Lake Placid NY: And the Miracle On Ice

The Village of Lake Placid, New York lies nestled in the beautiful Adirondack Mountains. Located in the region known as the tri-lake area, comprised of Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, and Tupper Lake; Lake Placid is home to approximately 2,600 New Yorkers, and is a favorite place to visit for winter sports enthusiasts who find facilities for ice skating, snow skiing, snow boarding, and various other outdoor winter activities. Whiteface Mountain is also located here, with its tallest mountain peak reaching up to 4,687 feet.  Lake Placid / Whiteface Mountain was the site of the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympic Games and is home to the Herb Brooks Arena where visitors can attend international and national ice skating competitions, hockey matches, and many other special events. The 1932 and 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympic Museum is located in the Olympic Center. Visitors to the museum can view artifacts preserved from the two Lake Placid Olympic Games.

The 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympics arrived during a difficult time in the United States’ and the Soviet Union’s relationship. The countries were deep in the midst of the Cold War, the Soviet Union had just invaded Afghanistan, and it was unclear whether the Soviet athletes would attend. In all, 37 nations sent representative athletes to Lake Placid to participate in the 1980 Winter Olympic Games, including the Soviet Union. The team representing the United States in Lake Placid had 150 members and, while Germany and the Soviet Union each went home with more gold medals than the United States, the Team USA won 12 gold medals and created Olympic history. Eric Heiden, a then 21-year-old speed skater, won five of the 12 gold medals by setting four Olympic Records and breaking one World Record. Heiden achieved this by winning all five Olympic distance skating gold medals. This is a feat that has not been repeated.

One of the most memorable occurrences of the 1980 Olympics was “The Miracle on Ice.”  “The Miracle on Ice” was the name given to the game in which the American Team defeated the Soviet Team and won the Olympic gold medal in Olympic hockey.  The game was tight. The United States Team, with its members Buzz Schneider, Mark Johnson, and Mike Eruzione, scored four goals and narrowly defeated the Soviets, who had scored only three. Beating the Soviet Union Hockey Team during the Cold War, a team thought to be the best in the world, was a huge victory for the American psyche.  USA’s Team, consisting of 20 college hockey players, was coached by Herb Brooks, an NCAA coach and two time US Olympic hockey player. Brooks was known as a tough coach, but his method of coaching won out in the end. In 2004, Disney released the movie Miracle that tells the story of the hockey victory. Kurt Russell plays the part of Brooks. The Olympic Center in Lake Placid, New York was renamed the Herb Brooks Arena in 2005 to honor the team and their victory.

 

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