The 1960 Winter Olympics, officially known as the VIII Olympic Winter Games, were a winter multi-sport event which was celebrated between February 18 and February 28, 1960 in Squaw Valley, California, United States (located near the Lake Tahoe basin). Squaw Valley won the bid in 1955. It was the first return of the Olympic Games to North America in 28 years.
Alexander Cushing, the creator of the resort was initially inspired to submit Squaw Valley when he noticed a newspaper article mentioning Reno, Nevada and Anchorage, Alaska had expressed interest in the Games. Squaw Valley was a town with no mayor, and claimed one ski resort with only one chairlift, two rope tows, and a fifty-room lodge. In fact, Cushing was the only inhabitant and homeowner in the whole area. To this day, many wonder how he convinced the International Olympic Committee to select the little known resort. Nevertheless, the bid captured the imagination of the International Olympic Committee, although IOC head Avery Brundage stated "the USOC obviously has taken leave of their senses." Cushing campaigned vigorously to win the Games and networked to gain many allies, particularly from South American Olympic Committees, who normally cared little for the Winter Games. Stressing simplicity and "the World's Games" (as opposed to dominant Europe), the tiny resort beat out previous hosts St. Moritz, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, and favorite Innsbruck, Austria, which would go on to host the 1964 Winter Olympics.
The Games were awarded in June 16, 1955, at the 50th IOC Session in Paris, France, to "shock and disbelief" over Innsbruck, and a four and a half year rush to construct roads, hotels, restaurants, and bridges, as well as the ice arena, the speed skating track, ski lifts, and ski jumping hill began. Criticism of the high altitude, remote location, and lack of facilities were shown to be only partly justified when the contests were over. Olympic course designer Willy Schaeffler walked the mountain for four days before appearing in declaring the site worthy. His valuable credits (the 1936 Games and the 1952 World Championships in Aspen) led him to tirelessly design the courses for the Games. In fact, the alpine and cross-country courses were so difficult that they garnered quite a bit of controversy.
The chart's information below comes from the International Olympic Committee Vote History web page.
|1960 Winter Olympics Bidding Results|
|City||NOC Name||Round 1||Round 2|
|Squaw Valley, California||United States||30||32|
30 nations competed in 15 alpine and ski jumping events, 8 speed skiing contests, 3 figure skating competitions and 28 hockey matches.
Prior to the Games, Squaw Valley had a typical 20feet of snowpack. but a massive rain washed most of it away, including a temporary parking lot which was built on the frozen flood plain of a nearby stream. The U.S. military was called in to repair the damage to the packed-snow and ice lot before the Games began. Fortunately, 12feet of snow fell before the Games started. For the first time, an Olympic Village was built to house all the athletes. It would house up to 750 participants. Also prominent was the Tower of Nations, now located at the entrance of the valley, which stands 79feet tall and 29feet wide. It is crowned with the five Olympic rings, each eight feet in diameter, and displays the crests of all the competing nations. There were also 30 flagpoles for the flags of the participating nations. Each flagpole came with a plaque signed by Walt Disney http://jimhillmedia.com/blogs/wade_sampson/archive/2004/06/14/1207.aspx. After the Games the flagpoles ended up, among others, at the following places:
Another first for the Games was Disney artist John Hench's Olympic torch design, upon which all further torches would be based. The Olympic flame was lit in the cottage of Sondre Norheim in Morgedal, Norway, and was brought to Los Angeles by plane from Oslo. The proverbial torch is metaphorically still burning in Squaw Valley.
Walt Disney was the Head of Pageantry for the Games. He organized 5,000 participants, including 1285 instruments and 2,645 voices from nearby schools in California and Nevada. 2,000 doves were also released in the pagentry. CBS paid $50,000 for the right to broadcast the Games in the United States.  Also, officials unsure if a skier had missed a gate in the men's slalom, asked CBS if they could review a videotape of the race. This inspired CBS to invent "instant replay."
There were 15 alpine and ski jumping events, eight speed skiing events, and three figure skating events. However, there was no bobsleigh run, as the organizing committee found it too expensive and only nine nations would take part, so the sport was not contested at these Games (The bobsleigh world championships in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy would be held later that same year to replace the Olympic competition.). Luge would debut as an Olympic sport in 1964.
Also for the first time, artificial refrigeration was installed for speed skating events.
A total of 30 nations sent athletes to Squaw Valley. South Africa competed at the Winter Games for the first time. (It was also its last for many years, as Apartheid policies prevented further participation until 1994.) Athletes from West Germany (FRG) and East Germany (GDR) competed together as the United Team of Germany from 1956 to 1964.
See main article: 1960 Winter Olympics medal count. These are the top ten nations that won medals at these Games: