1932 - Winter Olympics III (Lake Placid, United States)

Medal Standings

  Gold Silver Bronze Total
United States 6 4 2 12
Norway 3 4 3 10
Sweden 1 2 0 3
Canada 1 1 5 7
Finland 1 1 1 3
Austria 1 1 0 2
France 1 0 0 1
Switzerland 0 1 0 1

Reverting back to its original idea of having one country host both the Summer and Winter Olympiads, the IOC selected Lake Placid, New York to stage the winter games after the summer games were awarded to Los Angeles. Lake Placid, a town in New York State with fewer than 4,000 inhabitants, was selected ahead of other nominees such as Denver and Minneapolis for the simple fact that it was the only place in the United States with a bobsled track. It would mark the first time that the Winter Games were staged outside of Europe.

The Great Depression cut down on the number of athletes who attended the games and the unseasonably warm weather during February also played havoc with some of the events. However, the proximity of the location enabled Canada to send a record 53 athletes and the team did not disappoint, coming away with 13 top six performances. Only the United States and Norway would capture more medals than Canada.

Canadian Medal Winners

  Medal Event
Winnipeg Hockey Club Gold Ice Hockey
Alexander Hurd Silver 1500m Speed Skating
Montgomery Wilson Bronze Figure Skating
Frank Stack Bronze 10,000m Speed Skating
William F. Logan Bronze 1500m Speed Skating
5,000m Speed Skating
Alexander Hurd Bronze 500m Speed Skating

Sonja Henie defended her figure skating title, as did the French pair of Andree and Pierre Brunet. However Gillis Grafstrom was thwarted in his attempt at winning a fourth gold medal, placing second behind Austrian Karl Schafer. Billy Fiske of the United States won a second gold medal in the four-man bobsleigh. One member of Fiske's team was Eddie Eagan, who had won the light-heavyweight boxing championship at the 1920 Antwerp Olympics. Eagan remains the only person in Olympic history to earn gold medals in both Summer and Winter sports.

The 1932 marked the first time a podium ceremony was used to present medals to the top three athletes in their respective competition.

Three Canadian speed skaters - Alex Hurd, William Logan and Frank Stack - won a total of five medals, one silver and four bronze. Hurd and Logan would go on to become double Olympic medalists. Canadian champion Montgomery Wilson captured bronze in men's figure skating.

Despite moving indoors to be played in a covered arena, Canada continued their strong play in the hockey competition - although it was not the cakewalk of previous years. The Winnipeg Hockey Club were selected to defend Canada's Olympic title after winning the Allen Cup tournament. The Depression meant only four nations could send teams to compete - Canada, United States, Germany and Poland. Each team played the others twice and Canada needed overtime to defeat the United States 2-1 in its opening match. That was the last time the American's would lose an Olympic hockey game on home ice until 2004. The Canadians would go on to defeat Germany 4-1 and 5-0 before shuting out Poland 9-0 and 10-0 to set up a gold medal showdown against the Americans, who needed to win in order to force another match for the gold. Canada, having won five straight games, needed only a tie to clinch the gold medal.

The United States were leading 2-1 with time winding down in the third when Canada's Romeo Rivers managed to bounce a shot past the American goalie with six minutes left in the game. Three overtime periods failed to decide the contest and officials finally called the game, giving Canada its fourth straigth gold medal.

In an article for the Winnipeg Free Press, W.G. Allen described the contest as follows:

"Everybody was about ready to concede an extra game was necessary to decide the series with the U.S. Leading 2-1 and less than a minute to play, but our boys threw everything they had into that last desperate effort. Rubber was poured at Farrel until a bullet-like shot from Romeo Rivers finally caused great jubilation in the Canadian camp, and gloom among the Uncle Samuels.

Under the Olympic rules 30 minutes must be played in overtime before a draw decision can be reached, and as everybody across the continent knows by this time, that is what happened. The fast and furious pace in the regular playing time took its toll of the players, particularly on the Canadians' side, who were heavily outweighed by their opponents. It was a bruising, battering 30 minutes, in which every last ounce of strength was exerted by our boys in defending their citadel, as time slipped by the Americans scenting defeat on the series recklessly attacked. But the Canadians were not always on the defence. Excellent goal keeping and the fact that the players were too tired to shoot properly when in position, prevented them from settling the issue by a winning goal.

How they ever packed so many people into the arena is difficult to surmise. It seats 2300, and ordinarily there is 700 standing room, but they were hanging on the rafters, and every inch of space in the aisles was occupied."


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