The competition was held at Memorial Coliseum. Male athletes were placed in a purpose-built Olympic Village. It covered 321 acres of land and consisted of 550 double bungalows. The village also housed a hospital, post office, library and many restaurants and cafes. The women were checked into a hotel on Chapman Park. A total of about 1300 athletes from 37 countries took part in the competition.
Opening the Olympics was Vice President Charles Curtis as President Herbert Hoover did not show up for the Games. In these games, the winners climbed to the podium for the first time with national flags in their hands. Another innovation was the photofinish.
The political environment was bound to affect the Olympics. Japan, which recently occupied the Chinese province of Manchuria, tried to field the athlete from the state of Manzhou-Guo, but he was denied participation by the Olympic committee. From China participated the only athlete – Liu Changchun, competing in the 200 m race. Italian Luigi Beccali, who won the gold medal in the 1500m race by climbing the podium, greeted the public with a fascist salute.
The true Olympic spirit was demonstrated by British fencer Judy Guinness. She herself, having given up hopes of a gold medal, pointed the judges to the 2 touches they received from her rival Ellen Price of Austria. The
opening of the Olympics was track and field athlete from Dallas Mildred Didrickson named “Babe”. In those days, women were not allowed to participate in the pentathlon, but “Baby” easily won in the javelin throw, 80 m steeplechase and high jump. Mildred subsequently became a professional golfer and U.S. Women’s Champion in the sport. The
most gold, silver and bronze medals were taken by U.S. athletes — 41, 32 and 30. In the second place the Italian team — 12 medals. In third, French: 10, 5 and 4 medals respectively.