1932 Winter Olympics

Coordinates: 44°17′06″N 73°59′06″W / 44.285°N 73.985°W / 44.285; -73.985
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III Olympic Winter Games
Host cityLake Placid, United States
Athletes252 (231 men, 21 women)
Events14 in 4 sports (7 disciplines)
OpeningFebruary 4, 1932
ClosingFebruary 13, 1932
Opened by
StadiumOlympic Stadium Lake Placid

The 1932 Winter Olympics, officially known as the III Olympic Winter Games and commonly known as Lake Placid 1932, were a winter multi-sport event in the United States, held in Lake Placid, New York, United States. The games opened on February 4 and closed on February 13. It was the first of four Winter Olympics held in the United States; Lake Placid hosted again in 1980.

The games were awarded to Lake Placid in part by the efforts of Godfrey Dewey, head of the Lake Placid Club and son of Melvil Dewey, inventor of the Dewey Decimal System.[1] California also had a bid for the 1932 Winter Games. William May Garland, president of the California X Olympiad Association, wanted the games to take place in Wrightwood and Big Pines, California. The world's largest ski jump at the time was constructed in Big Pines for the event,[2] but the games were ultimately awarded to Lake Placid.

The practice of awarding Olympic medals at podium ceremonies was established at the 1932 Winter Olympics, based on pedestals used at the 1930 British Empire Games, as proposed by Melville Marks Robinson.[3]


  • American company Coca-Cola became the official provider of that games' soft drinks and would remain so for all subsequent winter Olympics (as of 2021).
  • The Games were opened by Franklin D. Roosevelt, then the Governor of New York. He would be elected President of the United States nine months later.
  • The victory podium was used for the first time at the winter games.[4][5] Speed skater Jack Shea became the first Olympic champion to receive a gold medal on the podium.[6]
  • Billy Fiske (who would win his second gold medal at Lake Placid, having won his first at 16 in the 1928 Winter Olympics), carried the flag for the United States in the opening ceremonies. A planner of a winter resort in Aspen, Colorado, he was killed in 1940 flying in the Battle of Britain.
  • Sonja Henie won the second of three consecutive Olympic gold medals in figure skating. She also won gold in 1928 and 1936.[7]
  • Irving Jaffee won the 5,000 m (3.1 mi) and the 10,000 m (6.2 mi) speed skating gold medals, beating previous champion and world record holder Ivar Ballangrud in the 10,000 m by 4.5 m (15 ft).
  • Eddie Eagan became the only Olympian to win gold medals at both the summer and winter games in different sports. He won gold in boxing in the 1920 Antwerp summer games and gold in bobsleigh at Lake Placid. The bobsleigh race was held two days after the games' closing ceremonies due to unseasonably warm weather in the region the week prior.[8]
  • Georg Gyssling, a member of the Nazi party, joined a newly created four man bobsledding team after half the German team was injured in several violent crashes on Mount Van Hoevenberg. René Fonjallaz, a future Nazi propagandist[clarification needed] on the Swiss team, was also injured and left unconscious for five minutes after a crash during a practice run. [9]
  • The United States topped the medal count with a total of 12 medals (6 gold, 4 silver, and 2 bronze). This was the only time the U.S. led the overall medal standings at the Winter Olympics until the 2010 Games in Vancouver, and the only time the United States won the most gold medals.
  • Seventeen countries participated.


A stylized image shows a four-man bobled running the bobsled track, with an observation tower and spectator viewing area on either side. At the top of the image are the flags of the United States, the Olympic movement, and France, and the bottom of the poster reads, "Olympic Bobsled Run Lake Placid, Up where winter calls to play, Operated by New York State Conservation Dept."
A WPA poster,
advertising the bobsled run

Medals were awarded in 14 events contested in 4 sports (7 disciplines).

Demonstration sports[edit]

The Games also included events in three demonstration sports.


The Olympic Bobsled run from the air
Venue Sports Capacity Ref.
Intervales Ski-Hill Nordic combined (ski jumping), Ski jumping 9,200 [10]
Lake Placid Cross-country skiing, Nordic combined (cross-country skiing) Not listed. [11]
Mt. Van Hoevenberg Bob-Run Bobsleigh 12,500 [12]
Olympic Arena Figure skating, Ice hockey (final) 3,360 [13]
Olympic Stadium Ice hockey, Speed skating 7,475 [14]

Participating nations[edit]

Participating nations map.

Athletes from 17 nations competed in these Games, down from 25 nations at the previous Games in 1928. Argentina, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, and Yugoslavia did not send athletes to Lake Placid.

Participating National Olympic Committees

Number of athletes by National Olympic Committees[edit]

Medal count[edit]

III Olympic Winter Games U.S. commemorative stamp (1932)
Finnish skiers: Valmari Toikka, Veli Saarinen, Väinö Liikkanen and Martti Lappalainen
  Host country
1 United States*64212
2 Norway34310
3 Sweden1203
4 Canada1157
5 Finland1113
6 Austria1102
7 France1001
8 Switzerland0101
9 Germany0022
10 Hungary0011
Totals (10 entries)14141442

Podium sweeps[edit]

Date Sport Event NOC Gold Silver Bronze
11 February Nordic combined Individual  Norway Johan Grøttumsbråten Ole Stenen Hans Vinjarengen
12 February Ski jumping Normal hill  Norway Birger Ruud Hans Beck Kaare Wahlberg

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Lund, Morten (January 21, 2014). "How the Olympics Came to a Sleepy Adirondack Village". International Skiing History Association. Retrieved March 19, 2017.
  2. ^ Strege, Dave (August 21, 2013). "Mountain High makeover". Orange County Register. Retrieved August 17, 2016.
  3. ^ Ogilvie, Claire (October 18, 2006). "Prof says Olympic podiums have Canadian connection". The Province. Vancouver, British Columbia. p. 25.
  4. ^ Martin, D. E., Martin, D. A., & Gynn, R. W. (2000). The olympic marathon. Human Kinetics. p. 146.
  5. ^ 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".
  6. ^ IOC (October 20, 2017). "1932: THE PODIUM MAKES ITS OLYMPIC DEBUT". Archived from the original on August 4, 2020. Retrieved July 19, 2020.
  7. ^ Greenspan, Bud, 100 Greatest Moments in Olympic History, General Publishing Group, Inc., 1995, pp. 88
  8. ^ Johnson, William Oscar, The Olympics: A History of the Games, Oxmoor House, Inc., 1993, pp. 60-61.
  9. ^ King, D. (2015). Speed Kings: The 1932 Winter Olympics and the Fastest Men in the World.
  10. ^ 1932 Winter Olympics official report. Archived April 10, 2008, at the Wayback Machine pp. 141-4. Accessed 12 October 2010.
  11. ^ 1932 Winter Olympics official report. Archived April 10, 2008, at the Wayback Machine pp. 145-6, 199. Accessed 12 October 2010.
  12. ^ 1932 Winter Olympic Games official report. Archived April 10, 2008, at the Wayback Machine pp. 30, 39-41, 50-1, 141, 157-66. Accessed 12 October 2010.
  13. ^ 1932 Winter Olympics official report. Archived April 10, 2008, at the Wayback Machine pp. 141, 150-57. Accessed 12 October 2010.
  14. ^ 1932 Winter Olympics official report. Archived April 10, 2008, at the Wayback Machine pp. 141, 147-50. Accessed 12 October 2010.

External links[edit]

44°17′06″N 73°59′06″W / 44.285°N 73.985°W / 44.285; -73.985

Winter Olympics
Preceded by III Olympic Winter Games
Lake Placid

Succeeded by