LAKE PLACID - Thirty years ago, a group of college kids and one 22-year-old united the United States like never before. Families were gathered around the television set, or spending as much time reading the sports page as they were the world and national news pages, wondering if this team will win again and could he skate to another Olympic gold medal. Each time the answer was yes, as the U.S. hockey team stunned the world winning gold and Eric Heiden won five Olympic speedskating gold medals, making the 1980 Olympic Winter Games one of the most memorable events in all of sports history.
While at the same time as the Olympic Winter Games will take place in February, in Vancouver, Canada, you can re-live that magical moment of 30 years ago, or create your own Olympic memories when Lake Placid celebrates the 30th anniversary of the XIII Olympic Winter Games.
"That was an incredible moment in history, not only for Lake Placid, but for the entire country," noted Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) president/CEO Ted Blazer. "Those Games will forever be remembered for overcoming the impossible, whether, it's a small Upstate New York village hosting the world's largest sporting event, or the U.S. hockey team defeating the heavily favored former-Soviet Union on their way to gold. And who can forget what Eric accomplished in speedskating or what Phil Mahre did in the alpine events. Moments and memories like these only come around once in a lifetime."
During Lake Placid's 30th anniversary celebration, Feb. 12-28, families and visitors will have the opportunity to visit and compete on the same venues that were used during the 1980 winter games. Families will have the opportunity to 'compete' against one another in the inaugural Gold Medal Games Family Edition which will feature a torch run, opening ceremonies and events including alpine skiing/snowboarding, biathlon target shooting, bobsled, curling, hockey skills, speedskating for medals and awards.
The 1980 torch will be re-lit on Saturday, Feb. 13. On Sunday, Feb. 14, visitors can embrace the greatest moment in American sports history with an opportunity to watch Disney's "Miracle" in the 1980 Olympic arena, the same arena where the U.S. Olympic hockey team stunned the former-Soviet Union before beating Finland on their way to the gold medal. The movie, starring Kurt Russell as the legendary U.S. team coach Herb Brooks, begins at 8:30 p.m., preceded by the debut of "Small Town, Big Dreams," at 7 p.m. Other Olympic themed movies will be shown throughout the two-week celebration in the Olympic Museum.
Additional activities include a viewing of the NHL's Stanley Cup, also in the Olympic Museum, Sunday, Feb. 14, toboggan races, fireworks and family style celebrations on Mirror Lake.
Families and visitors will be able to find all of the activities and 1980 Olympic venues courtesy of a family-style, illustrated map developed in a partnership with I Love New York and ORDA. I Love New York is using this map as a pilot program to encourage additional visitation to New York State attractions.
For more information on the 30th Anniversary of the Lake Placid Olympic Winter Games, log on to www.whitefacelakeplacid.com/family or www.whitefacelakeplacid.com.