Peter Snell (centre) on the podium with silver medallist Roger Moens of Belgium (left) and Bronze medallist George Ezekiel Kerr of Jamaica (right) at the Games of the XVII Olympiad, Rome 1960. Photo: New Zealand Olympic Museum Collection.

  • In 1932, Picton’s Lawrence (“Jumbo’) Jackson (OLY#31), of Ngai Tahu, and Blenheim’s Jack Macdonald (OLY#35), of Rangitane the first Maori athletes to compete at the Olympic Games. They were members of the New Zealand rowing eight.
  • Compared to these days of specialisation, 1932 rowing silver medallists Fred (“Rangi”) Thompson (OLY#44) and Bob Stiles (OLY#42) were extremely busy in Los Angeles. Not only did they perform brilliantly in the pairs, but they were also required to row again in the New Zealand eight.

Cyril Stiles and Fred Thompson finishing second in the Rowing Coxless Pair elimination race at Long Beach Marine Stadium during the Games of the X Olympiad, Los Angeles 1932. Photo: New Zealand Olympic Museum Collection.

  • Thompson and Stiles had one other distinction at Los Angeles - 1932 was the first time victory podiums were used for Olympic medal ceremonies so they were the first New Zealand Team members to take the podium.
  • Distance runner Billy Savidan (OLY#40) had two heartbreaking near misses at the 1932 Olympic Games, finishing fourth in both the 5000m and 10,000m.
  • Los Angeles 1932 rower George Cooke (OLY#25), went on to die from wounds sustained during the fighting in Crete - on 23rd May 1941 aged 35 years.
  • New Zealand’s first athletics gold medal was won by Jack Lovelock (OLY#33) in the 1500m in Berlin in 1936, and in world record time. The commentary of the day reflected the excitement of the race: ‘My God, he’s done it! Jack! Come on! … He wins! He’s won!