Tuesday, December 18, 2001
Updated: January 8, 10:11 PM ET
1948 St. Moritz
By Jeff Merron and Eric Neel
Special to ESPN.com
The Site: The games returned to St. Moritz, Switzerland, host of the 1928 Olympics. These were the first Winter Games after a twelve-year hiatus due to World War II. As punishment for their role in the war, Germany and Japan were not invited. Athletes from 28 nations competed. Norway, Sweden and Switzerland led the way, with 10 medals each.
Front-runner: Dick Button won the men's figure skating, becoming the first figure skater to successfully complete a double axel in Olympic competition.
Talk of the Town: Unheralded U.S. skier Gretchen Fraser won the first ever women's slalom event. She remembered later that reporters never cared to talk to her once. "They said, 'Oh, if somebody breaks a leg, let us know and we'll send that (story) home' ... but they didn't care about us."
Upset: Max Houben, a 49-year-old Belgian bobsledder, became the oldest person ever to receive a medal at the Winter Games.
Quotable: Button on trying the double axel in his Olympic program: "The cravenness of backing away from something because of the pressure of the Olympic games repulsed me and once I had made up my mind, I could not divert the steps that culminated in the double axel."
Top of the Pops: Dinah Shore's "Buttons and Bows."
Oscar: "Gentleman's Agreement," directed by Elia Kazan and starring Gregory Peck, took Best Picture. The film tells the story of a reporter who goes "under cover" as a Jew to do an expose on anti-Semitism, only to discover his own prejudices. Four years later, Kazan will cause a stir in Hollywood when he "names names" before the House Un-American Activities committee.
In the works: Bebop. NATO. The People's Republic of China.
Hot Lit: Ernest Hemingway's "For Whom the Bell Tolls" and John Steinbeck's "The Grapes of Wrath" hit the shelves.
The Political Scene: "DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN." Gandhi assassinated in New Delhi by Hindu fanatic. End of racial segregation in U.S. military.
Odds and Ends: U.S. bobsleds were sabotaged and the culprits were never found. The team repaired the sleds and went on to win four medals, including a gold.
A note on sources: David Wallechinsky's "The Complete Book of the Winter Olympics", Bud Greenspan's "Frozen in Time", Bernard Grun's "The Timetables of History", The Internet Movie Database (IMDB.com) and Infoplease.com were major reference sources for this compilation.