Lake Placid gets unanimous nod
At the turn of the 20th century, Lake Placid (population: 4,000), a quiet village located in the Adirondack Mountains in New York State (USA), was gradually developing into one of the most popular winter sport resorts in the United States. Consequently, its two frozen lakes, ideal for open-air ice skating, a ski jump built in 1921 and a network of high-quality ski runs and trails began to host a variety of sporting competitions during the winter.
Local sporting enthusiast Godfrey Dewey, who managed the US ski team at the 1928 Olympic Winter Games in St. Moritz (SUI) and carried the American flag at the Opening Ceremony, was keen to bring the event to his birthplace, and paid careful attention to the organisational aspects of the competition, such as the sporting programme, accommodation and budgets. Earlier that year, he had embarked on a personal tour of European cities renowned for their winter sports facilities like Chamonix (FRA), Gstaad (POL), and Swiss towns Grindelwald, Mürren, Engelberg, Davos and Arosa, as well as St. Moritz itself. He returned home from both trips convinced that Lake Placid was more than capable of hosting the Winter Games.
In March 1928, Dewey presented the idea of bidding for the Games to members of the town’s Chamber of Commerce, remarking that “accommodation is the main issue to which we need to give thought, given that our sports facilities already make the grade” and that “Lake Placid’s greatest selling point in this process is surely the quarter of a century of winter sports experience we have under our belts.” Although still lacking a bobsleigh track, Lake Placid, backed by the State of New York and its governor, future American president Franklin D. Roosevelt, officially launched an Olympic bid in 1929.IOC
Back in 1923, the IOC had decided that Los Angeles would host the 1932 Olympic Summer Games. At the time, an unwritten rule inferred that the city or country due to host the Summer Games would have first refusal on staging the winter version. As a result, several American sites threw their hats into the ring: Yosemite Valley (California), Lake Tahoe (California), Lake Placid (New York), Bear Mountain (New York), Duluth (Minnesota), Minneapolis (Minnesota) and Denver (Colorado). Oslo (NOR) and Montreal (CAN) completed the shortlist of nine candidates.
At the 27th IOC session in Lausanne (SUI), Dewey delivered an eloquent and persuasive presentation, and on 10 April 1929, Lake Placid was unanimously selected to host the 1932 Winter Games, which would now be held outside Europe for the first time. “The award was made to Lake Placid because of its pre-eminent standing as a winter sports resort, its climate and terrain, its existing sports facilities, its experience in staging winter sports, and its guarantee that the additional facilities necessary for the conduct of the Games would be provided,” the Official Report of the III Olympic Winter Games would later note. The news was greeted with great enthusiasm by local residents.IOC