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Walt Disney’s Olympic Engagement

February 24, 2014 Walt Disney, Walt Disney Company No Comments

By: D-Team Caitlin

The 1960 Winter Olympics

The 1960 Winter Olympics

Did you know that Walt Disney was involved in the organization of the 1960 Winter Olympics? This overlooked detail of Walt’s career is one that changed the course of Olympic history.

In 1958, the Olympics’ organizers invited Walt to be Chairman of the Pageantry Committee. The Olympics were to be held in Squaw Valley, California. After accepting the position, Walt proceeded by recruiting a team from within the Disney company, including the legendary John Hench, Ron Miller, Card Walker, and several others.

There were many notable innovations that Walt and his team brought to the Squaw Valley games, most importantly, the tradition of televised opening and closing ceremonies. Can you imagine not being able to follow the Olympics on television? Watching the Opening Ceremony is a beloved tradition for many. It is amazing to know that Walt was behind the first ceremony broadcast on CBS that year.

Walt Disney and John at the 1960 Winter Olympics

Walt Disney and John at the 1960 Winter Olympics

For a more detailed look at the Disney Company’s involvement in the 1960 Winter Olympics, read this in-depth article by The Walt Disney Family Museum, and watch the 1960 Opening Ceremony.

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