LAKE PLACID - Residents and visitors can re-live the 1980 Olympic Winter Games during the Winter Games Memories & Memorabilia event Friday, Jan. 17 at the High Peaks Resort.
Located at the corner of Saranac Avenue and Main Street, the High Peaks Resort was built in 1979 as the Lake Placid Hilton on the site of the Homestead Inn, which was razed prior to construction. The name changed in 2008.
"This hotel was the headquarters for ABC Sports during the (1980) Olympics, so there's a lot of history that sits within this building," said Lori Fitzgerald, director of marketing and brand management at High Peaks Resort and president of the Lake Placid Business Association. "This really was one of the hubs of activity during the games, and so we thought it would be a good idea to revive this sense of spirit, as the rest of the community is doing, and touch on our place in the 1980 Olympics."
1980 Olympic Winter Games tickets (Photo provided)
In anticipation of the upcoming Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Lake Placid is hosting a number of events to highlight its place in Olympic history, having hosted the games in 1932 and 1980. The Winter Games Memories & Memorabilia event is part of the month-long celebration and will showcase two local storytellers and two memorabilia experts.
"It really was an effort to bring some community pride together," Fitzgerald said.
The featured storytellers will be Lake Placid's James Rogers III, the former owner of WNBZ 1240-AM in Saranac Lake, and Saranac Lake's Howard Riley, a former editor of the Adirondack Daily Enterprise. They'll each be telling a story about their Olympic experiences and history.
"Jim was part of the (Lake Placid Olympic) Organizing Committee, and so he brings the perspective of how the games came here," Fitzgerald said. "He was one of the North Country boys who helped bring these games here."
The 1980 games in Lake Placid marked a turning point for the Winter Olympics, as they've grown larger and more commercial since being in the Adirondack Park. That year is considered to be the final year for the small-town Olympics. And one major theme that contributed to its success in 1980 was the sense of volunteerism.
"That's what made these games happen," Fitzgerald said. "It was a whole bunch of people volunteering to do something that they thought was really good for their community."
The two memorabilia experts will be WSLP 93.3-FM owner and Lake Placid Olympic Museum board member Jonathan Becker, and Don Bigsby, who established and heads the world's largest Olympic memorabilia club, Olympin. There will also be pin collectors showing their wares at the event.
Free and open to the public, the event will be held from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. in the High Peaks Resort's main ballroom and will include the screening of a rare promotional film for the 1980 Olympic Winter Games. In addition, there will be a showcase of 1980 Winter Games memorabilia, complete with "Antiques Roadshow"-style appraisers. Those with 1980 games collectibles are encouraged to bring them.
Becker is an appraiser, and while he won't be performing formal appraisals or buying memorabilia during the event, he can point people in the right direction.
"He will be able to tell people whether items are of value," Fitzgerald said.
The event is being held in partnership with the Lake Placid-North Elba Historical Society and the Lake Placid Olympic Museum.
For more information, contact Lori Fitzgerald at 518-523-4411 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.