The place is Squaw Valley, California. The time, February 18 through 28. And the occasion, as the world knows, the VIII Olympic Winter Games. Next week SPORTS ILLUSTRATED will devote more than 20 pages (eight in color) to its Preview of the Games. In preparation for more than a year, the Preview will evaluate U.S. prospects and present the outstanding competitors on whom the various nations are pinning their hopes. The Preview will, as well, analyze the challenges of the many categories of competition: speed and figure skating, ice hockey, Alpine skiing, Nordic skiing and biathlon, this year making its debut as an Olympic event. Specially commissioned diagrams and action drawings explain the techniques and subtleties the sports involve.
Back last week from his latest visit to Squaw Valley, Associate Editor Ezra Bowen joined with the rest of the SPORTS ILLUSTRATED Olympic staff to bring the Preview into final form. Reporting on the Olympic site, whose development SPORTS ILLUSTRATED has followed in detail since our July 11, 1955 issue, he said: "No resort in America has a greater variety of winter sports opportunities, of terrain and, on any given day, of snow conditions."
Even more remarkable than the development of Squaw Valley is the growth in this country of winter sports in general—a growth signaled by the decision to award the U.S. the Winter Games for the second time. The first time, of course, was at Lake Placid in 1932. Between then and now, and in part because of the stimulus those Games gave, the U.S. has become as ardent a winter sports country as any in the world and as rich in terms of participants, resorts, tows and other facilities.
Where we now stand competitively as practitioners of winter sports only the oncoming Games will reveal for sure. But the Preview, a key chapter in the story of the VIII Olympic Winter Games, should give grounds for a good guess.