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Los Angeles 1932

A stadium built "the American way"

The Coliseum Olympic stadium stupefied the whole world by its proportions and the quality of its equipment.

Two great difficulties

The Depression and the geographical isolation of California. Participation in the Games was the lowest since 1904, in spite of the excellent competition standard.

Excluded from the programme

Football had to be completely removed. The separation of men and women - the Olympic Village (opposite picture) was reserved for men, and women stayed in the Chapman Park hotel.

Entry Restrictions

The number of participants put forward by the National Olympic Committees in individual events was limited to three.

Professionnals not admitted

Finn Paavo Nurmi and Frenchman Jules Ladoumègue, registered as professionals, could not take part.

Ceremonies
Los Angeles 30 July 1932. General view.

Official opening of the Games by:
Vice-President Charles Curtis

Lighting the Olympic Flame by:
A symbolic fire at an Olympic Summer Games was first lit in 1928 in Amsterdam.

Olympic Oath by:
George Calnan (fencing)

Official Oath by:
The officials' oath at an Olympic Summer Games was first sworn in 1972 in Munich.

Los Angeles 1932 Medals

On the obverse, the traditional goddess of victory, holding a palm in her left hand and a winner’s crown in her right. A design used since the 1928 Games in Amsterdam, created by Florentine artist Giuseppe Cassioli (ITA -1865-1942) and chosen after a competition organised by the International Olympic Committee in 1921. For these Games, the picture of victory is accompanied by the specific inscription: "Xth OLYMPIAD LOS ANGELES 1932".

On the reverse, an Olympic champion carried in triumph by the crowd, with the Olympic stadium in the background. N.B: From 1928 to 1968, the medals for the Summer Games were identical. The Organising Committee for the Games in Munich in 1972 broke new ground by having a different reverse which was designed by a Bauhaus representative, Gerhard Marcks.

More info
Los Angeles 1932 Poster

The poster symbolizes the ancient custom which consisted in sending a Greek athlete to announce the celebration of the next Olympiad and to request the cessation of hostilities. The modern young sportsman presents the laurel of peace. 200,000 copies were made.

Two setbacks

The 1932 Olympic Games were held in the middle of the Great Depression and, given the transport links of the time, in the relatively remote region of California. Consequently, participation in the Games was the lowest since 1904, with only half as many athletes taking part as had in 1928. Despite this, the standard of competition was excellent.

A record crowd at the Opening Ceremony

The Coliseum Olympic stadium astonished the whole world. Its scale and quality were beyond anything that had come before, creating the first Games we would recognise today. The crowds were also without precedent, starting with the 100,000 people who attended the Opening Ceremony.

Innovative thinking

Between 1900 and 1928, no Summer Games had been shorter than 79 days, but in Los Angeles this was cut to just 16. It has remained between 15 and 18 days ever since. Other firsts included the male athletes being housed in a single Olympic Village (the women stayed in a luxury hotel), and medal winners standing on a podium with the flag of the winner being raised.

Olympic spirit

The spirit of the Olympic Games was exemplified by British fencer Judy Guinness. Contesting the final, she gallantly gave up her hopes for a gold medal when she pointed out to officials that they had not noticed two touches scored against her by her final opponent, Ellen Preis of Austria.

NOCs: 37
Athletes: 1,332 (126 women, 1,206 men)
Events: 117
Volunteers: n/a
Media: n/a

Los Angeles 1932 Emblem

It is composed of the American flag presented in the form of arms, accompanied, in the foreground, by the Olympic rings, the Olympic motto "Citius, Altius, Fortius" (faster, higher, stronger) and a laurel branch, symbol of victory.

Los Angeles 1932 Official Reports

The official report “The Games of the Xth Olympiad Los Angeles 1932” was produced only in English, in the form of a single volume with over 800 pages. The quality was excellent, and it was the first such report to include colour illustrations. It exists with three different types of binding.






  • Los Angeles 1932
    • 12 Mar 2014 |
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      The official report “The Games of the Xth Olympiad Los Angeles 1932” was produced only in English, in the form of a single volume with over 800 pages. The quality was excellent, and it was the first such report to include colour illustrations. It exists with three different types of binding.

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