Upon his return to Lake Placid, Godfrey Dewey began his efforts to convince the community that it could contend for a bid to host the 1932 Winter Olympics and started working on a preliminary plan for hosting the Games in the small Adirondack village. On March 21st, 1928 Godfrey delivered his first public address on the III Olympic Games in front of the Lake Placid Kiwanis Club (43, Lattimer). Two days later a joint meeting of the directors of the Lake Placid Chamber of Commerce, the Kiwanis Club, and the Village Board was called. At this meeting a temporary Olympic committee was formed to consider initial steps towards presenting a bid for the Games. On April 3rd of that year, at a meeting of the Lake Placid Chamber of Commerce held at Hotel Marcy, the chamber pledged its support and resources to secure the III Olympic Winter Games for Lake Placid. The meeting set a record for attendance, which indicated the high level of local interest the prospect had aroused. The Olympic movement was now fairly launched, backed by the Chamber of Commerce, with other local bodies co-operating.
But Godfrey realized that the Games were too heavy a burden for the village to bear alone so during the late spring and early summer he continued to explain his project to organizations like, the North Elba Town Board, the Lake Placid Village Board, the Woman’s Club, the Board of Education, the Kiwanis Club, and the Lake Placid Athletic Club. These quickly followed the chamber’s lead, endorsed the project, and voted support. He also spoke in various Adirondack communities about the preliminary plans and wherever he spoke support followed. He then discussed the game with Governor Franklin Roosevelt, prominent businessmen, Adirondack civic leaders, and initiated legislative negotiations in Albany. He sought the backing of New York State in the proposal and on Monday, January 14, 1929 both houses of the New York legislature unanimously passed a resolution to support the ambitious project.
(FDR at the opening ceremony for the 1932 Winter Olympics) North Elba Town Hall, III Olympic Games Committee Headquarters
Hardwork Pays Off
From this point on the burden did not solely rest on Lake Placid. In 1929, after Franklin D. Roosevelt had named him the official delegate, Godfrey traveled to Lausanne, Switzerland (the headquarters of the International Olympic Committee) and on April 10th, 1929 the committee announced that the small village had received the bid by unanimous vote. This historic event continues to inform and influence the area to this day. The International Olympic Committee cited the presence of one of the world’s finest ski jumps, miles of cross country skiing trails and excellent facilities for speed skating, figure skating and hockey. Lake Placid was able to guarantee that the additional facilities necessary for conducting the Games would be constructed. Godfrey Dewey was selected as the President of the III Olympic Games Committee and he and his fellow organizers had a tough road ahead, as there was no established pattern to follow (Lattimer, 7). But the village was poised for the challenge with nearly 30 years of experience with winter sports and nearly all of the facilities needed to host. By the time the games began in 1932, the physical lay-out and facilities for the Games represented an investment of "practically three-quarters of a million dollars” (Lattimer, 37).
(Lake Placid News article announcing Godfrey's success) To view the full article click here.