Athletics at the 1932 Summer Olympics

The 1932 Olympic track & field competition took place in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. It had been built as a memorial to World War I veterans and opened in 1923, with the largest seating capacity of any Olympic Stadium to that date, with space for over 100,000 spectators. The 1932 Olympics were hampered by the long and difficult travel for many countries to get their teams to the West Coast of the United States, and coupled with the severe world-wide economic depression, caused attendance to be down somewhat from the last two Olympics. Average crowds for track & field still topped 60,000 people, with one day having 86,443 spectators. The heroine of the athletics competition was Babe Didrikson, who won the 80 metre hurdles and javelin throw, and placed second in the high jump. She would later become a professional golfer and for a time was the top female golfer in the world. She is often considered the greatest all-around female athlete of all time. Women competed in six events in 1932, up one from Amsterdam, with the 80 metre hurdles and javelin throw added, but the 800 metres was off the program. On the men’s side, Eddie Tolan won both sprint races, defeating his arch-rival Ralph Metcalfe.

Events

Event Status Date Participants NOCs
100 metres, Men Olympic 31 July – 1 August 1932 33 17
200 metres, Men Olympic 2 – 3 August 1932 25 13
400 metres, Men Olympic 4 – 5 August 1932 27 15
800 metres, Men Olympic 1 – 2 August 1932 21 11
1,500 metres, Men Olympic 3 – 4 August 1932 24 14
5,000 metres, Men Olympic 2 – 5 August 1932 18 11
10,000 metres, Men Olympic 31 July 1932 16 11
Marathon, Men Olympic 7 August 1932 28 14
110 metres Hurdles, Men Olympic 2 – 3 August 1932 17 10
400 metres Hurdles, Men Olympic 31 July – 1 August 1932 18 13
3,000 metres Steeplechase, Men Olympic 1 – 6 August 1932 15 8
4 x 100 metres Relay, Men Olympic 6 – 7 August 1932 32 8
4 x 400 metres Relay, Men Olympic 6 – 7 August 1932 28 7
50 kilometer Walk, Men Olympic 3 August 1932 15 10
High Jump, Men Olympic 31 July 1932 14 10
Pole Vault, Men Olympic 3 August 1932 8 4
Long Jump, Men Olympic 2 August 1932 12 9
Triple Jump, Men Olympic 4 August 1932 16 12
Shot Put, Men Olympic 31 July 1932 15 10
Discus Throw, Men Olympic 3 August 1932 18 11
Hammer Throw, Men Olympic 1 August 1932 14 9
Javelin Throw, Men Olympic 4 August 1932 13 7
Decathlon, Men Olympic 5 – 6 August 1932 15 10
100 metres, Women Olympic 1 – 2 August 1932 20 10
80 metres Hurdles, Women Olympic 3 – 4 August 1932 9 6
4 x 100 metres Relay, Women Olympic 7 August 1932 24 6
High Jump, Women Olympic 7 August 1932 10 6
Discus Throw, Women Olympic 2 August 1932 9 4
Javelin Throw, Women Olympic 31 July 1932 8 4
386 (332/54) 34 (34/11)

Medals

Event Gold Silver Bronze
100 metres, Men Eddie TolanUSA Ralph MetcalfeUSA Arthur JonathGER
200 metres, Men Eddie TolanUSA George SimpsonUSA Ralph MetcalfeUSA
400 metres, Men Bill CarrUSA Ben EastmanUSA Alex WilsonCAN
800 metres, Men Tommy HampsonGBR Alex WilsonCAN Phil EdwardsCAN
1,500 metres, Men Luigi BeccaliITA Jerry CornesGBR Phil EdwardsCAN
5,000 metres, Men Lauri LehtinenFIN Ralph HillUSA Lasse VirtanenFIN
10,000 metres, Men Janusz KusocińskiPOL Volmari Iso-HolloFIN Lasse VirtanenFIN
Marathon, Men Juan Carlos ZabalaARG Sam FerrisGBR Armas ToivonenFIN
110 metres Hurdles, Men George SalingUSA Percy BeardUSA Don FinlayGBR
400 metres Hurdles, Men Bob TisdallIRL Glenn HardinUSA Morgan TaylorUSA
3,000 metres Steeplechase, Men Volmari Iso-HolloFIN Tom EvensonGBR Joe McCluskeyUSA
4 × 100 metres Relay, Men United StatesUSA GermanyGER ItalyITA
4 × 400 metres Relay, Men United StatesUSA Great BritainGBR CanadaCAN
50 kilometres Walk, Men Tommy GreenGBR Jānis DāliņšLAT Ugo FrigerioITA
High Jump, Men Duncan McNaughtonCAN Bob Van OsdelUSA Simeon ToribioPHI
Pole Vault, Men Bill MillerUSA Shuhei NishidaJPN George JeffersonUSA
Long Jump, Men Ed GordonUSA Lambert ReddUSA Chuhei NanbuJPN
Triple Jump, Men Chuhei NanbuJPN Eric SvenssonSWE Kenkichi OshimaJPN
Shot Put, Men Leo SextonUSA Harlow RothertUSA František DoudaTCH
Discus Throw, Men John AndersonUSA Henri LaBordeUSA Paul WinterFRA
Hammer Throw, Men Pat O'CallaghanIRL Ville PörhöläFIN Pete ZarembaUSA
Javelin Throw, Men Matti JärvinenFIN Matti SippalaFIN Eino PenttiläFIN
Decathlon, Men Jim BauschUSA Akilles JärvinenFIN Wolrad EberleGER
100 metres, Women Stanisława WalasiewiczPOL Hilda StrikeCAN Billie von BremenUSA
80 metres Hurdles, Women Babe DidriksonUSA Evelyne HallUSA Marjorie ClarkRSA
4 × 100 metres Relay, Women United StatesUSA CanadaCAN Great BritainGBR
High Jump, Women Jean ShileyUSA Babe DidriksonUSA Eva DawesCAN
Discus Throw, Women Lillian CopelandUSA Ruth OsburnUSA Jadwiga WajsPOL
Javelin Throw, Women Babe DidriksonUSA Ellen BraumüllerGER Tilly FleischerGER

Medal table

NOC Gold Silver Bronze Total
United States USA 16 13 6 35
Finland FIN 3 4 4 11
Great Britain GBR 2 4 2 8
Poland POL 2 0 1 3
Ireland IRL 2 0 0 2
Canada CAN 1 3 5 9
Japan JPN 1 1 2 4
Italy ITA 1 0 2 3
Argentina ARG 1 0 0 1
Germany GER 0 2 3 5
Latvia LAT 0 1 0 1
Sweden SWE 0 1 0 1
Czechoslovakia TCH 0 0 1 1
France FRA 0 0 1 1
Philippines PHI 0 0 1 1
South Africa RSA 0 0 1 1