I think ice skating at Rockefeller during the holidays looks more professional than this. But hey it was Lake Placid, NY, USA in 1932 and it was only the third Winter Olympics and what they were doing was probably groundbreaking stuff. There were only 4 sports! 14 events! 17 countries! 252 athletes! It's like going up to the mountains with your friends.

Kottke found the footage which is from the Internet Archive and you need to watch it, the beginning of the video with the guy on stilts ice skating gets me every time. The four sports were Bobsledding, Ice hockey, Skating (figure skating and speed skating) and Nordic skiing (cross country, Nordic combined and ski jumping). In 2014, there are 98 events in 15 sports with 88 countries represented and more than 2,800 athletes competing.

A fun fact about the 1932 Winter Olympics though: New York governor Franklin D. Roosevelt opened the games.


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