The third Winter Olympics were held in the small town of Lake Placid, New York State (4,000 people).
252 (231 men, 21 women) competitors from 17 nations participated in 4 sports and 14 events over a fortnight. The small competition was due to the distance from Europe. The Olympics drew 78,000 spectators. USA topped the gold medal tally for the first time with 6 – Norway 2nd with 3, Sweden 3rd with 1, Canada 4th with 1 also and Finland 5th with 1 gold.
A champion of note was John “Jack” Shea, who won two speed skating gold medals. His son, Jim, would compete in cross-country skiing at the Innsbruck 1964 Winter Olympics. His grandson, also named Jim Shea, won the gold medal in skeleton at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, making the Shea clan the first three-generational Olympic family. Sadly, Jack died a month before Jim’s success, making the family’s story one of the most moving of recent Olympics.
Interesting Point: Eddie Eagan, a member of the gold medal American four-man bobsleigh team also won gold in the light-heavyweight boxing event at the Antwerp 1920 Olympics. Eagan remains the only person in Olympic history to win gold medals at both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games.
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