The 1980 Lake Placid Olympics still resonates 40 years later

Scott Hamilton makes goose bumps by mentioning Lake Placid.

He was a 21-year-old newcomer to the Olympics, sitting in a dark theater when he felt his tapping.

“I was pulled out by the team captain in the middle of the movie,” recalled figure skating. “They tried to make me think I was being kicked out of the Olympics. Then they broke the news. I was so trembling that when I returned to the Olympic Village cafeteria, I poured some coffee and spilled it into my hand. I remember being there. “

Hamilton was just chosen to raise the American flag at the opening ceremony of the 1980 Winter Olympics in the village of Adirondack in northern New York, and was trying to understand its meaning.

“They had to nominate someone,” he said with a laugh. “I remember when they took it out and thought,” Is it flagging at the opening ceremony? ” You delete it immediately. There were many other people. ”

I didn’t even see the distant possibility.

“And then when it happened, he said,” What in the world? “

Hamilton finished fifth in men’s singles, just behind his teammates Charles Tikner (bronze) and David Sante. Four years later, he won a gold medal at the Sarajevo Games after winning the first three of four consecutive world titles.

“This was a breakthrough performance,” Hamilton said. “It was pretty cool and the crowd and their reaction was great. I was really optimistic about the future as it was entertaining the Olympics. Being at Lake Placid was exciting. The excitement level is beyond the Olympic description in your own backyard. ”

Forty years later, Hamilton will be one of many athletes returning to celebrate the Olympics in “The Miracle on Ice”-when the American hockey team disrupted the mighty Soviet Union-and five in Eric Heiden Two speed skating gold medals, all outside the element at record speed.

The celebration began on Friday night and the nine runners who blazed the fire in 1980 (Steve Simon, Susie Mink, John Beaumont, Carroll Arnold, Sandinoris, Debbie Richardson, Viva Legionson, Sean McDavit, Alison Carlson) Will appear. The lighting of the cauldron at the North Elba Showground is suitable for the festival.

An important moment for the village to host the 2023 Winter World University Convention, reminding one of the three resort towns to host the two Winter Olympics (St. Moritz in Switzerland and Innsbruck in Austria other). The village was transformed into a winter sports map by the 1932 Winter Olympics, and the 1980 Olympics helped turn the village into a year-round destination.

“It’s a big deal,” said 81-year-old Jim Shear, the son of Jack Shear, a gold medalist at the Olympics, his hometown hero. “We’ve been around for a long time. We’re very lucky to be part of a community that’s of interest to many people.”

Jack Shea won two speed skating gold medals in 1932 and 40 years later helped host the 1980 Olympics. He died at the age of 91 after a car crash on the eve of the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics. His grandson, Jimmy, was a skeleton and made Shias the first family of a three generation Olympian.

“Father, I would be proud of him,” said Jim Shea, who joined Nordic in Innsbruck in 1964 and saw his son earn money in Salt Lake City. “He was so proud of his involvement in the Olympics of all years. God, he loved it. He always had the pride of this community and no one I was not ashamed to speak. “

Most members of the US hockey team celebrate with the NHL’s Golden Knight on the exact anniversary of the blitz victory over the Soviet Union on February 22 in Las Vegas. But before joining his teammates, Buzz Schneider will appear on Lake Placid next week at an athlete’s forum.

Among more than 20 former Olympic athletes participating in public events, Dan Jansen, a gold medalist speed skater in 1994, and a 1980 U.S. figure called the “Dream Team” There are 11 members of the skate team. Cancer survivors who sponsor cancer donations in Santee, such as Lindafratian, Thai Babylonia, Michael Botticelli, and Tikner, and in oval shapes for Hamilton and speed skating.

Lake Placid games were held during an international upheaval. The Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, Iranian militants occupied the US embassy in Tehran, and the United States boycotted the Summer Olympics in Moscow later that year due to the situation in Afghanistan.

“Don’t underestimate their importance in Lake Placid given the legacy of the 1980 Winter Olympics,” said the 1980 local Chamber of Commerce and long-time owner of Miller Lake Inn. One Ed Weichlecht said, “Many Olympic hosts have become ambiguous at the end of the match, but this is not the case. We are pleased with them every day. It took place at an important time in history.

“Don’t forget how this community and game excites the whole country when it’s really needed.”

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