1980sABCOlympicsOther Sports

Olympics – 1980 Lake Placid – Closing Ceremony – IOC Lord Killanin & Finale


The closing of every the 13th Winter Olympics was a happy experience….which left a hole in the hearts of all of those who participated….and all of those who watched…..leaving memories that will last a lifetime…..as no HUMAN who watched the Lake Placid Winter Games will ever forget these highlights of the Games:

  • The United States men’s ice hockey team….composed mostly of collegiate players and not predicted to advance beyond group play….won the gold medal…..after defeating the heavily favored Soviet team and Finland in the medal round.  The United States team’s 4–3 win over the Soviet team….which came into the 1980 Games having won 4 consecutive Olympic gold medals….became known as the “Miracle on Ice” in the US press. The win captured the hearts of Americans during a time of Cold War tensions….even though it was the win against Finland that captured the gold medal. (The Soviet team ultimately won the silver medal.)

  • Eric Heiden of the United States won gold in the 500m, 1000m, 1500m, 5000m, and 10,000m speed skating events….setting 4 Olympic records and 1 world record (10,000m) in the process….while delivering 83% of the American gold medals (the only other gold, as noted above, was won by the hockey team). Heiden became the first to ever win all five speed skating events….and is still the only athlete to win 5 gold medals at one Winter Games.

  • Sweden’s Ingemar Stenmark won both the giant slalom and the slalom.

  • Hanni Wenzel won the women’s giant slalom and slalom….making Liechtenstein the smallest country to produce an Olympic champion

  • Ulrich Wehling of East Germany and Irina Rodnina of the USSR won their respective events for the third time, Wehling in Nordic combined and Rodnina in pairs figure skating

  • Aleksandr Tikhonov of the USSR earned his fourth straight gold medal as part of the 4 x 7.5m biathlon relay team.

  • Nikolay Zimyatov of the USSR earned three gold medals in cross-country skiing.

  • Robin Cousins won gold for Great Britain in the men’s singles figure skating.

  • East Germany won the most medals overall (23) but had fewer golds (9) than the USSR (10).

  • In possibly the most dramatic duel of the games, Sweden’s Thomas Wassberg edged Finland’s Juha Mieto in the 15 km cross-country skiing by 0.01 seconds, the closest margin of victory ever in Olympic cross-country skiing. This led the International Ski Federation (ISF) to time all events to the nearest 1/10 second in the future.

  • Although they did not get any medals, the People’s Republic of China entered the Olympics Games for the first time after the IOC agreed to designate the Republic of China “Chinese Taipei”.

  • Lake Placid 1980 marked the first use of artificial snow in Olympic competition.

  • Lake Placid 1980 was the last Olympics to be opened by the Vice President of the United States, as 1980 was a Presidential election year.


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