Winter Olympics Through the Years: 1960

Updated February 21, 2017 | Factmonster Staff

Squaw Valley

The first Winter Olympics in the U.S. since 1932 was held at an obscure California ski resort near Lake Tahoe that had no bobsled run and in the days leading up to the opening ceremony, no snow. Luckily, an 11th hour drop in temperature changed a drenching rain into a much-needed blizzard and the Games got off to a wintry start.

The most exciting venue, however, was indoors at Blyth Arena where the underdog U.S. hockey team upset the Russians and Canadians to win the gold medal for the first time ever. Led by forwards Billy Cleary and Roger Christian and goaltender Jack McCartan, the Americans beat Canada 2–1, USSR 3–2, and the Czechs 9–4, in their last three games to clinch the title.

Blyth was also where Carol Heiss and David Jenkins won the women's and men's figure skating gold medals. Heiss had won a silver and Jenkins a bronze in 1956. Shortly after the Games, Heiss married Jenkins' older brother Hayes, the men's gold medalist in '56.

Outside, speed skater Yevgeny Grishin of the USSR won at 500 and 1,500 meters for the second Olympics in a row. In fact, Grishin's victory in the 1,500 was his second straight tie at that distance—sharing gold medals with teammate Yuri Mikhailov in 1956 and Norway's Roald Aas in '60. This was also the first year women could compete in speed skating and the Soviets' Lydia Skoblikova won twice, at 1,500 and 3,000 meters. She would go on to win four gold medals at Innsbruck in 1964.

At 35, three-time Olympic cross-country skier Veikko Hakulinen of Finland was the only athlete at Squaw Valley to claim three medals (for a career total of seven). He came from 20 seconds back on the anchor leg to win gold in the 40–kilometer relay.

Sweden's Klas Lestander won the first Olympic biathlon competition. A popular Scandinavian sport that combines cross-country skiing and shooting, Lestander recorded the 15th best time over the 20-kilometer course but was perfect on each of his 20 rifle shots.

Nineteen-year-old Alpine skier Penny Pitou was America's top medalist, placing second in both the downhill and slalom events. She was later married for a few years to 1964 men's downhill champion Egon Zimmermann of Austria.

Top 10 Standings

National medal standings are not recognized by the IOC. The unofficial point totals are based on 3 points for a gold medal, 2 for a silver and 1 for a bronze. Total medals are in parentheses.

1USSR (21)75940
2USA (10)34320
3Germany (8)43119
4Norway (6)33015
 Sweden (7)32215
 Finland (8)23315
7Austria (6)12310
8Canada (4)2119
9Switzerland (2)2006
10 France (3)1025

Leading Medal Winners

Number of individual medals won on the left; gold, silver and bronze breakdown to the right.


No SportG-S-B
3Veikko Hakulinen, FINX-country1-1-1
2Yevgeny Grishin, USSRSp. Skate2-0-0
2Håkon Brusveen, NORX-country1-1-0
2Knut Johannesen, NORSp. Skate1-1-0
2Sixten Jernberg, SWEX-country1-1-0
2Viktor Kosichkin, USSRSp. Skate1-1-0
2Ernst Hinterseer, AUTAlpine1-0-1
2Rolf Rämgård, SWEX-country0-1-1
2Nikolai Anikin, USSRX-country0-0-2


No SportG-S-B
2Lydia Skoblikova, USSRSp. Skate 2-0-0
2Maria Gusakova, USSRX-country1-1-0
2Helga Haase, GERSp. Skate1-1-0
2Penny Pitou, USAAlpine0-2-0
2Lyubov Baranova, USSRX-country0-2-0
2Radya Eroshina, USSRX-country0-1-1

Alpine Skiing


Event  Time
DownhillJean Vuarnet, FRA2:06.0
SlalomErnst Hinterseer, AUT2:08.9
G.SlalomRoger Staub, SWI1:48.3


Event  Time
DownhillHeidi Biebl, GER1:37.6
SlalomAnne Heggtveit, CAN1:49.6
G.SlalomAvonne Rüegg, SWI1:39.9


Event MTAdj.Time
20 kmKlas Lestander, SWE01:33:21.6

Figure Skating

Event  Points
MenDavid Jenkins, USA 1440.2
WomenCarol Heiss, USA1490.1
PairsBarbara Wagner & Robert Paul, CAN80.4

Ice Hockey

Championship Round

(Overall records in parentheses)

1USA (7-0-0)55-0-0102911
2Canada (6-1-0)54-1-083112
3USSR (4-2-1)52-2-152419
4Czechoslovakia (3-4-0)52-3-042123
5Sweden (2-4-1)51-3-131919
6Germany (1-6-0)50-5-00545
Note: The U.S. beat Canada, 2–1, the USSR, 3–2, and Czech., 9–4, in its last three games. Canada beat the USSR, 8–5, and Sweden tied the Russians, 2–2.

Nordic Skiing


Cross Country

Event  Time
15kmHåkon Brusveen, NOR51:55.5
30kmSixten Jernberg, SWE1:51:03.9
50kmKalevi Hämäläinen, FIN2:59:06.3
4x10kmFIN (Toimi Alatalo, Eero Mäntyranta,
Väinö Huhtala, Veikko Hakulinen)

Ski Jumping

Event  Points
80mHelmut Recknagel, GER227.2

Nordic Combined

Event Points
15km/JumpGeorg Thoma, GER457.952


Cross Country

Event  Time
10kmMarija Gusakova, USSR39:46.6
3x5kmSWE (Irma Johansson, Britt Strandberg,
Sonja Ruthström)

Speed Skating


Event  Time  
500mYevgeny Grishin, USSR40.2=WR
1500mRoald Aas, NOR2:10.4WR
 & Yevgeny Grishin, USSR2:10.4WR
5000mViktor Kosichkin, USSR7:51.3 
10,000mKnut Johannesen, NOR15:46.6 


Event  Time  
500mHelga Haase, GER45.9 
1000mKlara Guseva, USSR1:34.1 
1500mLydia Skoblikova, USSR2:25.2WR
3000mLydia Skoblikova, USSR5:14.3 
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