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Old Posted Jul 25, 2009, 8:12 AM
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Los Angeles 1932 Summer Olympics

The 1932 Summer Olympics held in Los Angeles, were the first modern Olympics to turn a profit, of well over a million dollars, and this was during the Great Depression. Interestingly, the next Olympics to turn a profit would be the 1984 Summer Olympics, again held in Los Angeles. The '84 Games were the first privately financed Olympics; but for the '32 Games, the voters of California actually approved an Olympic bond of 1 million dollars, unfathomable today. The 1932 Summer Games raised the bar for Olympics organization; prior to it, the Stockholm 1912 Games were considered the first successful modern games. Amsterdam 1928 was considered a very successful Olympics, and Los Angeles wanted to one-up Amsterdam. 10th Street, a major thoroughfare in Los Angeles, was renamed Olympic Boulevard in honor of the 1932 Olympics, it being the Tenth Olympiad of the modern era. LA was awarded the 1932 Games as a consolation for not having won the 1924 Games; Amsterdam had also bid for 1924, but Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the modern Olympics, wanted Paris to host 1924 because of the embarrassment that was the 1900 Paris Olympics. So, it was agreed that Amsterdam would host 1928 and LA, 1932.
It was at the LA 1932 Games that the 3-step platform was introduced for the medal ceremonies, with the playing of the gold medalist's national anthem and the raising of the national flags of the winners. Also, it was at these Games that the medals ceremonies were done following the conclusion of the event. Prior to 1932, all of the medals were handed to the athletes during the closing ceremony; and since the previous summer Games lasted for several months, some athletes went home after the conclusion of their events, so they wouldn't even be present to receive their medals during the closing ceremony.


From sccog.org


From sccog.org

All pics from lapl.org unless otherwise denoted.



So that Angelenos would catch "Olympic fever," the LA Times sponsored four annual marathons leading up to the 1932 Games. Held in June, the 26-mile, 385-yard race was run through the streets of downtown and out through the “suburbs” of the Wilshire District. In 1931 the marathon winner was Fred Ward of the Millrose Athletic Club, New York.
I really love the old ACME semaphore traffic signals.


The Olympics arrive! The 1932 Summer Games were the first to be held for 2 weeks. Prior to that, the Olympics were held over a period of months. The 1928 Amsterdam Games were held from May 17 - August 12. The 1932 Summer Games were held from July 30 - August 14.
Here are 5th and Spring Streets in downtown Los Angeles during the 1932 Games.


Welcoming party for the Czech athletes, at the Santa Fe La Grande Station. Remember, LA's Union Station wasn't opened until 1939; I think there used to be two different train stations in downtown LA back then. And California was still a relatively isolated place back then; athletes arrived in Los Angeles via ship at the port in San Pedro, or they took trains from the east. Many European athletes took ships to New York, then took the trains to Los Angeles.


Czech athletes greeted at City Hall. A large crowd, made up of city leaders and local Czech residents dressed in traditional costume, has gathered outside City Hall to greet Czech athletes who have come to Los Angeles for the 1932 Olympics. Mayor John C. Porter meets with Czech Consul, identified as "Dr. Janovsky", near the center of the image.


Here's the Indian team on their ship, waiting to disembark at the Port of Los Angeles:

From bharatiyahockey.org

The opening ceremonies. I think the architectural style of the Coliseum was very fitting for these Games, having a classical and Art Deco-ish look... and almost Fascist, somehow. A foreshadowing of things to come? But then a lot of Fascist-era architecture looks Deco to me, and vice-versa.


The LA Olympic organizing committee created the first Olympic Village. Prior to 1932, it was left up to each participating country's NOC to provide housing for its athletes. Many were booked into hotels; some stayed on their ships at port. I read that Paris 1924 had a proto-Olympic village, which were temporary bungalows set up in case athletes had no housing, but LA was the first to provide housing for all participating athletes. They were provided lots of amenities; free food, movies/entertainment at a theater in the village, a post office... these were all in temporary structures, in the Baldwin Hills section of Los Angeles, torn down after the Games ended. And only men stayed at the Olympic Village. The female athletes were housed at the swank Chapman Park Hotel on Wilshire Boulevard (which was demolished in the 1960s). But the women were also treated with free meals, mail drop-off and delivery, common lounge areas and entertainment. Hollywood celebs would even visit the athletes. I think I read that it wasn't until Melbourne 1956 that the Olympic Village became co-ed.

Here's the main entrance to the Olympic Village.

From healeyandwise.co.uk

Views of the Olympic village.




From sccog.org

Here's a wrestling team mugging for the cameras in front of their cottages:


Here are the female athletes lounging at the Chapman Park Hotel:


Exterior shot of the Chapman Park Hotel circa late 1930s:


Here's 17 year-old American Dorothy Poynton, executing a perfect dive at the Olympic Swim Stadium, which she would win a gold medal for.


Here's Buster Crabbe, American swimmer and future movie actor.


Another shot of the swim stadium. You can see the Coliseum adjacent to it.

From ctvolympics.ca

The swim stadium still exists, except now it's been converted into an indoor community pool, something they did in the early part of this decade. The Art Deco Moderne-styled grandstands now serve as the entrance, and I think it's been given landmark status. Here's a contemporary photo of it:

From flickr.com

The eight-oar championship drew an overwhelming crowd of 150,000 to the banks of the Long Beach Marine Stadium. For the climax of the Regatta, the American team beat Italy across the finish line - by a fifth of a second. Look at those oil wells! Now it's all condos around the LB Marine Stadium.


Tandem Cycling. Taking 1st place in the bicycle racing is the French tandem on right, and in 2nd place, the British tandem on left. A temporary cycling track was installed inside the Rose Bowl in Pasadena to serve as the velodrome.


The Wrestling venue, Grand Olympic Auditorium. This was also the venue for boxing. This building still exists, except now it's a Korean Mega-Church or something.


Lt. Pahud de Mortanges of the Netherlands, a veteran and gold medal winner from the previous two Olympics, scores his record fourth gold medal on his horse “Macroix” at the equestrian event held at the Riviera Country Club in the Pacific Palisades section of Los Angeles.


Here's a shot of the Coliseum, being set up for another equestrian event. I'm not familiar with equestrian events, but I know that during the Olympics, they are often held at two different sites. I guess there are different types of courses?

From fei.org

In front of a suspenseful crowd, Japanese pole vaulter Shuhei Nishida conquers 14 feet to win the silver medal.


Canada's gold medalist in boxing was Horace “Lefty” Gwynne who survived a fierce battle against Germany's Hans Ziglarski (right) in the bantamweight boxing final, held at the Grand Olympic Auditorium.


Former California Governor C.C. Young congratulates James Bausch on his superb all-around abilities.


Dallas Bixler, a resident of Buena Park, California, received the gold medal for this remarkable performance on the horizontal bar. EH remembers that his medal was awarded to him hours after his event because there were too few people in the stands when he won. I think it's interesting that the gymnastics events were held in the Coliseum. In fact, I don't think it wasn't until London 1948 that gymnastics started being held in indoor arenas.


Closing ceremonies. See you in 1936 in Berlin!
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Last edited by sopas ej; Jul 26, 2009 at 5:26 PM.
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Old Posted Jul 26, 2009, 10:31 AM
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Excellent! thanks
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Old Posted Jul 26, 2009, 2:47 PM
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Quote:
See you in 1936 in Berlin!
Little did they know.
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Old Posted Jul 26, 2009, 4:02 PM
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I love this thread! Thanks for taking the time and care to post it. Excellent job.
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Old Posted Jul 26, 2009, 6:53 PM
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Very interesting. Nobody does the Olympics better than L.A.
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Old Posted Jul 26, 2009, 10:19 PM
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Excellent thread sopas_ej.
Great photos and your commentary was very interesting.
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Old Posted Oct 3, 2009, 5:04 AM
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Old Posted Oct 4, 2009, 7:09 PM
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Just to add a few more pictures...

Here's the peristyle of the Coliseum during the 1932 Olympics. Notice the flags near the Olympic cauldron, I assume this was for a medals ceremony, with the US having gotten the gold. I wonder if the 3-step podium for the medal winners was supposed to echo the placement of the flags. Notice the scoreboard. I'm sure it was state-of-the-art back then, but I think it involved the use of flip-cards.

USC Archive

Here's an exterior shot of the Grand Olympic Auditorium, the venue for boxing, weightlifting and wrestling.

USC Archive

Here's what it looks like today. Up until some years ago, it was still a venue for boxing matches and concerts. Now it's used by the Korean Glory Church of Jesus Christ.

From you-are-here.com

Here's the California State Armory in Exposition Park. It was the venue for fencing during the 1932 Summer Olympics.

USC Archive

Here's that facade in a more contemporary photo. The building has actually been re-done and is now the Theodore Alexander Science Center School, with additions done by Thom Mayne of Morphosis, I believe.

From you-are-here.com

Here's an aerial shot of the Long Beach Marine Stadium, site of the rowing competition during the 1932 Summer Olympics. That area was really undeveloped, and you can see the oil wells. Lots of parked cars, it looks like; I guess there would be, it seems there are a lot of spectators. And oh, are those the Pacific Electric streetcars I see in the lower middle part of the photo?

USC Archive

Here's a shot of a rowing crew, according to the caption of the photo, this was taken during the '32 Games.

USC Archive

Here's a contemporary photo of the Long Beach Marine Stadium. The oil
wells are long gone. As you can see it's still used for rowing, among other water sports.

From static.panoramio.com

This was also the proposed rowing venue for the failed LA 2012 Olympic bid (the USOC chose New York City, which ultimately lost to London) and the failed LA 2016 Olympic bid (the USOC chose Chicago, which ultimately lost to Rio de Janeiro). Interestingly, this was NOT the rowing venue during the LA 1984 Summer Olympics; instead, the rowing venue was Lake Casitas in Ventura County.
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Last edited by sopas ej; Oct 6, 2009 at 1:26 AM.
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Old Posted Oct 4, 2009, 8:29 PM
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that year cleveland's bid the chicago runnerup to los angeles' rio --- so bah!
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Old Posted Oct 4, 2009, 10:13 PM
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Impressive!
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Old Posted Oct 8, 2009, 3:40 AM
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So very cool - thanks for posting those!
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Old Posted Oct 10, 2009, 9:20 PM
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What a great welcoming we Czechs had! Thanks for pictures!
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Old Posted Oct 13, 2009, 7:52 PM
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Quote:
I think I read that it wasn't until Melbourne 1956 that the Olympic Village became co-ed.
I think this move made the Olympics a much more pleasurable event for the athletes. I believe it was during the Sydney Olympics that there was a report that they were refilling the condom machines in the Olympic village on an hourly basis.


Great Pictures.
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Old Posted Oct 14, 2009, 5:16 PM
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We should have the 2020 Olympics.
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Old Posted Oct 23, 2009, 2:18 AM
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Very cool thread. It is really interesting to see all the oil wells there in long beach. There are still a few scatterd around in them parts of town right next to the stucco homes.
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Old Posted Oct 23, 2009, 4:09 AM
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Thanks for posting.....I love Olympic History.
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Old Posted Oct 23, 2009, 4:33 AM
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fantastic job! great commentary and thanks for taking the time. I wish we had the Olympics again.
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Old Posted Dec 17, 2009, 12:44 AM
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Interesting to see. Thanks for posting!
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Old Posted Dec 18, 2009, 12:02 AM
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Nice pics! Sure beats the crass commercialism we had here in '96...
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Old Posted Dec 18, 2009, 4:12 AM
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This is a great thread sopas_ej
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