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Anniversary of the 1980 Olympic games

January 30, 2010

We will hear many times about February 2010 being the 30th Anniversary of the XIII Olympic Winter Games held in Lake Placid and as well we should.

Lake Placid hosted the 3rd Olympic Winter Games in 1932. There are only two other locations in the world that have ever held the Games twice Innsbruck, Austria in 1964 and 1976 and St. Moritz, Switzerland in 1928 and 1948.

The U.S.A. earned a unique distinction from the 1932 Games, maybe not as big as the college kids of the U.S. hockey team beating the mighty Russian Army team in 1980 but how about this

Article Photos

Above, from left to right, Mayor Robert Peacock, Newbold Black, president of the USOC, Ron MacKenzie and Rev. J. Bernard Fell meeting in the USOC offices in Lausanne just before making their presentation to the IOC in January 1973.
(Photo— Howard Riley)

The Olympic Winter Games held in Lake Placid in 1932 were the first and only at which the U.S. won the medal count.

We came close in the Winter Games of 2002 and 2006, finishing second in total medal count in both Games. Maybe 2010 will be our time when we win the medal count again as the U.S. athletes (numbering 220) enter the Games in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, which will be held Feb. 12 to 28. There will be more than 80 countries and 2,500 athletes competing.

In 1932, there were 252 athletes competing (21 were women), and in 1980, there were 1300 athletes entered.


The countries entered in 1980

Following is the line of procession (in alphabetical order by country, except for Greece in the lead and the host country entering last) of the competing countries as they entered for the 1980 opening ceremonies:

Greece, Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Bulgaria, Canada, China (for the first time), Costa Rica, Cyprus, Czechoslovakia, Federal Republic of Germany, Finland (the U.S beat Finland for the Gold Medal), France, German Democratic Republic, Great Britain (remember the story of the British bobsledders who went missing and were never found after wandering into the Barmuda Triangle - the Chubb River Tavern, the Newman Opera House and the Handlebar), Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Japan (Russia beat Japan in hockey 16 to 0); Korea, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taipei, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Yugoslavia and the United States of America.

I?just love the PR?business

Well, with that 30th Anniversary upon us I am getting a lot of ink, as they say in the newspaper business, because there are not that many around who went to Switzerland with the bid team in 1973 and also attended the famous U.S.-Russian hockey game.

It isn't ink I'm getting, per se, but TV time. Jon Lundin, Public Relations Coordinator at ORDA with his assistant Wendy Townley make up the dynamic duo who race from venue to venue, PRing all over the place, that have scheduled me for interviews about the 1980 Games with John Kucko, Sports Director at WROC - TV in Rochester and with WPTZ-TV in Plattsburgh.


How were the 1980 games awarded?

Naturally, the bid team that went to Lausanne, Switzerland in 1974 and made the formal bid to the IOC to host the 1980 Olympic Winter Games was successful.

However, it is my opinion, but a pretty widely held opinion in these here parts, that the bid team that went to Lausanne in January 1973 was the team that won the bid to host the Games in 1980.

I went with that group as a reporter, thanks to Bill Doolittle, then publisher of the Adirondack Daily Enterprise, so I made a lot of observations first hand, and I had also covered previous bids by Lake Placid before the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).

That bid group, which blew them away in Lausanne, especially the press, who were constantly after the guys for interviews, included Rev. J. Bernard Fell, Ronald M. MacKenzie, Mayor Robert Peacock, village attorney Norm Hess, Senator Ronald Stafford and William (Bunny) Sheffield.

After that incredible bid in January 1973, I believe that the IOC members sat in that back room and said, "We ought to give Lake Placid a shot at the 1980 Games."



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