The 1960 Winter Olympics
, officially known as the VIII Olympic Winter Games
, were a winter multi-sport event
which was celebrated between February 18
and February 28
in Squaw Valley
, United States
(located near the Lake Tahoe
basin). Squaw Valley won the bid in 1955. It was the first return of the Olympic Games to North America in 28 years.
, the creator of the resort
was initially inspired to submit Squaw Valley when he noticed a newspaper article mentioning Reno, Nevada
and Anchorage, Alaska
had expressed interest in the Games. Squaw Valley was a town with no mayor, and claimed one ski resort with only one chairlift, two rope tows, and a fifty-room lodge. In fact, Cushing was the only inhabitant and homeowner in the whole area. To this day, many wonder how he convinced the International Olympic Committee to select the little known resort. Nevertheless, the bid captured the imagination of the International Olympic Committee
, although IOC head Avery Brundage
stated "the USOC obviously has taken leave of their senses." Cushing campaigned vigorously to win the Games and networked to gain many allies, particularly from South American
Olympic Committees, who normally cared little for the Winter Games. Stressing simplicity and "the World's Games" (as opposed to dominant Europe), the tiny resort beat out previous hosts St. Moritz
, and favorite Innsbruck, Austria
, which would go on to host the 1964 Winter Olympics
The Games were awarded in June 16, 1955, at the 50th IOC Session in Paris, France, to "shock and disbelief" over Innsbruck, and a four and a half year rush to construct roads, hotels, restaurants, and bridges, as well as the ice arena, the speed skating track, ski lifts, and ski jumping hill began. Criticism of the high altitude, remote location, and lack of facilities were shown to be only partly justified when the contests were over. Olympic course designer Willy Schaeffler walked the mountain for four days before appearing in declaring the site worthy. His valuable credits (the 1936 Games and the 1952 World Championships in Aspen) led him to tirelessly design the courses for the Games. In fact, the alpine and cross-country courses were so difficult that they garnered quite a bit of controversy.
The chart's information below comes from the International Olympic Committee Vote History web page.
Venues and celebrations
The Games were the largest ever held up to that date, with 30 nations competing in 15 alpine and ski jumping events, 8 speed skiing contests, 3 figure skating competitions and 28 hockey matches.
Prior to the Games, Squaw Valley had a typical of snowpack. but a massive rain washed most of it away, including a temporary parking lot which was built on the frozen flood plain of a nearby stream. The U.S. military was called in to repair the damage to the packed-snow and ice lot before the Games began. Fortunately, of snow fell before the Games started.
For the first time, an Olympic Village was built to house all the athletes. It would house up to 750 participants. Also prominent was the Tower of Nations, now located at the entrance of the valley, which stands tall and wide. It is crowned with the five Olympic rings, each eight feet in diameter, and displays the crests of all the competing nations. There were also 30 flagpoles for the flags of the participating nations. Each flagpole came with a plaque signed by Walt Disney After the Games the flagpoles ended up, among others, at the following places:
Another first for the Games was Disney artist John Hench's Olympic torch design, upon which all further torches would be based. The Olympic flame was lit in the cottage of Sondre Norheim in Morgedal, Norway, and was brought to Los Angeles by plane from Oslo. The proverbial torch is metaphorically still burning in Squaw Valley.
Walt Disney was the Head of Pageantry for the Games. He organized 5,000 participants, including 1285 instruments and 2,645 voices from nearby schools in California and Nevada. 2,000 doves were also released in the pagentry. CBS paid $50,000 for the right to broadcast the Games in the United States, and this marked the first time the Olympic Games were televised. Also, officials unsure if a skier had missed a gate in the men's slalom, asked CBS if they could review a videotape of the race. This inspired CBS to invent "instant replay."
- Yevgeny Grishin, of the USSR, scored the men's speed skating, 500 m gold, 1500 m gold where he drew with Roald Aas.
- Lidia Skoblikova, of the USSR, took the women's speed skating 1500 m gold and also the 3000 m gold.
- Frenchman Jean Vuarnet won the men's downhill gold medal. He was also the first to compete and win on metal skis.
- Anne Heggtveit, from Canada, took the women's slalom gold medal.
- In biathlon, Sweden's Klas Lestander recorded the 15th best time over the 20-kilometer course but was perfect on each of his 20 rifle shots, thereby winning the first Olympic biathlon competition.
- Penny Pitou, of the USA, won both the women's downhill silver medal and the women's giant slalom silver medal.
- Finnish cross-country skier Veikko Hakulinen was the only athlete at Squaw Valley to claim three medals (for a career total of seven). He came from 20 seconds back on the anchor leg to win gold in the 40–kilometer relay by one meter.
- Foreshadowing the 1980 Miracle on Ice, the little-regarded United States men's ice-hockey team beat Canada (the favourite to win the gold medal), Cold War rival USSR, and upset Czechoslovakia to win the Olympic gold in a game that went down to the wire.
- An IBM 305 RAMAC, an early IBM computer, was used to provide electronic data processing, another first for the Olympics.
- Figure skater Carol Heiss (who later took a gold medal) recited the Olympic Oath on behalf of the athletes. It was the first time a woman was chosen to take the Oath.
There were 15 alpine and ski jumping events, eight speed skiing events, and three figure skating events. However, there was no bobsleigh
run, as the organizing committee found it too expensive and only nine nations would take part, so the sport was not contested at these Games (The bobsleigh world championships
in Cortina d'Ampezzo
would be held later that same year to replace the Olympic competition.). Luge
would debut as an Olympic sport in 1964
This Olympiad was the first with women's speed skating and the men's biathlon.
Also for the first time, artificial refrigeration was installed for speed skating events.
- Blyth Arena--figure skating and ice hockey, speed skating in adjacent ring
- Westshore area--cross country skiing
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.
These are the top ten nations that won medals at these Games:
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