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To promote the 1932 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, women spell out O-L-Y-M-P-I-C-S on the beach not far from the Waverly Club, right, in Santa Monica. | Courtesy of the Los Angeles Public Library
To promote the 1932 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, women spell out O-L-Y-M-P-I-C-S on the beach not far from the Waverly Club, right, in Santa Monica. | Courtesy of the Los Angeles Public Library
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This Is What The 1932 LA Olympics Looked Like

Picture of Marnie Sehayek
Updated: 23 August 2016
As the Olympics roll on in Rio, we take a look back in time to a summer of yore – 1932, when Los Angeles first hosted the Olympics. The games took place during the height of the Depression era, so only about a third of the athletes were able to afford to attend, making it a notably smaller series. Los Angeles is in contention to host the Olympic Games in 2024. Should it be chosen, it will be the third time the city has hosted the games (LA also hosted in 1984) since their inception in 1896.

Take a look back in time to another Los Angeles in these historic photographs courtesy of the Los Angeles Public Library archives.


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A group of women hold up signs on Santa Monica beach to promote the impending games.

 

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A woman, joined by musicians, hangs a sign provided by the Automobile Club of Southern California, identifying the location of the Olympic marathon course nearby. The marathon started and ended at the Olympic Stadium (the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum).

 

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The streets of LA were decorated with Olympic flags and banners. Spring Street, as seen looking north from 5th Street, is shown here in Olympic regalia.

 

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Takeshi Nishi of Japan and his horse Uranus competing in the individual jumping event during the 1932 Olympic Games, held at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

 

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Attendees fill the stands to watch the competitions.

 

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Doris de Jong of the Netherlands competes against Erwin Casmir of Germany during one of the fencing competitions held at the 160th Regiment State Armory during the 1932 Olympic Games. Photograph dated August 2, 1932.

 

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‘Dainty’ Dorothy Poynton wins the platform diving event. The Fairfax High grad repeated the feat four years later at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

 

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Charles Lambert Redd, also known as Lambert Redd, wins the Silver Medal for the Broad Jump for a distance of 7.60 on August 2, 1932.

 

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Spectators attentively watch as four rowing teams with coxswains compete in the eight-oar rowing event at the Long Beach Marine Stadium during the 1932 Olympic Games. Locals will recognize the oil derricks in the background.

 

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Two field hockey players run for the ball. Man on the right is playing for India, and the man on the left is playing for Japan. Photograph dated August 9, 1932.

 

Though the times may change, one thing is always for certain in L.A.– traffic.

Though the times may change, one thing is always for certain in LA – traffic.

 

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US Women’s 4 x 100 Meter Relay Team after winning Gold Medals for their time of 4:38 on August 12, 1932. Left to right, Josephine McKim, Helen Johns, Eleanor Garatti Saville, and Helene Madison.

 

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Spectators fill Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to watch the closing ceremonies of the 1932 Olympic Games, held on August 14.

If these photos whet your appetite, jump in fully and watch the Opening Ceremony from 1932: