1948 Winter Olympics

Facts

Competition type Olympic Games
Host city Sankt Moritz, Switzerland (Venues)
Opening ceremony 30 January
Closing ceremony 8 February
Competition dates 30 January – 8 February
Participants 667 from 28 countries
Medal events 22 in 9 disciplines
Other events 2 in 2 disciplines

Overview

The world returned to Winter Olympia after an enforced absence of 12 years. St. Moritz was chosen because all of the sites that they had used in 1928 were still available and the Swiss resort could organize the Games much quicker than any other city, with the possible exception of Germany’s 1936 site, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, which was not even considered. In fact, Germany and its Axis partner, Japan, were not invited to the Olympic Games in 1948 in either St. Moritz or London.

Another small political protest occurred when Lebanon, the only Arab state entered, protested the entry of a Palestine team, which actually represented the nascent Jewish state, was composed of an all-Jewish team, and planned on carrying a Zionist flag. Fortunately, the Palestine team withdrew because the team did not have adequate time to prepare.

St. Moritz hurriedly put together excellent arrangements for the Games that were again disturbed, though less severely, by the Föhn. This time ice hockey matches (held outdoors) and the 10,000 metres speed skating had to be delayed but no events were cancelled this time, as they had been in 1928.

Alpine skiing made its true Olympic début. A combined event had been held in 1936 but this time there were three events for both men and women. Two athletes won a second “St. Moritz” Olympic medal, as “Bibi” Torriani played on the Swiss ice hockey team to match his bronze from 1928; and Jack Heaton (USA) also repeated his silver medal from the skeleton race in 1928 on the famed Cresta Run. The skeleton race, a form of tobogganing unique to the St. Moritz resort, was held at the Olympics for only the second time, and some thought, last time. But skeleton was restored to the Olympic Program and returned to the Olympics in 2002 at Salt Lake City.

The major dispute of the 1948 Winter Olympics occurred in ice hockey. The Americans sent over two teams, one representing the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) and one representing the American Hockey Association of the United States (AHAUS). The AHAUS team was affiliated with the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) but not the USOC. The IIHF accepted the AHAUS entry over the protests of the IOC. USOC President Avery Brundage declared that if the AHAUS team was approved, the entire United States’ team would withdraw. The IOC then ruled that neither team could compete, but was overruled by the Swiss Organizing Committee, which accepted the AHAUS entry. The AHAUS team played in the tournament and finished fourth, but was then disqualified by the IOC and their finish declared void. The other United States’ athletes did not withdraw, as Brundage had promised. Amazingly, even though only the AHAUS players competed in the Olympic contests, the USOC today does not carry their names on their database of Olympians but does carry the names of the USOC team that did not play one minute in the Olympics.

Bid process

St. Moritz (Switzerland) was proposed as the host for the 1948 Olympic Winter Games in the postal vote which was mailed for selection of the 1948 Olympic Games host city. St. Moritz was confirmed by acclamation at the 40th IOC Session in Lausanne on 6 September 1946. Lake Placid, New York (United States) had also shown interest in hosting these Games.

Ceremonies

Officially opened by Enrico Celio (President)
Taker of the Athlete's Oath Bibi Torriani
Flagbearers Full list

Medal Disciplines

Alpine Skiing Figure Skating Skeleton
Bobsleigh Ice Hockey Ski Jumping
Cross Country Skiing Nordic Combined Speed Skating

Other Disciplines

Military Ski Patrol Winter Pentathlon

Medal table

NOC Gold Silver Bronze Total
Norway NOR 4 3 3 10
Sweden SWE 4 3 3 10
Switzerland SUI 3 4 3 10
United States USA 3 4 2 9
France FRA 2 1 2 5
Canada CAN 2 0 1 3
Austria AUT 1 3 4 8
Finland FIN 1 3 2 6
Belgium BEL 1 1 0 2
Italy ITA 1 0 0 1
Czechoslovakia TCH 0 1 0 1
Hungary HUN 0 1 0 1
Great Britain GBR 0 0 2 2

Most successful competitors

Athlete Nat Gold Silver Bronze Total
Henri Oreiller FRA 2 0 1 3
Martin Lundström SWE 2 0 0 2
Trude Jochum-Beiser AUT 1 1 0 2
Gretchen Fraser USA 1 1 0 2
Åke Seyffarth SWE 1 1 0 2
Nils Östensson SWE 1 1 0 2
Gunnar Eriksson SWE 1 0 1 2
Micheline Lannoy BEL 1 0 0 1
Hedy Schlunegger SUI 1 0 0 1
Barbara Ann Scott CAN 1 0 0 1
Pierre Baugniet BEL 1 0 0 1
Nino Bibbia ITA 1 0 0 1
Dick Button USA 1 0 0 1
Bill D'Amico USA 1 0 0 1
Murray Dowey CAN 1 0 0 1
Frank Dunster CAN 1 0 0 1
Felix Endrich SUI 1 0 0 1
Sverre Farstad NOR 1 0 0 1
Orval Gravelle CAN 1 0 0 1
Patsy Guzzo CAN 1 0 0 1
Wally Halder CAN 1 0 0 1
Heikki Hasu FIN 1 0 0 1
Finn Helgesen NOR 1 0 0 1
Ted Hibberd CAN 1 0 0 1
Petter Hugsted NOR 1 0 0 1
Nils Karlsson SWE 1 0 0 1
André Laperrière CAN 1 0 0 1
Louis Lecompte CAN 1 0 0 1
Reidar Liaklev NOR 1 0 0 1
George Mara CAN 1 0 0 1
Pat Martin USA 1 0 0 1
Edy Reinalter SUI 1 0 0 1
Ab Renaud CAN 1 0 0 1
Ed Rimkus USA 1 0 0 1
Reg Schroeter CAN 1 0 0 1
Irving Taylor CAN 1 0 0 1
Frank Tyler USA 1 0 0 1
Nils Täpp SWE 1 0 0 1
Fritz Waller SUI 1 0 0 1

All medalists at these Games