This summer’s Tokyo Olympics marks the second time Japan’s capital has hosted it and the first in 1964.
After the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo, the 2022 Olympic Games will be relocated to Beijing. Paris will then host the 2024 Summer Olympics. Milano Cortina and Los Angeles will follow as the next winter and summer hosts in 2026 and 2028 respectively.
When the Olympics return to the United States, the host country will have some experience in hand. Let’s take a look at a timeline of United States cities that have played throughout Olympic history and some key moments from each of those games.
Which US cities hosted an Olympics?
The United States has hosted the Olympic Games eight times in the history of the Games – four Summer Games and four Winter Games. In 2028, the Summer Olympics will take place in Los Angeles, making it the ninth time that the USA will host the city.
1904 Summer Olympics: St. Louis, Missouri
Chicago originally won the bid for the first Olympic Games in the United States. However, the organizers of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition (also known as the St. Louis World’s Fair) in Missouri did not want another international event to take place during the same period. The 1904 Olympic Games had to be relocated to St. Louis and become part of the World’s Fair.
Various competitions were spread out over 4.5 months, and the 1904 St. Louis Olympics began the now famous tradition of awarding gold, silver, and bronze medals to event winners. Boxing, freestyle wrestling, decathlon, and a dumbbell event made their debut at the 1904 Games.
1932 Winter Olympics: Lake Placid, New York
The 1932 Winter Olympics were held in the small town of Lake Placid, NY. More than 350 athletes from 17 countries gathered to take part in the Games, which were officially opened on February 4th by Franklin D. Roosevelt – the then governor of New York.
The 1932 Lake Placid Olympics marked the first time a winners’ podium was used at the Winter Games. Jack Shea – a speed skater and Lake Placid local – made history by becoming the first Olympian to take gold on the podium and the first athlete to win two gold medals in the same games.
1932 Summer Olympics: Los Angeles, California
Given that the site was in a relatively remote region of California and was in the midst of the Great Depression in 1932, attendance at the Los Angeles Olympics was the lowest since 1904 – only half as many athletes participated as four years earlier.
Despite the low number of athletes attending, a record crowd from the USA gathered to witness the opening ceremony live at the newly built Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The Los Angeles Olympics were historic for another reason as well: It was the first time in Olympic history that the Games were shortened to just 16 days. The competition had previously lasted 79 days.
1960 Winter Olympics: Squaw Valley, California
Squaw Valley submitted an application to the International Olympic Committee in 1955 before the resort even existed. In fact, Alexander Cushing, a lawyer, was the only local resident and homeowner when he was selected to host the 1960 Olympics.
There were many premieres at the 1960 Olympic Games. These were the only winter games where there was no bobsleigh competition due to a lack of participation. The Squaw Valley Olympics also debuted men’s biathlon and women’s speed skating. Here the French skier Jean Vuarnet was the first to win a medal with metal skis instead of wooden skis.
1980 Winter Olympics: Lake Placid, New York
Almost 50 years after Lake Placid first hosted, the 1980 Olympics returned. It was the first games to use snow machines to make artificial snow to ensure the best possible conditions for their events.
American speed skater Eric Heiden became the first person in Olympic history to win five gold medals in individual competitions in the same games when he set records in all five speed skating competitions from 500m to 10,000m.
1984 Summer Olympics: Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles was the only city that applied to host the 1984 Summer Olympics and was therefore selected. Unsurprisingly, after a US-led boycott of the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow, the Soviet Union organized a boycott of revenge in 1984. Despite the 14 nations that stayed away, 140 National Olympic Committees participated, which was a record at the time.
Rhythmic gymnastics, synchronized swimming, the women’s road bike race and the women’s marathon made their Olympic debuts at the 1984 Olympic Games. This is also where the first paraplegic athlete took part in a medal event when New Zealand archer Neroli Fairhall competed in a wheelchair.
1996 Summer Olympics: Atlanta, Georgia
A dozen years later, the Summer Olympics returned to the United States when Atlanta hosted the 1996 Games. For the first time in the history of the Olympic Games, all 197 recognized National Olympic Committees participated.
After the legendary boxer and activist Muhammad Ali lit the kettle, beach volleyball, mountain biking, lightweight rowing and women’s football made their Olympic debut along with the first all-women sport, softball. Athletes from a record-breaking 79 countries won medals in the Atlanta Olympics and 53 countries took home gold.
Unfortunately, those historic games were marked by tragedy when a terrorist bomb exploded in Centennial Olympic Park, killing two people and injuring 110 others.
2002 Winter Olympics: Salt Lake City, Utah
The last US Olympics took place in 2002 when Salt Lake City, Utah, hosted the Winter Games.
The Salt Lake City Olympics were historic for the black community. American athlete Vonetta Flowers became the first black female athlete to take home a winter gold medal in women’s bobsleigh, and Canadian ice hockey player Jarome Iginla followed as the first black male winner.
2028 Summer Olympics: Los Angeles, California
The next time the Games return to the US, the 2028 Olympics will be in Los Angeles.
The contract for the 2028 Games was originally supposed to be announced in mid-2021. However, after a number of cities withdrew from bidding for both the 2022 Winter Olympics and the 2024 Summer Olympics, the International Olympic Committee decided to jointly award the 2024 and 2028 Games in July 2017.
The 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles will take place from July 21st to August 6th. The 2028 Games have pledged to become the first Energy Positive Games, meaning that efficiency efforts and renewable sources will generate more energy than is needed to power the Olympic Games.
Where did the first US Olympics take place?
The first Olympic Games were held in the United States in the summer of 1904, making it the first time the Games were held outside of Europe.
It took a few obstacles before the Olympics finally landed in St. Louis, Missouri. The International Olympic Committee initially considered Philadelphia and New York as host cities and decided to award the 1904 Olympic Games to Chicago before eventually moving to St. Louis to be combined with the Louisiana Purchase Exhibition.
Chopsticks the color of the Olympic rings, ties, crispy rice snacks and of course face masks – these are just a few of the things you can find in an official Tokyo 2020 store in the International Broadcast Center.
Which US city was the first to host a Winter Olympics?
The first city in the United States to host the Winter Olympics was Lake Placid. In 1932, a city in New York State with fewer than 4,000 residents was awarded the Olympic Games.
When the country faced an economic depression, Godfrey Dewey, president of the Lake Placid Organizing Committee, actually donated a piece of land to build the Olympic bobsleigh track. It also got pretty useful when the 1980 Winter Olympics returned to Lake Placid.
Have US cities hosted the Olympics twice?
Two cities in the United States have hosted the Olympics twice: Lake Placid and Los Angeles. Lake Placid hosted the Winter Olympics in 1932 and 1980, while Los Angeles hosted the Summer Olympics in 1932 and 1984.
The 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles will mark the city’s third starting shot, making it the first North American city and the third in the world.
How many times has the US applied to host an Olympiad?
The United States has applied to host the Olympic Games a total of 55 times. Los Angeles leads all cities with 10 bids, followed by Detroit (7), Lake Placid (6), Philadelphia (4) and Chicago (4).
Which country has hosted the most Olympic Games?
The United States has hosted more Olympic Games than any other country, with its eight games to date. France hosts the second most with five Olympic Games. Both the US and France will increase their grand total with the Olympics in Paris in 2024 and Los Angeles in 2028.
The 2020 Tokyo Games will be Japan’s fourth Olympiad, and Italy will rank them third after the Milan Cortina Olympics in 2026.