Lake Placid Olympic Sites

When a small mountain town is honored with hosting the Olympics - for the second time - a few changes to the existing structures are sure to take place. The 1980 Games in Lake Placid saw several upgrades to the sites including: expansion of the Olympic Center to include two new arenas; a complete snow-making system being installed at Whiteface Mountain; the old ski jump being torn down and Lake Placid's existing 70- and 90-meter ski jumping towers being erected; and an Olympic Village being built to house the athletes.

History in the Making During the Games

  • American Eric Heiden skated to victory after victory in men's speed skating. Heiden won every event, earning five gold medals and breaking five Olympic records and one world record. 
  • The Austrians were so confident of their prowess in Alpine skiing at Whiteface Mountain that they imported and erected a building - the "Austria Haus" (still standing on Saranac Avenue) where they could celebrate their victories. Indeed, they were successful, winning four gold medals.
  • And, of course, then there was Hockey...

The Famous Miracle on Ice Arena

The U.S. Hockey Team captivated the world in what many consider the greatest Olympic victory ever. Under the guidance of coach Herb Brooks and leadership of captain Mike Eruzione, the team beat all but one of their challengers. Dubbed "The Miracle on Ice," their stunning 4-3 win over the Soviet Union is generally considered one of the greatest moments in sports history. The upset came en route to their gold medal victory over Finland. Visit the Herb Brooks Arena and feel the energy that still resonates.

Continued Use of the Winter Olympic Sites

The legacy of the 1980 Games has been preserved, and its heritage upheld, by the New York State Legislature, which created the Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) to ensure public enjoyment of the Olympic venues. You can tour many of the Olympic Sites and even take a luge or bobsled ride, no matter the season!

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