1932 Olympic marathon
Aug. 7, 1932: At the Olympic marathon’s seven-mile mark are, from left, Lasse Virtanen, Finland; Seiichiro Tsuda, Japan; Ville Kyronen, Finland; Taika Gon, Japan (seen over Kyronen’s shoulder); and Duncan Wright, Britain. Tsuda placed fifth; Wright, fourth; Gon, ninth. Virtanen and Kyronen failed to finish. Winner Juan Carlos Zabala of Argentina was ahead of this pack. Credit: Carroll Photo Service
Juan Carlos Zabala, a 20-year-old newsboy from Argentina, crosses the finish line to win the 1932 Olympic marathon at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. He covered the grueling distance in 2 hours 31 minutes 36 seconds to set a new Olympic mark. Credit: Associated Press
Twenty-eight runners from 14 nations participated in the 1932 Olympic marathon. The race started and ended at the Olympic Stadium, now named the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
In the Aug. 8, 1932, Los Angeles Times, writer Braven Dyer reported on the winner:
Six weeks ago Juan Carlos Zabala “collapsed” and failed to finish “The Times” Marathon.
Toward twilight last evening the sound of trumpets from atop the Olympic Stadium signified his approach at the head of the greatest distance runners from all over the world.
The last note of the trumpeters had hardly died away before the swarthy son of South American came pounding through the tunnel to the accompaniment of the greatest ovation ever accorded an Olympic Game athlete.
More than 75,000 spectators stood on their toes and cheered the midget Argentine youth all the way around the oval. They knew the torture of this twenty-six-mile grind and they were acknowledging the gameness of the 20-year-old schoolboy from Buenos Aires.
In the 1936 Summer Olympics, Zabala placed sixth in the 10,000 meters, but failed to finish in the marathon.
All three of these photos were published in the Aug. 8, 1932, Times.
Aug. 7, 1932: The start of the Olympic marathon in the Olympic Stadium, now known as the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Credit: Associated Press
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