Squaw Valley 1960

The 1960 Olympic Winter Games were held in Squaw Valley, a remote site in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, USA. When Alexander Cushing put forward the town’s bid to the International Olympic Committee in 1955, the resort did not even exist! He was the only inhabitant and homeowner in the whole place (300km from San Francisco and 1,900m above sea level). With absolutely no facilities, everything from skating rinks to ski runs, lifts and lodging had to be built from scratch.

The organising committee refused to build a bobsled run because only nine nations had indicated an intention to take part. This created huge controversy prior to the Games. It was the only time that bobsledding was not included on the Olympic program.

For the first time, women competed in speed skating and the Soviet school teacher, Lydia Skoblikova clinched two of the medals. She became the first winter athlete to win six career gold medals.

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Australia at these Games

Australia sent a much larger team to the 1960 Olympics, thanks to the presence of the only ice hockey team Australia has ever fielded. In total, 31 athletes attended the Games. This included Hal Nerdal, the only Australian ever to compete in the Nordic combined discipline. He finished 31st in the dual cross country skiing and ski jumping event.

Speed skater Colin Hickey represented Australia for the third time at an Olympic Winter Games. The "rink rat" from Melbourne finished 13th and 14th over the 500 metres and 1500 metres respectively.