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.
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.
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.
Athletes 1,332 (126 women, 1,206 men)