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Torch run set as village remembers 1980 winter games

February 12, 2015
By ANDY FLYNN - Editor ( , Lake Placid News

LAKE PLACID - Community boosters from the Torch Restoration Committee will be celebrating the village's heritage Friday, Feb. 13 as they mark the 35th anniversary of the XIII Olympic Winter Games with a torch run and re-lighting of the 1980 cauldron at the North Elba Showgrounds.

Spectators are encouraged to be at the showgrounds for the 6 p.m. start of the program. It is free.

"We are going to rekindle the hand-held torch in the center of the 1980 ice rink with some shavings and by rubbing together two hockey sticks that were from the 1980 U.S.-Russia game," said cauldron lighting organizer Jim Morganson. "We're going to use the old campfire technique and light the flame that way ... from the Miracle on Ice game."

Article Photos

The opening ceremony for the XIII Olympic Winter Games was held on Feb. 13, 1980 at the North Elba Showgrounds on state Route 73. The Olympic cauldron is still there and will be re-lit Friday to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the games.
(Photo — Lake Placid Olympic Museum)

Runners take the torch from the Olympic Center to the cauldron along Main Street and state Route 73, making stops along the way at various historic locations, including the Olympic Speedskating Oval, Art Devlin's Olympic Motor Inn, Mill Pond, Lamb Lumber, the town/village highway garage (the ABC Sports television building during the 1980 games) and to the North Elba Showgrounds. The run should take about 20 minutes.

"When you're at the showgrounds, you'll get the play-by-play," Morganson said.

As runners make their way along the route, an announcer will read an update from a script to the crowd surrounding the cauldron.

Nationally known announcer Greg O'Brien will be the master of ceremonies and sing the national anthem to start the program, which will include a tape recording of 1980 Lake Placid Olympic Organizing Committee President Rev. J. Bernard Fell's original opening ceremony speech. When the torch arrives at the showgrounds, it will be handed to Fell's family.

After Fell's speech, the torch will be run to Lake Placid Volunteer Fire Department Head Drive Matt Colby, who will ignite the cauldron.

The cauldron-lighting ceremony will be held on the 35th anniversary of the opening ceremonies of the 1980 Olympic Winter Games, which began around 3 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 13, 1980.

There will be no dignitaries there on Friday like there were 35 years ago, with Vice President Walter Mondale and New York Gov. Hugh Carey making speeches. And there will be no parade of athletes or balloons. To mark the beginning of the games, 25,000 helium-filled balloons were released into the air.

"I couldn't get an Adirondack Park Agency permit," Morganson quipped. "How's that for an answer?"



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