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Squaw Valley 1960

The instant replay

When officials became unsure as to whether a skier had missed a gate in the men's slalom they asked CBS-TV if they could review a videotape of the race. This gave CBS the idea of inventing the now ubiquitous "instant replay".

No bobsleigh

The Games were preceded by a controversy when the Organising Committee refused to build a bobsleigh run because only nine nations had indicated an intention to take part, making 1960 the only time that bobsleigh has not been included in the Olympic programme.

Debuts and firsts

Men's biathlon and women's speed skating made their Olympic debuts. Frenchman Jean Vuarnet became the first skier to win a medal on metal skis, instead of the traditional wooden ones.

Memorable relay finish

Aged 35, Veikko Hakulinen had already won two gold medals, but his most memorable Olympic exploit was yet to come. As the anchor of the Finnish relay team, he took off 20 seconds behind Norway's Haakon Brusveen. One hundred metres from the finish line, Hakulinen took the lead, eventually winning by one metre and claiming gold for his team.

NOCs: 30
Athletes: 665 (144 women, 521 men)
Events: 27
Volunteers: n/a
Media: n/a

Everything is still to be done

When Alexander Cushing put forward Squaw Valley's bid to the International Olympic Committee in 1955, the resort did not even exist ! He was the only inhabitant and homeowner in the whole place (300km from San Francisco and 1,900m above sea level).

No bobsleigh

The organisers refused to build a track for the bobsleigh competition, making this the first time that this discipline was not on the Olympic programme.

The appearance of slow motion

The officials, unsure as to whether a skier had missed a gate in the men's slalom, asked CBS-TV if they could review a videotape of the race. This gave CBS the idea to invent the now ubiquitous "instant replay."

A definitive official anthem

In 1958 the IOC made the decision to adopt the Anthem composed by Spiros Samaras, with words by Kostis Palamas, as the official Olympic Anthem. Following this decision, for the Olympic Winter Games, it was first played in Squaw Valley. The Anthem had originally been composed for the celebration of the Games of the I Olympiad that took place in Athens in 1896.

New on the programme

Men's biathlon and women's speed skating made their Olympic debut.

An innovation in ski equipment

The winner of the downhill, Frenchman Jean Vuarnet, wore metal skis instead of the traditional wooden ones. It was the first Olympic medal to be won on metal skis.

The return to a symbolic Nordic Flame

A symbolic Nordic flame was again lit in the hearth of the Morgedal House in Norway, birthplace of Sondre Norheim, the great pioneer of modern skiing. From there it was sent across the Atlantic and on to Squaw Valley by torch relay.


Squaw Valley February 1960. The Olympic Flame and the "Tower of the Nations".

Official opening of the Games by:
Vice-president Richard Nixon

Lighting the Olympic Flame by:
Kenneth Charles (Ken) Henry (1952 Olympic champion in 500m speed skating)

Olympic Oath by:
Carol Heiss (figure skating)

Officials' Oath by:
The officials' oath at an Olympic Winter Games was first sworn in 1972 at Sapporo.

Squaw Valley 1960 Emblem

It is made up of three triangles in the colours of the American flag, and the Olympic rings. The triangles have a superimposed design to give a 3-D effect and create the image of a star or snow flake.

Squaw Valley 1960 Medals

On the obverse, the profile of a young woman and, in the background, that of a young man, symbolizing the youth of America and the world. Surrounded by the inscription "VIII OLYMPIC-WINTER GAMES".

The reverse remained sober, with the Olympic rings, with the motto "CITIUS-ALTIUS-FORTIUS" surrounding the top half.

The space in the middle of the bottom half was reserved for the name of the sport, in accordance with the new rule of the Olympic Charter.

A total of 60 gold, silver and bronze medals were made.

More info
Squaw Valley 1960 Torch

Number of torchbearers: more than 600
Total distance: not available
Countries crossed: Denmark and United States

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Squaw Valley 1960 Poster

Takes up the design of the official emblem. The background represents a snow field. 57,228 copies were produced in five languages.

Squaw Valley 1960 Official Reports

Entitled “VIII Olympic Winter Games Squaw Valley, California, 1960: final report”, this official report comprises a single volume in English.




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