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A New Gold Standard in Olympic History

Official program of the 1960 Winter Olympics with skier against a blue background

Many athletes, spectators, and officials declared that the Squaw Valley games were the “best ever.”

The 1960 Winter Olympic Games are best remembered as an intimate gathering of nations that truly embodied the camaraderie and good will at the heart of the Olympic ideal. For the first time the entire Olympic venue was built from the ground up, designed to meet the demands of the competition sites, athletes, officials and spectators. Athletes were housed in a newly constructed Olympic Village that was within walking distance of almost all other venues.

Officials used computers for the first time to compile and tabulate results, and a new, sophisticated electronic timing system debuted. Walt Disney, as the first ever Director of Pageantry, brought the magic and glamour of Hollywood to these games, which were the first Olympics to be televised live to a national and international audience. Despite concerns that the live broadcast of the games would severely impact attendance, nearly 50,000 spectators a day arrived by car, bus and train to watch history unfold. Visitor housing in the valley was limited, with many guests staying in Reno, Nevada, about 40 miles away. Despite all of the critics and naysayers, this previously unknown, isolated alpine hamlet earned a place in Olympic history for setting a new gold standard.

The Olympic Tower of Nations with two giant statues designed by Walk Disney

The Tower of Nations was designed by Walt Disney, who served as the first ever Director of Pageantry for the games. The Tower still stands today at the entrance of the valley.

Ticket for the 1960 Winter Olympics showing ticket price of $7.50