Lake Placid still has the Olympic spirit

Updated: 02/11/2014 5:54 PM
Created: 02/11/2014 3:37 PM WHEC.com
By: Scott Kilbury

About a half day’s drive from Rochester is an Olympic substitute with just about everything you can get at the Sochi games except the lodging and transportation headaches.

Lake Placid, New York knows all about the winter games.  It's a small village in the Adirondacks that is overflowing with Olympic pride.  

Geoff Neu, Lake Placid resident, said, “It is neat to have a small town feel. People on a regular basis, but it is neat to bump into someone from Europe, Asia or anywhere in the world.”

George Hubbell, Plattsburgh resident, said, “So quaint cool. You never know who is walking the street.”

Lake Placid, New York is a quaint village that’s hidden five and a half hours northeast of Rochester. It is hidden in the middle of the Adirondacks and it appears to be frozen in time. The village itself remains nearly unchanged over the last 34 years. That was the last time it hosted the biggest international event in the world.

James McKenna, Visitor Bureau, said, “It’s been 81 years since we hosted the 1932 games and thirty odd years since the 1980 games and you know we still have the spirit.”

The Olympic spirit is alive and well in Lake Placid every day of the year. It’s the only city in America that has hosted two Winter Olympic Games.

Jon Lundin said, “We think it is our birth right to host the Olympics. We did it in 1932. Ask anyone, 10 out of 10 people would say yes.”

On any given day, you’ll see Old Glory gracing the glass behind shop windows and even the Olympic rings proudly hoisted in front of some homes.

David McCaslind said, “I was little. It's still alive in this town for sure.”

Dave is like many of the 2,500 residents in Lake Placid. The family has some kind of tie to the games.

McCaslind said, “My brother works filming the Olympics. He's been a few times and my father was active. We have a lot of memorabilia and memories.”

International flags also stand waving in the ski line at the end of the oval where Eric Heiden won five goal medals at the edge of the Olympic Center where the world witnessed the Miracle on Ice.

Lake Placid is the only city in the U.S. to have an athlete represent America at every Winter Olympics. This year, eight athletes made the team in various sports.

Neu said, “You see people constantly up here and out in the community and low and behold, there’s always someone that's training and you see them out and it's neat to see them competing at the international level. We're always excited about the Olympics.”

The Olympic Training Facility attracts athletes from across the country and develops all that homegrown talent.

Lundin said, “Lake Placid to the Olympics is like what Cooperstown is to baseball. When you come to Lake Placid, you have no choice but to feel the Olympic spirit. It surrounds you.”

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