On this day of ABC’s broadcast of the 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympics….the viewer get to see coverage of the men competing in figure skating, speed skating, hockey and slalom in skiing.
This was possibly the most wide-open men’s Olympic championship…..with nobody that had established himself as the world’s best figure skater since John Curry turned professional after the 1976 Winter Olympics. There were four main contenders….Robin Cousins (Great Britian), who was second at the 1979 World Championship…. the 1980 European Champion Vladimir Kovalyov] of the Soviet Union….Charlie Tickner of the USA, the 1978 World Champion….and Jan Hoffmann of East Germany, who was runner-up at the 1977-78 Worlds and European Champion in 1977-79. Hoffmann jumped into the lead after the compulsory figures, with Tickner second and Cousins fourth….while Kovalyov placed fifth and withdrew from the competition, due to illness. Cousins won the short program with Hoffmann second and Tickner only fifth. Going into the free skate, Hoffmann still led, with Cousins second and Tickner third….but Cousins also won the free skate to win the gold medal over Hoffmann with Tickner taking the bronze. Cousins received the only 6.0 in figure skating at Lake Placid, in his short program….while the Americans would placed 3-4-5….with David Santee fourth and future Olympic gold medal winner Scott Hamilton placing fifth.
The men’s 1500m speed skating event took place on February 21st at the James B. Sheffield Olympic Skating Rink….which featured, as history has proved, the greatest speed skater in Olympic competition, USA Eric Heiden, who would eventually win 5 gold medals in all 5 men’s olympic speed skating events….the 500m, 1000m, 1500m, 5000m and 10,000m….with Olympic Records in all but the 10,000m….where he set a World Record. Eric The Great won gold in this 1500m race with a time of 1:55.44 (OR)….with Kay Arne Stenshjemmet and Terje Andersen…both of Norway….taking the silver and bronze medal respectively.
This video then provides the viewing public with highlights of the 3rd and final period of The Miracle on Ice….as the USA took on the mighty USSR hockey team in what amounted to one of the greatest upsets in Olympic sports history, as a “rag tag team of collegiate hockey players defeated the giant bears from the North” on their way to Olympic gold.
As ABC turned it cameras to snow skiing and the men’s slalom event….the viewer once again gets to see an unlikely American ascend to the medal stand….as Phil Mahre would take the silver medal….while the outstanding Swede Ingemar Stenmark took gold and Switzerland’s Jacques Luthy would win bronze.
Any way you cut the pie….this was an outstanding day for the US Olympic team at Lake Placid….which makes this a “nugget of gold” in the Imasportsphile treasure chest of “vintage sports memories”….making this MUST SEE TV for any Olympic fan.