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At the time, Lake Placid was a town with a population of fewer than 4,000 people. Faced with major obstacles to raising money in the midst of a depression, Mr Godfrey Dewey, President of the Organising Committee, donated a plot of land belonging to his family for the construction of the bobsleigh track.
Norway’s Sonja Henie and the French pair of Andrée and Pierre Brunet successfully defended their figure skating titles. American Billy Fiske won a second gold medal in the four-man bobsleigh. However, Gillis Grafström of Sweden was thwarted in his attempt to win his fourth gold medal, placing second behind Austrian Karl Schäfer.
For the first and only time in Olympic history, the American group race method was used in the speed skating competition. This involved mass starts and athletes racing against all other competitors, in contrast to the European system of heats where two participants compete against each other and the clock.
American Eddie Eagan achieved a unique feat by winning gold medals in both summer and winter sports. In 1920 in Antwerp, he had won the light-heavyweight boxing category at the Olympic Summer Games. In Lake Placid, 12 years later, he won in the four-man bobsleigh.
Athletes: 252 (21 women, 231 men)
A small, all female team of just four figure skaters from Great Britain meant that for the first time it was a woman, Mollie Phillips, who had the honour of carrying the British flag into the stadium at the Opening ceremony.
For the first and only time in Olympic history, the European system of heats with two participants each was not used in the speed skating competition. Instead, the American group race method with its mass start and athletes racing against all other competitors and not just the clock and only one other athlete was used to determine the Olympic champions.
Hockey was played in a covered hall.
Warm weather conditions caused the holding of the four-man bobsled competition to be delayed until two days after the closing ceremony for the Games had already taken place.
Lake Placid 4 February 1932. Opening Ceremony. Speechs of the Officials.
Official opening of the Games by:
The Governor of the State of New York, Franklin D. Roosevelt
Lighting the Olympic Flame by:
A symbolic fire at an Olympic Winter Games was first lit in 1936 in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
Olympic Oath by:
John Ames "Jack" Shea (speed skating)
Officials' Oath by:
The officials' oath at an Olympic Winter Games was first sworn in 1972 at Sapporo.
It represents a ski jumper in the foreground. In the background, a map of the United States with Lake Placid indicated.
On the obverse, in the top half, a winged goddess above the clouds holding a laurel crown in her right hand. In the background, the Adirondack mountains with, at their feet, a winter sports stadium, ski jump and the Lake Placid landscape.
The curved shape of the medal symbolizes the ridges of ancient columns.
On the reverse, in the top half the Olympic rings, under which can be seen a laurel crown. In the middle, the inscription " III OLYMPIC WINTER GAMES LAKE PLACID 1932".
The work: “III Olympic Winter Games, Lake Placid 1932: official report” provides a very full report on the organisation and running of the Olympic Games and a detailed history of the pioneering role of Lake Placid in the development of winter sport. It consists of one 291-page volume, published in English.