1932 Summer Olympics

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Games of the X Olympiad
Host city Los Angeles, California, United States
Nations participating 37
Athletes participating 1,332 (1,206 men, 126 women)
Events 117 in 14 sports
Opening ceremony July 30
Closing ceremony August 14
Officially opened by Vice President Charles Curtis
Athlete's Oath George Calnan
Stadium Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum

The 1932 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the X Olympiad, was a major worldwide multi-athletic event which was celebrated in 1932 in Los Angeles, California, United States. No other cities made a bid to host these Olympics. Held during the worldwide Great Depression, many nations and athletes were unable to pay for the trip to Los Angeles. Fewer than half the participants of the 1928 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam returned to compete in 1932. Even U.S. President Herbert Hoover skipped the event.[1]

The organizing committee put no record of the finances of the Games in their report, though contemporary newspapers reported that the Games had made a profit of US$1,000,000.[1]

Host city selection

The selection process for the 1932 Summer Olympics consisted of one bid, from Los Angeles, which ultimately hosted the games. The selection was made at the 23rd IOC Session in Rome, Italy, in 1923.[2]


File:The Australian Olympic Team at the Olympic Stadium, Los Angeles, 1932 - photographer unknown.jpg
The Australian Olympic Team at the Olympic Stadium, Los Angeles, 1932
  • An Olympic Village was built for the first time, in Baldwin Hills, occupied by the male athletes.[3] Female athletes were housed at the Chapman Park Hotel on Wilshire Boulevard.
  • The victory podium was used for the first time.[4]
  • The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum was known in 1932 as Olympic Stadium.
  • Tenth Street, a major thoroughfare in Los Angeles, was renamed Olympic Boulevard in honor of the Games of the Tenth Olympiad.
  • Babe Didrikson won two gold medals in the javelin and the hurdles event. She also competed in a jump-off for a silver in the high jump. Her technique in the jump-off was ruled illegal, leaving Didrikson with second place.
  • In field hockey, only three nations took part. The host nation lost both matches, 1-24 to India and 2-9 to Japan, but still won a bronze medal.
  • Poland's Stanisława Walasiewicz won the gold medal in the women's 100 m; she would also win the silver medal in the event four years later. After her death in 1980, it was discovered that she was intersex and would have been ineligible to participate.
  • The executive council of the IAAF suspended Paavo Nurmi from international amateur athletics four months before the Games, pending an investigation into his amateur status.[5] Less than three days before the 10,000 m, the seven members of the council formed a special commission and rejected his entries.[6]
  • Eddie Tolan won both the 100 m and 200 m sprint events.
  • Romeo Neri won three gold medals in gymnastics.
  • Helene Madison won three gold medals in swimming, while the Japanese upset the men's events and took all but one title.
  • Takeichi Nishi (Baron Nishi) was the gold medalist with his horse Uranus in the equestrian show jumping individual event. Nishi's gold medal is Japan's only gold medal in the equestrian event to this day. Nishi would later die in 1945 as an officer stationed in the defense of the island of Iwo Jima, and as such is a main character in Clint Eastwood's film, Letters from Iwo Jima.
  • Kusuo Kitamura won the gold medal in the men's 1500 meter freestyle swimming race. He was and continues to be the youngest ever male swimmer to win a gold medal at the Olympic Games.
  • Dunc Gray won Australia's first cycling gold medal; he set a world record of 1m 13s in the 1000 time trial. The Dunc Gray Velodrome, built for the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, was named after him.
  • Due to an official's error, the 3,000 m steeplechase went for 3,460 m, or one extra lap.[7]

Medals awarded

117 events in 20 disciplines, comprising 14 sports, were part of the Olympic program in 1932. In one of two Equestrian jumping events (team competitions) no medals were awarded. The number of events in each discipline is noted in parentheses.

File:Takeichi Nishi.jpg
Nishi with Olympic steed, Uranus

Demonstration sports


See Art competitions at the 1932 Summer Olympics for details of the art competitions held at the games, in which medals were awarded in five categories (architecture, literature, music, painting, and sculpture), for works inspired by sport-related themes.


The following venues hosted events at the 1932 games:[8][9]

Participating nations

participants (blue=first-time)
Number of athletes

A total of 37 nations were represented at the 1932 Games. Colombia made its first appearance at the Olympic Games, and the Republic of China (with a single athlete) competed for the first time after its failed appearance at the 1924 Games.

Medal count

These are the top ten nations that won medals at the 1932 Games.

Rank Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total
1  United States (host nation) 41 32 30 103
2  Italy 12 12 12 36
3  France 10 5 4 19
4  Sweden 9 5 9 23
5  Japan 7 7 4 18
6  Hungary 6 4 5 15
7  Finland 5 8 12 25
8  Great Britain 4 7 5 16
9  Germany 3 12 5 20
10  Australia 3 1 1 5

See also

  • Parley Parker Christensen, Los Angeles City Council member who blocked payment for sending 1932 Olympic flag to Berlin for the 1936 games.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Hoover, who also skipped the 1932 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York, was the second U.S. president to miss a Games in the United States held during his term. The first was President Theodore Roosevelt, who decided not to attend the 1904 Summer Olympics, held in St. Louis, Missouri, because St. Louis mayor David R. Francis declined to let Roosevelt help officiate. Zarnowski, C. Frank (Summer 1992). "A Look at Olympic Costs" (PDF). Citius, Altius, Fortius. 1 (1): 16–32. Retrieved March 24, 2007. 
  2. "Past Olympic host city election results". GamesBids. Archived from the original on March 17, 2011. Retrieved March 17, 2011. 
  3. 1932 Los Angeles Olympic Athlete's Village in Baldwin Hills, Accessed November 12, 2007.
  4. Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, National Landmarks Program, National Park Service, Accessed November 12, 2007.
  5. "Finns Aroused by Nurmi Suspension". St. Petersburg Times. April 4, 1932. p. 7. Retrieved September 22, 2012. 
  6. Gould, Alan (July 29, 1932). "Paavo Nurmi barred from Olympic meet". Telegraph Herald. p. 11. Retrieved September 22, 2012. 
  7. Lynch, Steven. "What was unusual about the 3000-metre steeplechase final at the 1932 Olympics?". www.espn.co.uk. Retrieved June 25, 2012. 
  8. http://boundless.uoregon.edu/cdm4/document.php?CISOROOT=/uo-athletics&CISOPTR=596&REC=4
  9. http://www.la84foundation.org/6oic/OfficialReports/1932/1932s.pdf


External links

Preceded by
Summer Olympic Games
Los Angeles

X Olympiad (1932)
Succeeded by