LAKE PLACID - A year ago, visitors watched Clarkson University's hockey team beat rival St. Lawrence University in the Festivus Faceoff during the Lake Placid Holiday Village Stroll weekend. This year, the skaters look much different.
Without a big-time hockey match to draw the crowds, Village Stroll organizers were looking for an event at the Olympic Arena to entertain the crowds, and they'll get the Sunday Night Skating Show.
The show will start at 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8 in the 1932 Rink, capping off a weekend full of family-friendly events for the sixth annual Holiday Village Stroll, designed to attract visitors to Lake Placid for Christmas shopping.
Oleg and Ludmila Protopopov
"It's a throwback to ice shows of the past," said skating show organizer Christie Sausa, who is president of the Skating Club of Lake Placid, secretary of the Lake Placid Speed Skating Club and operates the Lake Placid Skate Shop with her mother, Linda. "What we're trying to do is celebrate the holidays and the history of Lake Placid."
Sausa said there will be "a little bit of everything" during the show, including holiday-themed numbers and historical re-enactments.
"We have a Sonja Henie re-enactment, a 1980 hockey team re-enactment and an Eric Heiden re-enactment," Sausa said.
Henie was a Norwegian figure skater who made her Olympic debut at the age of 11 in 1924 at the first Olympic Winter Games in Chamonix, France. She finished last but persevered to win gold medals in three more Olympics: St. Moritz, Switzerland in 1928, Lake Placid in 1932 and Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany in 1936.
When the U.S. men's hockey team beat the powerhouse team from the U.S.S.R. 4-3 during the 1980 Olympics, it was called the "Miracle on Ice." The U.S. team would go on to win the gold medal that year against Finland.
Heiden won an unprecedented five gold medals in speed skating during the 1980 games on the outdoor rink located in front of the Lake Placid High School. He set an Olympic record with each medal. He was the first person to win five gold medals in the same Olympic games.
The show will feature skaters from around the Champlain Valley, Olympic hopefuls and Olympic champions.
In costume as Sonja Henie will be Karen Courtland Kelly, a 1994 Olympian in pairs figure skating well know in Lake Placid. Her husband Patrick Kelly - a 1992 and 1994 speed skating Olympian from Canada - will be performing on the ice as well.
Special guests and two-time Olympic gold medalists Oleg and Ludmila Protopopov will be performing. This husband-and-wife team first captured Olympic gold for the U.S.S.R. in 1964 in Innsbruck, Austria and repeated as Olympic pairs champions in 1968 in Grenoble, France. They defected from the Soviet Union in 1979, moving to Switzerland, and became Swiss citizens in 1995. At ages 81 and 78, respectively, Oleg and Ludmila have been skating, coaching and training in Lake Placid for decades.
"We have kids from all over New York and Vermont," Sausa said. "And we have the Vermont Children's Theatre on Ice, which is a theatrical group on ice. And that's a division of figure skating where it's more artistry based."
Admission for the skating show is $8 for adults, $5 for children 7 and older, and free for children 6 and under. For more information, contact Sausa by phone at 518-637-8078 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.