It All Began in 1932.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

When we think of Lake Placid and the Olympics, 1980 has become the benchmark of how we define the Winter Games with MOI (Miracle on Ice), and Eric Heiden's five gold medals.

But in many ways the modern Olympics began with Placid's 1932 Games. '32 was the first time the medals podium was used (see left as Placid native Jack Shea is the first athlete in Olympic history to stand on the "victor's podium" with his 500m speedskating win).

Placid was the first to broadcast over the airwaves (radio - 10 million listeners).

Other firsts:
  • Women's speedskating.
  • Two-man bobsled.
  • Dog-sled racing. (Imagine drug-testing those athletes!).
  • First and only athlete to win a gold medal in the summer AND winter games - Eddie Egan.
  • First female flag-bearer (Britain).
  • The first time figure skating was held indoors.
  • First Olympics in North America.

And don't forget that Placid was the first Winter Games with corporate sponsors.

And yes...Coke was one of them.



With One Phone Call It all Changed

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Mention the name Dewey in Lake Placid and most folks will point to the site of the former Lake Placid Club or perhaps mention how Melvil created the Dewey Decimal system used worldwide to catalog libraries. But for most, the Dewey legacy ends there. few if any realize that without Melvil's quiet bespectacled son Godfrey there would be no bob run, no indoor skating arena, no speedskating oval and no Lake Placid 1932 and 1980 Olympics.

Nor do they know about how it all started with one phone call in December 1927 and a question, "Would Lake Placid be interested in hosting the Olympics?"

If not for Godfrey, that phone call and his 1927-1928 trip through Europe's winter sports venues, the landscape, economic climate and the very definition of Lake Placid and the surrounding area would be very different today.

What Godfrey witnessed on that 10-week fact-finding trip and as U.S. Ski team manager at the 1928 Games in St. Moritz convinced him that-despite the Great Depression, rival American bid committees, and horrified local residents - Placid could and should host the 1932 Games. And Godfrey's vision allowed him to create the institutions that would become the cornerstones to Lake Placid's Olympic legacy.

Sometimes a phone call is all it takes.



Here We Go!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Five years, hundreds, maybe thousands of hours and more ups and downs than we could possibly keep count...

In two days our film Small Town, Big Dreams: Lake Placid's Olympic Story, begins its journey on the national airwaves with the first broadcast on Mountain Lake PBS, Friday at 8pm. Just in time for the 30th anniversary of the Miracle on Ice.

And we finally find out if the dream to tell the story of how Lake Placid became a winter Olympic sports capital was worth all that work.



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