participating nations were followed by the athletes marching as a group with no national distinctions. The flag bearers made a semi-circle around the rostrum and the national anthems of Greece, United States, and Austria were played as their respective flags were raised. IOC president Avery Brundage declared the Games closed at which point the Olympic flame was extinguished. The Games concluded with the release of several thousand balloons.
The opening ceremony was held on 18 February, along with the first games of the hockey tournament. From 19 to 28 February, the day of the closing ceremony, at least one event final was held each day.
|OC||Opening ceremony||●||Event competitions||1||Event finals†||CC||Closing ceremony|
|Total event finals||2||3||3||3||4||2||2||4||2||2||27|
† The numeral indicates the number of event finals for each sport held that day.
The lack of facilities prior to the Olympics gave organizers freedom to tailor the layout of the venues to fit the needs of the athletes. Their vision was for an intimate Games in which athletes and spectators could walk between venues. This was accomplished with the exception of the cross-country events, which were held at McKinney Creek, a 12 mi (19 km) drive from Squaw Valley. In prior Winter Olympics the athletes were housed in hotels and billeted with local families. Since no such facilities existed in Squaw Valley, the organizers decided to build the first Olympic Village at the Winter Games. Competitors slept in one of four dormitories and ate together in a dining room. The complex was located centrally, with access to all the sporting facilities.
The peaks surrounding Squaw Valley were used for the alpine skiing events. The ladies' downhill and men's slalom and giant slalom were on KT-22 mountain, while the ladies' slalom and giant slalom were contested on Little Papoose Peak. Squaw Peak was the site of the men's downhill competition. Prior to the Games, concerns persisted that the courses would not meet international standards. To address these concerns, a test event was held in 1959 and the attending delegates from the International Ski Federation (FIS) left assured that the events would comply with FIS rules and specifications. Bleachers were constructed for officials, coaches and spectators, along with broadcast booths for radio and television. Papoose Peak Jumps was located on Little Papoose Peak directly opposite Blyth Memorial Arena. Designed by Heini Klopfer, the hill was innovative in that it had 40, 60, and 80 meter jumps. Tall trees on both sides protected athletes from the wind, and it was situated so that the sun would be at the jumper's back during the competition.
McKinney Creek Stadium was built to host all of the cross-country races, which included the biathlon and a portion of the Nordic combined competition. It consisted of a timing building, two Quonset huts for competitors and course workers, a scoreboard, and bleachers to accommodate 1,200 people. Shooting ranges were interspersed throughout the biathlon cross-country course, and were supervised by non-commissioned officers of the United States military.
Blyth Memorial Arena was the centerpiece of the Games. It hosted the opening and closing ceremonies, the figure skating competition, several speed skating events, as well as most of the games in the hockey tournament. All three of the sports were held indoors on artificial ice for the first time in Olympic history. At full capacity, the arena accommodated 11,000 people, 8,500 of whom were seated. One end of the stadium could be opened and closed, depending on the event. During the ceremonies it was open to allow for the entrance of the athletes; during the competitions it was closed to accommodate more spectators. A special machine was created to resurface the ice for all three competitions. It could lay a new ice surface on the 400-meter speed skating track in 45 minutes. In addition to resurfacing the ice, the machine created the snow dividers that delineated the racing lanes. The roof was designed on a suspension principle, using cables rather than vertical supports; this removed any visual impediments for the audience, but it weakened the strength of the roof. Given the amount of annual snowfall, this was a concern, but designers planned on using heat generated by the refrigeration plant to melt the snow. There were flaws in the design and miscalculations in the load the roof could bear, and during a particularly heavy snowfall in 1983, a portion of the roof collapsed and the building was subsequently demolished.
Participating nations 
A total of 30 nations sent athletes to Squaw Valley. South Africa competed at the Winter Games for the first time. (It was also its last for many years, as Apartheid policies prevented further participation until 1994.) Athletes from West Germany (FRG) and East Germany (GDR) competed together as the United Team of Germany from 1956 to 1964.
Medal count 
These are the top ten nations that won medals at these Games:
See also 
- 1960 Summer Olympics
- 1960 Summer Paralympics
- Olympic Games
- Winter Olympic Games
- List of IOC country codes
- Other Olympic Games celebrated in the United States
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: 1960 Winter Olympics|
- Bill Briner Photo Collection of the 1960 Games
- Clip of US vs USSR ice hockey match
- The program of the 1960 Squaw Valley Winter Olympics
VIII Olympic Winter Games (1960)