I learned how to skate when I was three years old, the love of skating and being out on the ice was a passion my parents had passed on to me. By the age of five I had absolutely fallen in love with the sport of Figure Skating. I remember watching and cheering on my idol, Michele Kwan in the 1998 and 2002 Olympic Winter Games. I recall seeing Tara Lipinski capturing the coveted gold medal, causing an upset in the 2002 games. Glory and heartbreak are all part of what make the Olympics such a powerful and highly anticipated event.
Lake Placid has hosted not one, but two Olympic Winter Games. The pride in this community continues to be felt even decades after our last time hosting the games. For some locals, the Olympics have become a part of their own heritage. Many families can share with you their own personal story about the Olympics especially when it comes to the 1980 winter games. There is a tangible spark when people reminiscence about their own experiences they had during that very special time. Even in my own family my father fondly talks about being behind the USA net during the “Miracle on Ice” game and the celebrating that took place after team USA won.
Having skated in the 1980 rink many times I would often imagine the excitement and passion surging through the air during that game. The feeling the fans and athletes must have had after such an incredible accomplishment is a once in a lifetime experience. At that time in our American history the victory on the ice was more than a hockey game, it was an uplift our nation needed. I think that’s why the Winter Games have continued to be an integral part of the culture in Lake Placid and all over the world.
Speaking of excitement and games past, gearing up for Sochi has been an exhilarating task for Lake Placid. Why go to Russia when you can have the Olympic experience right here? From mid January to the end of February there will be events catered to the Olympics. From lighting the Olympic Flame Cauldron to a 1980 Winter Games Trivia Contest there will be plenty to do. At each of the Olympic venues there will be life-sized cut outs of 7 local athletes and trading cards to collect. If you’re afraid you might miss some of the action taking place, there will be a 9’ x 12’ LED Board in Mid’s Park located on Main Street in Lake Placid where you can watch the on going competition.
If you prefer the more hands on approach, make a note that all of the Olympic Venues are still in full swing! Bring your own skates or rent a pair and skate on the Olympic Oval. Feel the rush going down the bobsled track or peer down the ski jumping ramps to gain an athletes perspective. Of course, you can always go to Whiteface and ski or snowboard on one of the highest peaks in the east. Just to name a few options thrill seekers may crave.
What I find most interesting about this small town nestled in the Adirondacks, is that many Olympians past and present call Lake Placid their home. Not only do we have historic Olympic families like the Lussi’s or Shea’s that still reside in the Lake Placid community, we have talented athletes who just competed in Vancouver who are choosing to train and live here. They are integral parts of the Lake Placid community and part of what makes this place so magical; helping the Olympic Spirit thrive even in non-Olympic years. It doesn’t surprise me that most people who visit here want to stay because Lake Placid has it’s own little bubble feel to it. I know that’s what made me drawn to this area.