Visit the Library at the Paley Center in NY or LA
Visit the Library at the Paley Center in New York or Los Angeles to experience the first publicly accessible, archive of Olympic television coverage created from the recordings of the International Olympic Committee, the United States Olympic Committee, and The Paley Center for Media.
Paley Members Free; Included with General Admission.
About the U.S. Olympic Archive, presented by Gordon Crawford
Though audiences today are accustomed to having hundreds of hours of coverage of the Olympic Games available through telecasts and online video, this was not always the case. In fact, the Games weren’t fully televised in the United States until the 1960 Olympic Winter Games.
However, over time, many of those original broadcasts—a visual chronicle of the Olympic spirit in action—were lost or discarded, leaving a gap within our audio and visual record of the Games. Thankfully, many others were preserved within the collections of the International Olympic Committee and United States Olympic Committee, and The Paley Center for Media’s public archive.
Now, the IOC and USOC have combined their resources with those of the Paley Center to establish—for the first time—a comprehensive, publicly accessible video archive of Olympic television coverage: The U.S. Olympic Archive presented by Gordon Crawford. The assets—representing more than 1,300 hours of Olympic and Olympic-related programs—are drawn from the recordings of the IOC and the USOC, plus the Paley Center’s unprecedented media collection.
The offerings in this archive are exceptional in that they are full blocks of programming as they aired on American television, rather than isolated performances or competitions. Viewers will experience the original television broadcasts in their entirety, as they initially aired, with commentary by the announcers and often with the original commercials, providing the opportunity to relive not just Olympic history, but also television-viewing history.
The U.S. Olympic Archive, digitally archived to ensure its preservation for future generations, spans the televised history of the Games—from the 1960 Olympic Winter Games in Squaw Valley through the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
The U.S. Olympic Archive is presented by Paley Center trustee emeritus Gordon Crawford, whose ongoing support for the Paley Center’s mission to explore media’s impact on culture has made this new collection possible. Mr. Crawford is also a trustee of the United States Endowment.
Example of an Archive Search
International Olympic Committee
The International Olympic Committee is the legacy of Pierre de Coubertin, a French educator and historian who lived from 1863–1937. Coubertin, who romanticized the ancient Greeks, believed that amateur sport encouraged moral strength and social harmony. The ancient Olympic Games, which took place from the eighth century BCE until the Roman Christian emperor Theodosius I abolished them as pagan ceremonies in 393 CE, became Coubertin’s ideal of democratic athletic competition.
Buoyed by his grand vision of an international celebration of sport, he organized a congress of athletes and sport enthusiasts from all over the world. This congress, held in 1894, was the beginning of the IOC. The first Olympic Games held under IOC auspices took place in 1896 in Athens, Greece.
Located in Lausanne, Switzerland, the IOC aims to promote Olympism and lead the Olympic Movement, as outlined in the Olympic Charter. In this leadership role, the IOC acts as a catalyst for collaboration between all parties of the Olympic family, including National Olympic Committees, International Sport Federations, athletes, Organizing Committees for the Olympic Games, TOP sponsors, broadcast partners, and United Nations agencies. The IOC also ensures the regular celebration of the Olympic Games and Youth Olympic Games and strongly encourages, by appropriate means, the promotion of the Olympic values.
For more information on the IOC, visit Olympic.org.
United States Olympic Committee
After the creation of the International Olympic Committee in 1894, participating countries gradually began to establish their own National Olympic Committees to oversee nationwide development of Olympic sport.
Of the 204 NOCs existing today, the United States Olympic Committee is one of the two oldest. It was founded in 1894 by the two American members of the IOC: sports official James Sullivan and history professor William Sloane, the first USOC president. The USOC has been known by various appellations over the years—including the American Olympic Association, the United States of America Sports Federation, and the United States Olympic Association—but was officially christened the USOC in 1961.
The Amateur Sports Act of 1978 appointed the USOC as the sole coordinating body for Olympic activity in the United States, giving the USOC exclusive domestic rights to Olympic words and symbols. Then, in 1998, U.S. Paralympics, governed internationally by the International Paralympic Committee, joined the USOC. As such, the USOC is responsible for the training, entering, and funding of U.S. teams for the Olympic, Paralympic, Youth Olympic, Pan American and Parapan American Games, while serving as a steward of the Olympic and Paralympic movements throughout the country. Among other functions, the USOC oversees the process by which U.S. cities bid to host the Olympic/Paralympic, Youth Olympic and Pan/Parapan American Games; approves procedures for team selections; and can charter new National Governing Bodies, which are responsible for individual sports within the United States.
The USOC is a federally chartered nonprofit corporation. Unlike most other NOCs, it does not receive federal funding, other than for select Paralympic military programs. It is based in Colorado Springs, Colo., and has support offices in New York City and Washington, D.C. It also supports three U.S. Olympic Training Centers located in Chula Vista, Calif.; Colorado Springs; and Lake Placid, N.Y. For more information on the USOC, visit TeamUSA.org.
At a 2012 dinner honoring Gordon Crawford, then-senior vice president of Capital Research and Management, Peter Chernin said, “Gordy is the guy that makes Rupert Murdoch jump; Gordy is the guy that Steve Jobs listened to; and Gordy is the guy that Bill Gates is scared of.”
During his forty-one year tenure at Capital Group, Crawford spearheaded the company’s media investments, beginning in the late 1970s, when he invested heavily in cable just before the industry took off. Once dubbed “consigliere” to some of the most influential media magnates in the world by the Los Angeles Times, he majored in classics at Wesleyan University before getting his MBA from the University of Virginia Business School (now the Darden School). In 1971, following the advice of his professor, he applied for a job with the Capital Group in Los Angeles, where he remained until his retirement as senior vice president in 2012.
A noted philanthropist, Crawford is passionate about the Olympic Movement and has a large collection of memorabilia, including medals and Olympic torches from almost every Games. He serves on the U.S. Olympic Endowment’s board of trustees and chairs the newly formed U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Foundation. He also served on the Paley Center Board of Trustees and its LA Board of Governors for many years.