CHAMONIX, France —
Olympic ice games open at Chamonix
The Winter sports of the eighth Olympic Games were officially opened today with the customary Olympic ceremonies, presided over by Gaston Vidal, Under Secretary of State for Physical Education. M. Vidal received the oaths of amateurism by the athletes entered for the competition. The teams of all the nations represented, bearing their national flags and emblems, then paraded from the City Hall to the skating rink, where the actual competitions will begin tomorrow.
On the arrival at the rink Under Secretary Vidal declared the official opening of the sports. His voice, caught up by enormous amplifiers on top of the grand stands, was sent reverberating up the sides of the high mountains which give the Chamonix Valley its magnificent setting. At the words, the 150 athletes, awaiting the announcement, clapped on their skates, jumped on to the immense sheet of ice before them, and the eighth Olympic Games, in their modern revival, were on.
Jewtraw, United States; Gorman, Canada; Thunberg, Finland and Olsen, Norway, four of the fastest skaters here, hooked up in several turns around the rink in an impromptu race that brought the four or five thousand spectators to their feet cheering.
Athletes pass in review
Prior to the official opening of the games, when the competing teams with banners and their national emblems flying paraded from the City Hall of Chamonix through the streets of the city to the rink, they were reviewed by Count Clary, President of the French Olympic Committee: the Marquis de Polignac and Mr. Vidal.
The band of the Twenty-seventh Alpine “Blue Devils” played the national anthems of Austria, Belgium, Canada, Esthonia, the United States, Finland, France, Great Britain, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland and Czechoslovakia as the group of athletes passed in that order.
The athletes of Belgium, Canada, the United States and France received the most enthusiastic welcomes. Clarence J. Abel, St. Paul, of the American hockey team, was the bearer of the Stars and Stripes, and Harry Drury, Pittsburgh, carried the American emblem. They took the Olympic oath, administered by Vidal, on behalf of the American athletes. Both swore that the American athletes would be “loyal competitors, and respect the rules and regulations in a chivalrous spirit for the honor of our country and the greater glory of sport.”
Abel stumbled over his French a few times in repeating the oath, but he told M. Vidal that he would rather be tripped up in his French delivery than while shooting for a goal in the hockey competition. This brought a cordial laugh from the Under-Secretary.
The worry over the weather, the mildness of which had threatened to prevent the starting of the games tomorrow, was dissipated today. Clear and cold conditions set in during the day and tonight the prospects are for colder conditions. It is considered certain the competition will commence tomorrow at 11 o’clock with the 500-meter race. At 3 P. M. the 5,000-meter event will be started.
Thousands of visitors have gathered in this small Alpine town on the slopes of Mont Blanc, which today, for the first time in a week, threw off its blanket of thick clouds, the peak glistening in the bright sunshine and providing a wonderful setting for the Olympics.