Host City: Lake Placid, United States
Venue(s): James C. Sheffield Speed Skating Oval, Lake Placid
Date Started: February 10, 1932
Date Finished: February 10, 1932
In contrast to the 1924 and 1928 Winter Olympics, the 18 km. race was the first event in 1932, preceding the 50 km. race by three days. This change in the program was certainly a much better solution for those skiers competing in both events.
The 18 km. race presented a strong field of merited skiers, all of them at their competitive peak. In Norway’s team Johan Grøttumsbraaten, the defending champion now aged 32, had shown new proof of his championship abilities by winning the World Championships at 18 km. in Oberhof, Germany 1931. Arne Rustadstuen was world champion on the distance in 1930, and Ole Stenen was World Champion in 50 km. from 1931 and had won the prestigious Holmenkollen the same year. Finland’s top skiers were Veli Saarinen, world champion at 18 km. in 1929 and Martti Lappalainen, winner in Holmenkollen 1928. Sweden’s Sven Utterström, now 30, had much cause for revenge after being ill during the 1928 Games. He was considered to be a 50 km. specialist, winning the World Championship 1930 and Holmenkollen in 1929 and 1930 over that distance.
The evening before the start of the race the weather was perfect for cross country skiing. But the next morning the temperature was rising, and that created problems preparing the skis for optimal gliding. In earlier competitions with mild weather the Swedes had shown great ability to choose the right ski-wax, and so they did this time. At an early stage of the race it was clear that this would be a great day for Sweden. Utterström commanded the race from start to finish, and won by a margin of exactly 2 minutes. The 24-year old Swede Axel Wikström surprised the experts by winning the silver medal 17 seconds ahead of Saarinen in 3rd place. Lappalainen was 4th, and the favored Norwegians were not satisfied with 5th and 6th place for Rustadstuen and Grøttumsbraaten, four minutes behind the winner.
|23||Olle Zetterstrom||30||United States||USA||1-38:26|
|28||Richard Parsons||21||United States||USA||1-40:08|
|33||Rolf Monsen||33||United States||USA||1-42:36|
|42||Erling Andersen||26||United States||USA||1-58:13|