Olympic Marathon: A Centennial History of the Games' Most Storied Race

By Charlie Lovett | Go to book overview

10
The Games of the X Olympiad: Los Angeles, 1932

The Olympics returned to the United States in 1932, and this time the host city was Los Angeles. Despite being held in the midst of a worldwide depression (twenty teams were unable to participate because of financial difficulties) the Games were a great success. On the track, Olympic records were set in every event but one, and the competition in other arenas was superb as well. Los Angeles had built magnificent facilities for the competition. In fact, the coliseum in which the track events were held was used as the Olympic stadium again in 1984. The crowds were huge and among the most sportsmanlike ever seen at any Olympics. At one point, when the crowd believed an American runner had been cheated, their boos quickly turned to applause when the public address announcer reminded them that the foreigners were their guests.

For the first time, all the athletes stayed together in an Olympic village, an idea that was scorned by many at the start of the Games and universally acclaimed by the Closing Ceremonies. Since 1932, all Olympic host cities have housed athletes in an Olympic village.

The long-distance events were clouded somewhat by the disqualification of Paavo Nurmi three days before the Opening Ceremonies. The IAAF claimed that Nurmi had received compensation in excess of his expenses while racing in Europe, thus making him ineligible to compete as an amateur. Nurmi had won nine golds and twelve medals overall in the previous three

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