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Squaw Valley 1960 retrospective


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Will Squaw Valley be the site of the alpine events if Reno wins their Olympic Bid?

Only maybe in a ceremonial sense. I get the feeling that the Reno-Tahoe Coalition might want to concentrate as many events as they can on the Nevada side--just in terms of jurisdiction + events would be closer to the main village in Reno. Besides, any Squaw Valley facilities used in 1960 would already be too small 62 years later.

Paul, you're repeating yourself.

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By the way, where were held the Nordic ski events?

Cross country skiing and biathlon were held at McKinney Creek, which is situated (according to the official report of the Games) "approximately 12 miles south of Squaw Valley on Highway 89".

More information on Squaw Valley's venues: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venues_of_the_1960_Winter_Olympics

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Cross country skiing and biathlon were held at McKinney Creek, which is situated (according to the official report of the Games) "approximately 12 miles south of Squaw Valley on Highway 89".

More information on Squaw Valley's venues: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venues_of_the_1960_Winter_Olympics

If the games were to return to the Reno-Tahoe area, I could see some nordic events being held at Royal Gorge. I skied there a number of years ago. They have a huge trail network; if I recall, the biggest cross-country trail network in the US. It's just down the highway from Squaw. Only about 30 mins from Reno, in the Sacramento direction.

Last time I was at Squaw, it was in 2002, during the second week of the Salt Lake games. The resort was pretty alive with the games happening just a state away. Wore my Team Canada cap - got a lot of compliments. B)

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1. The first artificial Olympic ice sheet was introduced at the 1960 Olympic Winter Games. Artificial ice was necessary at Squaw Valley because typical daytime winter temperatures in the region can reach into the high 30s and low 40s, causing an ice sheet to soften or produce surface melt water.

2. The opening and closing ceremonies were always planned to be indoors and outdoors contemporaneously. Because of a large snowstorm that started the morning of the opening ceremonies, organizers tried to pressure Walt Disney to cut the program and move everything indoors. Disney refused and the opening was delayed one hour to allow Vice President Richard Nixon's motorcade to arrive from Reno. Originally, he was to arrive by helicopter but weather cancelled that plan. As the Greek flag bearer began to move, the sky suddenly cleared and snowfall held off for about one hour. At the completion of the ceremonies, heavy snowfall resumed and the men's downhill had to be delayed because of too much snow.

Blyth Arena was open on one side to satisfy the IOC rule that no ice events could be conducted under an enclosed roof. What you see in the pictures are ropes suspended from the roof on the open side to form a curtain to block sunlight that affected the ice. It was only partially successful. The bleachers swung out through the open side toward the speed skating oval. This further reinforces the view that the opening and closing ceremonies were always intended to be conducted concurrently indoors and outdoors.

Source: Snowball’s Chance – The Story of the 1960 Olympic Winter Games, Squaw Valley and Lake Tahoe, by David C. Antonucci

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1. The first artificial Olympic ice sheet was introduced at the 1960 Olympic Winter Games. Artificial ice was necessary at Squaw Valley because typical daytime winter temperatures in the region can reach into the high 30s and low 40s, causing an ice sheet to soften or produce surface melt water.

Welcome Tahoed. (Dave, is that you?)

So by "artificial," do you mean non-refrigerated? Artificial ice rink refrigeration has been around since the 2nd half of the 19th century. World Figure Skating Champs were first held in St. Petersburg in 1896 (same year as the first SOGs in Athens), and except for the wars and the tragedy of the US aircrash in Belgium in 1961,* it has been an annual event ever since. I am sure the advent of artificial ice rinks by the turn of the centruy emboldened figure skating poohbahs to plan their big annual Pow-wow with great confidence.

The venues for the ice events at both London 1908 and Antwerp 1920 were indoors, so would that not have been artifically refrigerated -- as well as all (or most) of the succeeding WOGs (Chamonix? Garmisch? St. Moritz? Oslo? Cortina?)

* BTW, dear GB'ders and US figures skating fans, on Feb 17th, there were will be a One Night only simulcast showing at selected theatres throughout the county of "RISE." It is a special film/"live" performances evening telling the story of how the US Figure Skating ranks were all but decimated in 1961 when 18 US skaters on their way to the WOrlds in Prague that year, lost their lives in a plane crash -- and how the program afterwards gave rise to the greatest number of world-class singles figure skaters. The evening is a 50th anniversary commemoration of that tragic event, and proceeds will go to USA Figure Skating. Please go and bring your family and friends!!

There will be live appearances and performances by Evan Lysacek, Scott Hamilton, Peggy Fleming, Brian Boitano, Dorothy Hamill and Michelle Kwan.

Link and trailer: http://www.rise1961.com/

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ADDENDUM and CLARIFCATION to FIRST ICE RINKS used in Olympic competition:

Just spoke to one of the curators of the Museum at Lake Placid. He claims (and as per Wikipedia) that it was Lake Placid 1932 which used the first refrigerated ice rink in a Winter Olympic setting. There were two natural outside rinks then. However, when the weather turned a little warmer and the rinks became watery and mushy, the remainder of the figure skating and the final six ice hockey events were moved inside--to the more consistently frozen surface due to refrigeration. It was in the smaller one of the two ice arenas at Lake Placid. Olympic Arena (where the historic USA-USSR duel took place in 1980) was renamed the Herb Brooks Arena in 2005. The gold medal match of 1980 took place in the bigger and newer L.P. Ice House.

[As for Squaw Valley's claim, I also checked David Antonucci's "SNOWBALL'S CHANCE (forgot that I had a copy), it is the OUTSIDE speed skating oval track that is the FIRST artificially-refrigerated s.s. track installed for Olympic purposes. The ice rink under the Blyth Arena roof is NOT the first ice rink installed for O purposes.]

So Steve's (the Lake Placid curator) claim of 'first used in a Winter Olympics proper,' buttresses my guestimation that the Figure Skating 1908 in London held indoors, was the first artificial ice rink used in an Olympic sense. Steve then stressed that after 1932 until Cortina, the ice events were again played outdoors until Squaw Valley per the IOC's crazy rules back then.

Also, it is recorded that the first EVER artificially-made ice rink in history was the Glacarium in London, opened in 1876. So it makes perfect sense that a few other artifical, indoor ice rinks followed that one, including the Prince's Skating Rink, which must have been deemed worthy for competition by both the ISU and the IOC back in 1908.

Further, the annual World Figure Skating Championships were also held in London in 1898, 1902, (Manchester - 1912), and then 1929 and 1937. (New York City even hosted five years ahead of Paris' first. NYC hosted in 1930 (a year after the Wall Street crash - can you imagine?) and Paris' first was in 1936...so in the month after the WOGs in Garmisch. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Figure_Skating_Championships

So, Tahoed, I believe one can safely conclude that London 1908 was indeed the first artificially-made ice rink used in an Olympic setting while SV 1960 had the first (outside) man-made-ice speedskating oval for Olympic use.

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