1932 Summer Games – Los Angeles

The Games of Olympiad X faced an uphill struggle most of the way, since the world was mired in the Great Depression. Many nations and athletes simply could not afford the trip to Los Angeles. Fewer than half of the participants in the 1928 Games made it to LA. President Hoover declined to attend the games, and he did not attend the winter games held earlier in the year at Lake Placid, New York. Hoover was the second President to not attend the games, the first being Theodore Roosevelt for the 1904 Games at St. Louis.

These Games had the first ever Olympic Village, and it was the first to use a victory podium. Paavo Nurmi was banned from the games for being a professional. In one of the more strange results the host country United States lost both matches in field hockey losing to India 24-1 and to Japan 9-2, but since there were only three participating nations the US was awarded (term used loosely) the bronze medal.

Due to an official’s error the 3000 meter steeplechase was actually one lap longer, and Babe Didrikson won two gold medals in hurdles and javelin, but lost the gold medal in high jump when her technique was ruled illegal, yet she was still awarded the silver.

Japan’s Baron Nishi would win a medal in the equestrian show jumping event, Nishi would later be killed in defense of Iwo Jima, and he was used as a main character in the Clint Eastwood movie ‘Letters from Iwo Jima’ The medal in the equestrian event is the only Japanese medal in equestrian to this date.

Thirty-seven nations participated with the host US nearly tripling the medal count of Italy, who was second in medals. US finished with 103 total medals 41g 32s 30b, to Italy’s  36 medals 12g 12s 12b.

Though no official records concerning the financial aspects were put in the final report, it is commonly held that these games netted $1,000,000.