1932 Winter Olympics

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III Olympic Winter Games
1932 Winter Olympics.svg
Host cityLake Placid, New York, United States
Athletes252 (231 men, 21 women)
Events14 in 4 sports (7 disciplines)
OpeningFebruary 4
ClosingFebruary 15
Opened by
StadiumOlympic Stadium Lake Placid
St. Moritz 1928 Garmisch 1936
Amsterdam 1928 Los Angeles 1932

The 1932 Winter Olympics, officially known as the III Olympic Winter Games, were a winter multi-sport event in the United States, held in Lake Placid, New York. The games opened on February 4 and closed on February 15. 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.


  • Coca-Cola would be their permanent soft drink provider for this Winter Games hereafter.
  • 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.
  • 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 founder of Aspen winter resort in 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.[3]
  • Irving Jaffee won the 5,000 m (3.1 mi) and the 10,000 m (6.2 mi) speedskating 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.[4]
  • The USA won the medal tally with a total of 12 medals (6 gold, 4 silver, and 2 bronze). This was the only time the US topped the medal tally at the Winter Olympics until the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.
  • 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.


Venue Sports Capacity Ref.
Intervales Ski-Hill Nordic combined (ski jumping), Ski jumping 9,200 [5]
Lake Placid Cross-country skiing, Nordic combined (cross-country skiing) Not listed. [6]
Mt. Van Hoevenberg Bob-Run Bobsleigh 12,500 [7]
Olympic Arena Figure skating, Ice hockey (final) 3,360 [8]
Olympic Stadium Ice hockey, Speed skating 7,475 [9]

Participating nations[edit]

The Olympic Bobsled run from the air

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)
  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 nations)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. ^ Greenspan, Bud, 100 Greatest Moments in Olympic History, General Publishing Group, Inc., 1995, pp. 88
  4. ^ Johnson, William Oscar, The Olympics: A History of the Games, Oxmoor House, Inc., 1993, pp. 60-61.
  5. ^ 1932 Winter Olympics official report. Archived April 10, 2008, at the Wayback Machine pp. 141-4. Accessed 12 October 2010.
  6. ^ 1932 Winter Olympics official report. Archived April 10, 2008, at the Wayback Machine pp. 145-6, 199. Accessed 12 October 2010.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ 1932 Winter Olympics official report. Archived April 10, 2008, at the Wayback Machine pp. 141, 150-57. Accessed 12 October 2010.
  9. ^ 1932 Winter Olympics official report. Archived April 10, 2008, at the Wayback Machine pp. 141, 147-50. Accessed 12 October 2010.

External links[edit]

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

Preceded by
St. Moritz
Winter Olympics
Lake Placid

III Olympic Winter Games (1932)
Succeeded by