Thirty nations sent competitors to Squaw Valley, including South Africa, which was competing in its inaugural Winter Games. However, the country's apartheid policies resulted in its exclusion from future Olympic events, and South Africa did not compete again until 1994. Other first-time participants included Iraq, Lebanon, and Yemen.
The United States dominated the sports at the Squaw Valley Winter Games, winning five of six possible gold medals. Canada came in second with four golds and one silver medal. Switzerland also won a single game to take home the bronze medal.
Here are the full results for all athletes who competed in at least one event: Men's Alpine Skiing - 1st; Paul Martinière (Can); 2nd; Jean-Claude Killy (Swi); 3rd; Willy Schaeffler (Aut) Women's Alpine Skiing - 1st; Nancy Greene (USA); 2nd; Monika Knoflach (AUT); 3rd; Hilda Kilian (Swe)
For Canadian skiers, this was their first Olympics as a nation. They had previously only participated as independent countries or under the name "Canadian National Ski Team". Skier Jean-Claude Killy was the only Canadian to win a gold medal at these Games when he took home the alpine skiing title.
Squaw Valley was a failing ski resort with little amenities when it was chosen to host the 1960 Winter Olympics. Wayne Poulsen and Alexander Cushing were motivated to submit an Olympic bid after reading a newspaper story about Reno, Nevada, and Anchorage, Alaska, both of which had indicated interest in the Games. The committee voted 4-1-0 in favor of bringing the Olympics to Squaw Valley; the other candidate city, Innsbruck in Austria, withdrew its bid before the vote took place.
The Olympics were needed to boost tourism at Squaw Valley. The company that managed the resort, Sierra Development, hoped to attract visitors by showing them pictures of the mountain peak named for Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce tribe. But the only way to get to the top of this peak was through a tunnel dug by miners. Many people thought this was a strange thing to do with a mountain.
Sierra Development tried to make up for this lack of appeal by saying that the venue would provide a safe environment for athletes. The only problem was that there were no facilities at all for athletes or officials; they had to build everything from scratch. Another issue was that most of the land around Squaw Valley was owned by private companies who wanted to develop it into resorts like Yosemite National Park. The Olympics posed a risk to the future of these projects because many tourists prefer to go where the best conditions are found.
The Philippines was the first fully tropical nation to compete in the Winter Olympics, sending two alpinists to the 1972 Winter Olympics in Sapporo, Japan. Ben Nanasca finished 42nd out of 73 competitors in giant slalom skiing, and Juan Cipriano did not compete.
Before these events, alpine skiing had been held as a separate event from cross-country skiing. The two sports are now combined under one classification: Alpine skiing. They both use the same equipment (except for the technique used in each type of ski race) and follow the same rules of competition.
Nanasca was born on March 2, 1948 in San Fernando, La Union. He grew up in Manila and became interested in skiing at an early age. After finishing high school, he traveled to Europe, where he trained as a mountain guide and climbed ice walls during winter months. Back in the Philippines, he worked as a cook and lift operator before competing in his first Olympic tournament.
At the 1972 Munich Games, Nanasca participated in only one event: the giant slalom. The top 30 men and 20 women finishers based on their results in this race would have qualified for the Soviet Union, which at the time had banned its athletes from participating in the Olympic games due to political tensions with the West. As it turned out, Nanasca was not among them; he finished 42nd out of 73 skiers.
It is the location of the 1960 Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley Ski Resort. The Olympic Valley is the Olympic Winter Games' smallest resort area. Before the 1849 California Gold Rush, the Washoe Indians utilized the valley as a summer tribal site. Spanish explorers also used the valley but never settled it. American settlers arrived in the valley in 1857 and named it after Chief Joseph Indian Tribe. The city of Lake Tahoe was founded by veterans of the war who came to build cabins in the beautiful area. They found gold in 1859 near what is now South Lake Tahoe but it did not bring many more people to the area.
The first road into the valley from Nevada was built in 1858 by William G. Moore who established a toll road that became known as the Carson Trail. In 1867, another road was built by John S. Kennedy that went all the way to Pyramid Lake. In 1872, the two roads were joined together and became known as the Virginia & Truckee Railroad. This railroad was later sold to Southern Pacific Company who still operates it today as the SP Railway. In 1873, another road was built by James Lick which connected the valley with Sacramento and San Francisco.
In 1879, Lake Tahoe Basin Association was formed by people who wanted to develop tourism in the area. They created ski trails up Mount Rose and Homewood Mountain for people to enjoy.