The 1932 Olympic Winter Games

(Part II)

(Photos via 1932 Olympic Digest)

So, let us “Jump Right In,” as the subhead read over a story in the Boston Globe:

“Lake Placid, its bid brochure proclaimed, was up where the mountains meet the sky and the deep, white snows of winter say to young and old, ‘Come up and play!’

“When the village won the nod ahead of Oslo, Montreal and six other U.S. bidders, including the outraged Californians, who wanted to pair either Lake Tahoe or Yosemite Valley with summer host, Los Angeles, Dewey was welcomed back as a hero.”

The names of all bidders were not included in the Globe story, but in addition to Lake Tahoe and Yosemite Valley, Oslo and Montreal, there were bids by Bear Mountain, Denver, Minneapolis and Duluth. The bid was announced on April 10, 1929 at the IOC headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland. (And could I ever imagine that I would be standing in the United States Olympic Committee Headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland in January 1973 with the Lake Placid Olympic Games bid team, as an Enterprise reporter? But there I was.)

“Even after the autumn’s stock market crash and the wrecked economy that followed, Lake Placid went ahead on faith, with a big boost from the state, and built an indoor arena, an outdoor ice stadium, a ski jump and a bobsled run.

“Then the townspeople crossed their fingers and hoped that the weather would hold, but it went from snow to rain to thaw to freeze to snow in a fortnight, [14 days] that the spectators would come even on a $1 million budget by selling tickets for $3 and $1, with a full day for $8 and the entire program for between $15 and $45.

“Up on the bobsled run on Mt. Van Hoevenberg, the ‘neck breaking plaything’ with its 25 curves that sent nine foreigners to the hospital before the Games began, the spooked Europeans demanded that that snow be laid atop the ice on the straight-aways and that a doctor and ambulance be on hand at all times.

“Nonsense, scoffed the organizers, who pointed out that Eleanor Roosevelt, wearing a leather helmet, (her husband, New York Gov. Franklin D. Roosevelt, opened the Game) had made it down safely.

“The ice vs. snow debate soon became moot when warm weather hit and there wasn’t enough of either. The bob run turned into a mountain stream. The ski jump outrun became a slush path, and 150 workers had to scour the woods for enough snow to run the 50-kilometer cross-country race.”

After that little glimpse behind the scenes of the 1932 Olympic Games, let us take a peek at another story.

Placid defeats Tupper 11 to 10

(Could this really be a basketball game?)

“Adding another victory to their score and leading the Adirondack League by virtue of one game ahead of schedule, the Lake Placid High School five managed to get the deciding point in the 11-10 game with Tupper Lake High on the foreign court.

“Although Placid led the fray until the last quarter, the margin at no time was so definite that they could afford false plays. Both teams were handicapped by the slippery floor of the Oval Wood Dish company’s court which had been recently waxed for dancing, although the Tupper five had the advantage of some practice in starting and stopping on the ice-like surface.

“Leading 3-2 at the end of the first quarter, then 5-4 at the half, with three minutes left in the game Tupper made a field goal from the middle of the court giving Tupper the lead 10-9. Then Placid made a basket from the side switching the lead back to Placid.

“The Placid center was then called for a foul, but Tupper missed the penalty shot which would have tied the game.

“Lake Placid lineup: Prunier, D’Avignon, Kennedy, Pelkey, H. Valenze, O’Rourke and Bickford.

“Tupper Lake lineup: Delair, Donoghue, Guiney, Beauchamp, Brown, Whitman and Touhey.”

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This is part two of a two-part series.


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