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80th anniversary: ’32 Winter Olympics

January 14, 2012
By HOWARD RILEY ( , Adirondack Daily Enterprise

You Know What ...? My co-hort, co-Judge and co-guide at the Olympic Center, big Jim Rogers, brags about attending the 1932 Olympic Winter Games in Lake Placid with his mother -but he says he couldn't see a thing - he was still in his mother's womb!

But, you know what else? I have replica copies of the Lake Placid News given to me by ORDA's Jackie (of-all-trades) Kelly dated Jan. 15 and Jan. 22, 1932 - of course, every headline on Page one was about the Games which began Feb. 4 and ran through Feb. 14. The following excerpts are from the publication of Friday, Jan. 15, 1932.


Article Photos

This poster of the bobsled run was created by the Works Progress Administration. The WPA was the largest New Deal agency employing millions of unskilled workers carrying out public works projects around the nation. The big percentage of those projects was in rural areas. Many of the stone walls constructed on the hilly streets of Saranac Lake were built by WPA workers.
(Wikipedia illustration)

17 countries entered

Lake Placid held the third games of this new, world-wide sports extravaganza preceded by the first ever winter games in Chamonix, France in 1924 and St. Moritz, Switzerland in 1928.

Countries competing in Lake Placid included: Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czechoslovakia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Norway, Poland, Romania, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States.

The United States won the most Gold Medals with eight - with a total of 19 medals; Canada was second with 4 Gold Medals and a total of 15 medals.


New arena grabs the headline

"Will Dedicate Olympic Ice Arena Saturday Night; $220,000 Building Constructed in 5 Months The pride of Lake Placid and a project which will undoubtedly prove to be the greatest asset in the history of this small village, is the magnificent $220,000 Olympic indoor ice arena which is completed and will be formally opened Saturday night, Jan. 16, at 7:45 p.m. with dedicatory address by Gustavus T. Kirby, of New York, past president of the American Olympic Committee.

"A remarkable record was made in the construction of the Olympic arena. Ground was not broken until Aug. 20. Night and day shifts have been employed in order to have the arena ready for the Olympics. The building is completed three weeks prior to the opening of the Games and figure skaters, curlers and hockey players have been working out on the ice. It is one of the largest ice sheets in the country - the ice sheet freezes in one and a half hours."


Demonstration sports

There were three demonstration events scheduled in the '32 Games; Women's Speed Skating, Curling and Dog Sled racing. Only the dog sled racing was covered in this particular issue of the News.

"J. D. McInhenny, Jr., of Philadelphia, who in former years raced in the Annual Lake Placid Club dog derby, will be entering a team. Stuart H. Belknap of Keene, who is a familiar figure in Lake Placid where he is training his team, has also filed his application with the Olympic Demonstration Dog Derby committee at Quebec. Mr. Belknap has spent many years in Alaska and is said to be an excellent musher. He purchased two of his dogs from Earl Brydges of Lake Placid.

The race will be for a distance of 25 miles a day on two successive days."


Teams arrive from abroad

"From the 'Land of the Rising Sun,' 21 members of the Japanese Olympic Team, including Speed and Figure Skaters for the first time, have traveled 7,000 miles to come to Lake Placid to compete in the III Olympic Winter Games.

"In spite of the long journey, the team is in excellent condition and has already begun training for the Games. Though physically the group is probably the smallest team entered in this international event, it rates as the third largest contingent to enter from abroad. The largest man on the team weighs only 130 pounds and most of the members are less than five feet, five inches tall."

"Finland's skiing team to compete in the III Olympic Winter Games will join other foreign contestants at Lake Placid today. Sailing from Stockholm, Jan. 7 aboard the S. S. Berengaria, they landed in New York Wednesday.

"The speed skaters and figure skaters, who remained in Europe to participate in the European championships in Davos, Switzerland, Jan. 9 and 10, will arrive later in the month.

"The entire contingent will stay at the Ware Cottage and has brought their own Finnish cook and staff of servants."


New York state troopers arrive

"The first of the detail of 43 New York State Troopers assigned to Lake Placid for the period of the Olympics arrived in Lake Placid last week. Lt. H. C. Herrick of Troop B, Malone, will be in charge of the group of Troopers here, and Trooper F. B. Homedew, also of Malone, came to Lake Placid in advance of the others to make arrangements for the installation of a teletype system at the Troopers' room at the Town Hall.

"Twelve additional Troopers of Troop B will arrive later in the week and about 30 others will arrive Feb. 1 from the Oneida, Long Island and Troy barracks. It is expected that ten Troopers will be stationed at Saranac Lake.

"Officers stationed here will be quartered at the Majestic and Ford Cottage. A room at the Town hall has been assigned to the state officers as headquarters."


(Continued next week with Part 2)



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