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1932 Los Angeles Olympics: A Model for a Broken System

Moore, Roger D.
In discussion of Olympic Games and Los Angeles, 1984 is often the primary focus; but the Tenth Olympiad hosted by the same city in 1932 provides a more meaningful and lasting legacy within the Olympic narrative. This thesis looks at the stadium construction of Olympic host cities prior to 1932 and investigates the process by which Los Angeles came to host the 1932 Summer Olympics. The significance of the first athletic village and a history of the venues used for the 1932 competition will also be explored. This thesis will show that the depression-era 1932 Los Angeles Olympics provides a model more in line with original Olympic principals opposed to the current economically-driven system. Within that 1932 model is a means by which a host city can incorporate existing facilities adequate for a large festival and also, when and where construction is needed, provide future-use plans that serve a community beyond the duration of an Olympiad. Los Angeles and 1932 are unique in that the built environment that remains still serves the city in various ways, an idea not necessarily incorporated in twenty-first century Olympic models.