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Snowball's Chance: The Story of the 1960 Olympic Winter Games Squaw Valley & Lake Tahoe Paperback – March 28, 2012
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About the Author
This book features rare images taken by official Olympic photographer Bill Briner that are complemented with images from public and private collections, some never before published. Using extensive research and oral histories from Olympic athletes and officials, award-winning author David C. Antonucci brings the VIII Olympic Winter Games to life.
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Technological innovations at these Games brought competition into a new phase, and enabled the athletes to perform and be judged at the highest level.
Descriptions of each event during the games brings to life the drama of the competitions, and followup stories of a number of prominent athletes helps humanize these competitors.
We view and enjoy the Olympics today as behemoth spectacles. As the title indicates, it's primarily a study of the American spirit...of how one man's (developer Alexander Cushing) dream of hosting a Winter Olympics in order to boost his almost non-existent ski resort, overcame the overwhelming odds of such a quest. Hosting the Olympics--and the Winter more so than the Summer--are considered the traditional bailiwick of the Europeans. However, in 1954-1955, Cushing dared to challenge this tradition by offering to host the Games half a world away. And that he succeeded so winningly is the crux of the book.
"Snowball's Chance" takes the reader back to what were the first televised `live' (Winter) Games shown in the United States--thus also making it one of the last `you-had-to-be-there' Olympic Games. One learns how the Organizing Committee was able to dispense with building an (unnecessary and expensive) luge and bobsled track but forgot to inform the Greek Olympic Committee that it wanted a lighting of the flame at Olympia. And one discovers that Squaw Valley '60 was also the first Olympics to employ a professional showman, Walt Disney, to spice up the whole look and feel of the Games with a Hollywood touch.
Although held in a quaint California Sierra valley at the end of the Eisenhower era, the Winter Games were apparently on the verge of becoming a gargantuan undertaking even then. Visually, it's a very threadbare tome but the detailed accounts more than make up for that. If you are truly into Olympic history, I would recommend this book as a worthy addition to your library.