The 1932 California Olympics ,being in the midst of the Depression,
had the lowest participation since 1906.
Whereas 46 countries participated at the Amsterdam Games,
only 37 participated in California.
The number of athletes participating also dropped from 3,014 to 1,408.
Soccer(Football) had to be dropped from the program and only three teams were entered for hockey.
Nevertheless, the 1932 Olympics was a success competitively and financially.
Thirty-three Olympic records and 16 world records were set.
1.25 million spectators attended and the Games made a profit of over $1 million
A few traditions were introduced.
A victory stand – the three-level podium – was constructed
and the custom of the national anthem of the gold medal winner’s
country being played during the medal ceremony was introduced.
An Olympic village was again constructed (like in the
1906 & 1928 games) but this only accomodated the male athletes while the women were
accomodated in hotels – a more expensive exercise.
Also, automatic timing and the photo-finish
camera were introduced.
The Games were not without controversy.
The IOC had ruled that Paavo Nurmi (of Finland) was ineligible to participate as
he had received excessive financial support towards the cost of
his travel to sports meets. Nurmi had set 22 world records and
had won 9 olympic golds and 3 silver medals and this decision
was a sad end to an otherwise brilliant career in sport.
US athlete, Eddie Tolan won both the 100m and 200m sprints.
The US 400m relay team set a world record, beating the Germans by almost a second.
A highlight was the victory of Italy’s Luigi Beccali in the 1500m.
Men’s swimming was dominated by the Japanese, who won four of the five races.
Women’s swimming was dominated by the U.S. They also won four of the five events.
Clarence ‘Buster’ Crabbe, who later gained fame as Hollywood’s Buck Rogers,
was the only male American champion.