Taking a look back at the 1980 Winter Games in Lake Placid

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LAKE PLACID, New York–“The first gold medal of the Winter Games went to someone from Lake Placid,” said Jim Rodgers, Scheduling Coordinator of the 1980 Games and Lake Placid Tour Guide.

In 1980, when Lake Placid hosted the winter games for the second time, the pressure was on.

“We were the only people who really believed we could pull off an Olympics. As a matter of fact I think that the International Olympic Committee felt that if we didn’t pull of the Winter Olympics, there would’ve been no more winter games.”

“You have to remember in the late 1970’s and going into those Olympics America was really not in a good place. The country was looking for something to rally against,” said Jon Lundin, Public Relations Coordinator of ORDA.

“We just didn’t feel good about America, and then along came that hockey game,” said Rogers.

It was one team, one unbeatable rival, and one miracle that changed it all.

“When the US beat the Soviet Union en route to the Gold Medal, people who are 33-years-old and older can tell you exactly what they were doing, what they were eating, what they were wearing who they were with.”

It was here on February 22nd 1980 that 11,000 people packed themselves into the herb brooks arena to experience the miracle on ice…but on delayed broadcast on television, 33 million Americans tuned in to experience a moment that was unprecedented in the history of television.”

“That hockey game changed it for America”

Case in point -TV rights for the 1980 Olympics cost $15 million versus $775 million for the Sochi games, just over 30 years later.
“It allows us to sustain our legacy going back 33 years and allows us to build a legacy going further,” said Lundin.

That legacy has cemented Lake Placid as one of the pillars of the Olympic Games.

“If you have a dream of being a Winter Olympian somewhere, someday, you’re going to have to make your way through to Lake Placid.”

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