Blyth Arena, site of the opening and closing ceremonies as well as the figure skating and ice hockey competitions, was built with a 22 in (56 cm) gap in the roof, which would slide closed as the cables supporting the roof contracted during cold weather. - Mounted to commemorative card signed by Walt Disney stating: "Presented in appreciation of your personal assistance in the ceremony and pageantry of the VIII Olympic Winter Games Squaw Valley, California February 18 thru 28, 1960; Walt Disney Chairman, Pageantry Committee" In 1960 the organizers of the Olympics asked Walt Disney to provide the entertainment for the event. Walt's long time friend Art Linkletter was the vice president in charge of entertainment for the nighttime shows for the athletes. Athletes from West Germany (FRG) and East Germany (GDR) competed together as the United Team of Germany from 1956 to 1964. So he’s blowing away when someone darkens the doorway, peeking in to see what’s going on. [69] One end of the stadium could be opened and closed, depending on the event. [37][38], Biathlon made its Olympic debut in 1960. The sky had been stormy for quite a while and threatened to dampen or delay the opening. We encourage you to submit news, updates and feedback from your Disney travels. Winter Olympics in California, Warren Miller, Interstate 80. Константин Лапин Recommended for you. Also, if the snow continued the only alternative would be an indoor ceremony that would be less spectacular, and make it so that not all the Prior to the Games, concerns persisted that the courses would not meet international standards. Squaw Valley Organizing Committee (1960), p. 19. The Opening Ceremonies have been labelled “The Miracle of Squaw Valley.” They were held outside the bleachers of the Blyth Arena with nearly 6,500 spectators in attendance (because of the weather, many more were unable to get there) and lasted one hour on February 18, 1960. Walt Disney "Chairman of the Pageantry" Autographed Olympic Credentials. Squaw Valley 1960 hosted athletes from 30 nations, competing in four sports and 27 events. Walt Disney Cartoon Classics was a series of cartoon compilations from Disney. Jahrhunderts. Over the loudspeaker, Walt told everyone to take their positions. [19] The US supported Taiwan while the Soviet Union stood behind China. Walt's son-in-law Ron Miller was made the pageantry coordinator and one of his responsibilities was handling the traveling arrangements of the performers during the chaotic weather, basically getting them from Reno to the event. Linkletter emceed all the shows. An audience of 1,000 … [70] An expansion of the resort's village, currently in the planning stages, would see two of these buildings demolished. It was also the first Winter Games to be nationally televised (on CBS who had paid $50,000 for the broadcast rights) and the first to use “instant replay.”. All the Northern California pigeons returned safely home but some of the Southern California pigeons remained in Squaw Valley. In order to bedazzle and impress the spectators, Walt Disney was head of the committee that organized the opening day ceremonies. [33][34] They were however upset by Sweden in the 3×5 kilometer relay. † The numeral indicates the number of event finals for each sport held that day. [48] There were three events: men's and women's singles and the pairs competition. Structurally, every Squaw Valley statue consisted of a metal frame base almost seven feet high. Description Walt Disney Signed Letter to Olympic Winter Games Organizing Committee (1960). On April 4, 1956, the right to host the 1960 Winter Olympics was officially awarded to Squaw Valley. The Greek flag honored Greece as the originators of the Olympic Games, the United States flag represented the host nation and the Austrian flag was raised because Innsbruck, Austria had been selected to host the 1964 Winter Games. Feb 18, 2020 - The 1960 Winter Olympics marked the first time technology began to influence the bi-annual games. The International Olympic Committee had awarded the games to the struggling ski resort based on the promise that a dynamic new athletic venue would spring from the blank canvas and that the result would be an Olympic village like none that had ever existed. Responsible for the opening and closing ceremony was Walt Disney. It was the first time in 28 years that the Olympic Games had been held in North America. [12][28] There were flaws in the design and miscalculations in the load the roof could bear, and during a particularly heavy snowfall in 1983, a portion of the roof collapsed and the building was subsequently demolished. From 30 nations around the world, more than 700 athletes gathered to compete in various winter sports. Walt felt comfortable trusting the people he had worked with at Disneyland to handle this important undertaking. Linkletter, who had previously hosted the opening of Disneyland in 1955, told interviewer Larry King: "I first got to know Walt very well when he was asked by the president of the Olympic Society to provide entertainment for the athletes and the officials at the Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley. IOC president Avery Brundage declared the Games closed, at which point the Olympic flame was extinguished. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter for all the latest updates. Walker went on to become chairman of the Disney Company and later served on the Executive Committee of the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee, and was instrumental in the Disney Studio designing the official mascot (Sam the Eagle created by Bob Moore) for the 1984 Olympic Games. Organizers felt the lack of possible entrants and the high cost of building the run were sufficient deterrents to leave the bobsled events off the 1960 Olympic program. Yet another is at the first tee of the La Quinta Country Club in La Quinta, California. The Games were held from February 18 to 28. The Games concluded with the release of several thousand balloons. This Winter Olympics set itself apart from its predecessors from events on and off the field of battle. At 15:46.6 he was the first skater ever to break the 16-minute barrier, and eclipsed the previous world record by 46 seconds. The overall impression that Americans and visitors alike took home was that the 1960 Winter Olympics had been the most efficient and enjoyable ever.”, Disney set new pageantry standards for future Olympic games. His involvement in the VIII Olympic Winter Games in Squaw Valley, California was destined to happen. Image sourced from The 1960 Winter Olympics, courtesy of Bill Briner. Grishin said that “watching the Soviet flag wave in the blue American sky” was the proudest moment of his life. The area had no mayor, just one chair lift, two tow ropes and a 50-room lodge. [70], Athletes from 30 nations competed at the 1960 Games. In addition, Walt was an initial stockholder of the Sugar Bowl Resort near Donner Pass, roughly 46 miles west of Reno, Nevada, built in 1939. At the nexus of this activity came the VIII Olympic Winter Games of 1960, where Walt and his creative team expanded the bounds of their activities while forever changing the way the Olympics were presented. It was a demonstration sport at the 1928, 1936, and 1948 Winter Olympics, though the competition was only open to members of the armed forces. The Winter Olympics kicked off with the opening ceremonies last night, including fireworks, designer costumes and K-pop. [59], The Games were brought to a close on February 28 in Blyth Memorial Arena in front of 20,000 people. Squaw Valley Organizing Committee (1960), p. 20. Thirty gleaming aluminum flagpoles were used around the Tower of Nations area for the flags of the competing nations. ', “So I went up and lived with him and his family, brought some of my family. Once it was announced in spring 1955 that Squaw Valley was to be the location, there was a rush to construct roads, hotels, restaurants, and bridges, as well as the ice arena, the speed-skating track, ski lifts, and the ski-jumping hill. The official Disney site is available at www.disney.com. snow … Notify me of new posts by email. Hench also added black tape to the top part of the shaft that enabled runners to better pass off and grip the torch. Much of his life had been spent in animation and movie making. New timing equipment provided by Longines was installed that used a quartz clock to measure to the hundredths of a second. He would add two golds and a bronze in 1964 to finish his Olympic career with nine medals, which made him the most decorated Winter Olympian. An interesting letter from Walt Disney to the Screen Director's Guild Executive Secretary, from when Walt was involved with the Squaw Valley/Lake Tahoe Winter Olympics games, raising funds for … The festivities began with a sustained drum roll as the flags of each participating nation were raised on specially designed flag poles. ). Squaw Valley Organizing Committee (1960), p. 53. 54–59. Walt Disney planning the 1960 Winter Olymipcs’ opening ceremonies. Olympic officials complained about the costs of some of Walt's elaborate plans, but Walt silenced those complaints when he declared, "Either we're going to do it the right way or Disney will pull out. After a poll was taken indicating that only nine countries would send a bobsled team, the organizers determined that bobsled would be removed from the Olympic program. For years, Walt Disney was solely interested in animation and movie making. American figure skater Carol Heiss won the Olympic gold medal during the 1960 Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley, USA. An intricate weaving of wire mesh and straps put "body" into the base. He sent a letter to Disney stating “Every phase of the Squaw Valley Games was handled magnificently. As we prepare for the new Winter Games, here is a look back with five facts about Walt Disney and the Olympics… 27–28. [35][36] Finnish skier Veikko Hakulinen added a gold, silver and bronze to the two golds and two silvers he had won in 1952 and 1956. Having official sponsors was another “first” introduced at this event. 13 Jun 2004 4:00 PM Comments 11; On Thursday, February 18, 1960, the greatest winter athletes in the world gathered in Squaw Valley, California. Description Walt Disney Signed Letter to Olympic Winter Games Organizing Committee (1960). [28] Controversy over the amateur status of communist players overshadowed the event. Disney was the head of pageantry for the 1960 Winter Olympics. Yet, for the one-hour ceremony, the sun shone brightly over the event. [9][11], Several design innovations and new technologies were used for the 1960 Games. Orson Welles - 7411285 Bobsled was not on the Winter Olympic programme for the first and only time; the organizers had decided the events did not warrant the cost of building a bobsled venue after a poll indicated that only nine countries were planning to participate. [52] Barbara Ann Roles gave the United States its third figure skating medal of the competition when she took the bronze. The Marine Band was participating in the 1960 Winter Olympics, and Jim was off in a hut somewhere, getting warmed up on his trombone. [14] What was unprecedented was the sale of exclusive United States television rights to broadcast the Games. Despite the formidable challenge to plan and build Olympic facilities from the ground up, Squaw Valley promoters were committed to delivering. North Korea was not recognized as a separate country by the IOC who maintained the existence of one Olympic committee. In 1960 the organizers of the Olympics asked Walt Disney to provide the entertainment for the event. After a poll was taken indicating that only nine countries would send a bobsled team, the organizers determined that bobsled would be removed from the Olympic program. Real doves would have stayed in the area and froze to death. Three of the biggest entities in pagentry and pomp and circumstance. The resort was chosen to host the Games at the 1956 meeting of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). DISNEY’S GAMES FAIRYTALE . Squaw Valley Organizing Committee (1960), pp. [63] Competitors slept in one of four dormitories and ate together in a dining room. Governor Knight and his successor Edmund "Pat" Brown remained behind the project, seeing it as a means to showcase the state of California to the world. A logpole in the center of the base was driven into the ground to insure stability. or its affiliates. [18] Chinese athletes last competed at the 1952 Summer Games but had since withdrawn from the IOC due to a dispute over Taiwan's participation as a separate country. A souvenir 33 1/3 RPM two-sided LP vinyl record was produced by Century Records featuring the entire Opening Ceremonies with written commentary by Paul Zimmerman of the Los Angeles Times. Multiple nations had requested the inclusion of women's speed skating events in the program for the 1956 Games, but the request was rejected by the IOC. Hench created 32 of these impressive statues for the event. At the time, it was the largest Winter Olympics ever held and the first Olympic Games to be held in the United States since 1932. As Sully told me, the purpose was not just to do security but to do it in the “Disney way” so it was not heavy-handed but still effective. It is impossible not to be inspired by the fanfare and excitement surrounding the Olympics. [9], Television was not new to the Olympic Winter Games; broadcasts of events to European audiences had begun in 1956. In 1960, the Winter Olympics were held in nearby Squaw Valley due to Alex Cushing’s cunning and determination. Life magazine, in its March 7, 1960 issue, declared, “Greatest winter show on earth. I could see them. One of the conditions for a unified German team was that the athletes be represented by a neutral flag. He appointed Tommy Walker as the Director of Pageantry. Yevgeny Grishin won both the 500 and 1,500 meter races, though he shared the 1,500 meter gold medal with Norwegian Roald Aas. One local commentator said, “It was like the split-second timing of a well-rehearsed stage show.”. ), "Star Spangled Banner"—Combined Choirs and Bands, Departure of Athletes  (30,000 balloons of many colors were released into the sky, amidst the booming of fireworks which were advertised as the first daytime use of fireworks. He would win bronze medal in the Nordic combined in 1964. [27], The ice hockey tournament took place at Blyth Arena and the Squaw Valley Olympic Skating Rink. Squaw Valley Organizing Committee (1960), p. 55. Since childhood, he loved drawing and making art, so the evolution to animation made perfect sense. Squaw Valley Organizing Committee (1960), p. 93. Walt Disney received the Légion d’Honneur by France and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1935 and 1964 respectively. [62] Their vision was for an intimate Games in which athletes and spectators could walk between venues. 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