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Celebrate the Olympic 40th Anniversary this Presidents Week


Published: 01/06/2020

Do you believe in Miracles?

Al Michaels asked that now iconic question 40 years ago as the US beat the Soviet Union in "The Miracle On Ice". It changed the future of Lake Placid, NY and solidified its place as a winter sports destination for athletes of all kinds – weekend warriors, past Olympians, current Olympians, and aspiring Olympians. Lake Placid holds its place in history with great pride. Everyone who lives here knows someone connected to the event - athletes, volunteers, spectators. We continue to share our community with Olympic athletes - past, present, and future.

It is with this pride and in honor of our legacy that our community is throwing an 8-day party to celebrate this milestone. It's going to be a festive week with fun and informative events happening every day. I, personally, can't wait to attend these events and wanted to share some of the ones that are my favorites so you can attend them, too.

Lake Placid Olympic Torch
Lake Placid Olympic Torch

Torch Run and Parade

Friday, February 14 at 5 PM

Your first chance to see our local Olympians as the torch makes its way down Saranac Avenue to Main St. The torch will be carried by some of the same runners who carried the torch in 1980! As the run arrives on Main St. (right at High Peaks Resort), it will become a parade of local Olympians, volunteers from the 1980 games and our local youth organizations. When the parade arrives at the Olympic Center, the torch runners will take back over and run to the Horseshow Grounds for the Opening Ceremonies.

Opening Ceremonies

Friday, February 14 at 6 PM

Don't we all love the excitement of this every time we see it? The torch will be run onto the Horse Show Grounds at approximately 6 PM. Here we'll get to listen to the original speech given by Bernie Fell at the 1980 opening ceremonies. And we will celebrate our local Olympians from the past as well as the many volunteers who made the games possible. And, of course, light the torch!

Skate With Your Heart

Saturday, February 15 at 10 AM

This event will have special meaning to anyone who has ever skated in the Olympic Center. This free skating event is to honor a beloved member of our community who passed away from cardiac disease last year – Denny Allen. His wife has established the R. Dennis Allen Cardiac Prevention Fund and is hosting this free skating event at the Olympic Center in his honor. A must-do on my list!

Local members of the 2014 Winter Olympic team.
Local members of the 2014 Winter Olympic team.

Lake Placid's Olympic Legacy: An Athlete's Perspective

Monday, February 17 at 7 PM

Hosted by the Lake Placid Center for the Arts, this event will feature conversations with past, present, and future Olympians to get their perspective on Lake Placid's Olympic legacy and how it has and will impact their Olympic careers. The free event will feature :

  • Buzz Schneider – 1980 Olympic gold medalist in hockey. Member of the "Miracle on Ice" hockey team. Member of the US Hockey Hall of Fame.
  • Gordy Sheer – 1992 Olympic silver medalist in doubles luge. He currently resides in Lake Placid and is the Director of Marketing for USA Luge.
  • Erin Hamlin – Four-time Olympian and the first female American luger to medal in a Winter Olympics, winning a Bronze medal in Sochi in 2014. Erin made her home in Lake Placid during her Olympic career and continues to support USA Luge.
  • Tim Burke – An Olympic Biathlete from nearby Paul Smith's, NY was the first US Biathlete to win an overall World Cup (2009). He competed in 11 World Cups and 4 winter Olympics. Tim is currently a Biathlon coach.
  • Van Ledger – Jr. Olympian in 2020 in Biathlon. Van is a native of Lake Placid.
  • Maddy Cohen – Jr. Olympian in 2020 in Mono-Bobsled, a new sport, where Maddy is currently the only female member of the US team and resides in Lake Placid

Sk8 to Elimin8 Cancer

Tuesday, February 18 at 3 PM

One of a series of events around the country to raise funds for the Scott Hamilton CARES Foundation. This two-hour Frozen 5k will take place on the Olympic Speedskating Oval. Registration for the event is $25 and includes a free "S8 To Elimin8 Cancer" tee-shirt. This event will help to fund innovative research that treats cancer while sparing the patient. This event is being held in partnership with the Adirondack Health Institute. A great way to give back.

1980 Dream Team Gala and Skating Show

Tuesday, February 18 at 7 PM

Join Scott Hamilton and other members of the 1980 figure skating team as they celebrate 40 years since they skated in the Olympics in Lake Placid. Dinner will be held on the 1980 rink, followed by the show. How fun will this be? For more details visit whiteface.com.

Dan Jansen at the start line of his final race.
Dan Jansen at the start line of his final race.

Dan Jansen: Perseverance and Perspective

Saturday, February 22 at 7 PM

A memorable story of inspiration and triumph. Hear Jansen's heart-wrenching story in his own words—from missing his chance at an Olympic medal hours after hearing of his beloved sister's passing to triumphing in the 1994 Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway. Dan will be joining us here at High Peaks Resort for conversation and then an opportunity to meet and chat with Dan. This event is free and open to the public. For younger fans, Dan will also be appearing at the Lake Placid Public Library during their crafts event on Saturday morning from 10-12.

Oh my, I could go on and on. Other highlights you shouldn't miss include The Miracle Movie at the Palace Theatre (sponsored by Elderwood at Uihlein) or Trivia Night with the Lake Placid Rotary or a good old fashioned 1980s Pub Crawl at local bars. There will be fun zones in town every afternoon, vintage wine tastings, book signings, a Dale of Norway trunk show, and more. It's too much to list it all here.

We hope that you join us for this festive celebration of our Olympic legacy. See you there!

What was it like to be there in 1980?
These days, everyone has a camera in their pocket. But in 1980, things were different. The Lake Placid Olympic Museum will be opening two special 40th Anniversary exhibits: Totally 80s and Foretelling the Future – The National Weather Service at the 1980 Olympic Winter Games. For now, take a spin in Peabody's WABAC machine and browse these photos from the Lake Placid Olympic Museum archive.
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