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ON THE SCENE: Olympic memories shared at memorabilia show

January 23, 2014
By NAJ WIKOFF , Lake Placid News

Denise Bujold's most memorable 1980 Olympic moment was being stuck on Mill Hill in a bus.

"I said to the driver, 'We have to get to the opening ceremony! We have a lot of important people here. We have Madame Berlioux, all of the IOC people, heads of the national sports authorities.' He said, 'We can't. I can't go anywhere! If I pull out, I am not going to go anywhere.' So we waited, and waited, and waited, and were late getting to the opening ceremonies. We walked in as they were playing the national anthem and, of course, their seats were all in the front row."

The Olympic Memories and Memorabilia event held at the High Peaks Resort Friday, Jan. 17 was filled with people sharing not just the glory moments of witnessing the "Miracle on Ice" but many times when Murphy's Law was in full force. There's simply a lot of laughter and tears shed by people sharing the many crazy experiences they had as well as those of excitement.

Article Photos

Natalie Leduc, of Saranac Lake, shows her pin collection. (Photo — Naj Wikoff)

Organized by Lori Fitzgerald, High Peak Resort's director of marketing - with a great deal of cooperation from the Lake Placid Olympic Museum, the Lake Placid-North Elba Historical Society and several local collectors - the event brought in a constant roll of people many of whom were involved as members of the Lake Placid Olympic Organizing Committee's staff or volunteers, all of whom who had a story to tell. It was one of those events where people lingered because there was yet another juicy tale of woe, naughtiness or excitement that you just didn't want to miss. If the entire edition of this paper were available, there would not be enough space to record all those told, but enjoy these few.

"My office was in the corner on the third floor of the town hall, so I could see the oval and I watched Eric Heiden win four of his gold medals literally from my office," said Bill Kissell. "For the fifth one, which was to take place on a Saturday, I said to my wife, 'I want to be rink side,' so we grabbed our girls who were 7 and 10, went over, and watched the race. After the race, I took the girls to the conference held in the high school where they met Heiden, who was the nicest man. He put his hat on one of them, and then as we got up to leave, in came Herb Brooks with a couple hockey players the morning after the Russian game. I think he had Jim Craig with him. I said, 'Wait a minute! We are not going any place.' Someone in the press said, 'Oh, you are going to win the gold medal.' Brooks said, 'Stop it! We may win nothing! We may win a bronze medal. We have another game to go.'"

"I was the deputy director of marketing," said Doug Brown. "I spent most of my time on licensing, sponsorship and sponsor services. During the games, I was at Whiteface every day making sure our sponsor VIPs got to where they needed to go and were well taken care of. I saw all the skiing events. I saw Phil Mahre win his silver medal. I saw Eric Heiden win three of his gold medals. Unbelievable. The power and grace of that man was great to see. Marylou's folks and my parents were here. Unfortunately, my father passed away four months after the games. He was a speed skater in his day, so it was great that he got to see Heiden win while he was here. It was a big deal for him."

"My favorite moment was the opening ceremony, which was incredibly special, and the realization that everything that this community had set its hopes and dreams on, and had worked on since 1976, had started," said current Lake Placid Mayor Craig Randall.

"I have a copy of the bid presentation book that the boys from Lake Placid took with them to Lucerne (Switzerland) to secure the games," said David Jones, showing it to me. "I think it was printed in 1974. They handed these out to the IOC members. This one belonged to Dr. Robert F. Madden, who took some of the photographs in the book that showed what the IOC members could expect and what Lake Placid is all about. He took photographs along with Jim Barry, Jim Barry Jr., and Larry Barry, and Barry and Wilson printed this. There was only 300 printed. There can't be many still around."

"I think collecting brings forth the Olympic spirit in everybody," said Tom Burke, who had approximately 200 of his 1,000-plus pin collection on display. "The trading of pins, the sharing of stories, is a phenomenal experience for everyone involved. I got into trading pins by just being an Olympic enthusiast and enjoying sports. The pins themselves are representations of sports, the actions and the memories, so by enjoying sports and participating as a spectator lends itself to pin trading."

"My favorite Olympic memory was when the United States beat the Russians," said Art Devlin. "I was at home watching the motel. I was inside the house and could hear the roar from inside the arena inside my house. It was that loud! You could hear the horns blowing. I was never around for Victory in Europe Day but it must have sounded similar."

"I was here for both Olympics," said Paul Reiss. "My memory of the 1932 Olympics is kind of faded because I was only a year and a half old at the time. For 1980, what I remember most was witnessing the Miracle on Ice and the ski jumping. There were 50 contestants, and they each made two jumps. One hundred jumps. There was only one fall."

"My greatest memory from the 1980 games probably was christening the 120 on Feb. 1, 1979 for the pre-games," said Jay Rand. "Joe Lamb was picked to set the tracks on the 90, and I was picked for the 120. It was one of the last things as a competitor that I did. I still remember being up there. They had plastic on the start surface that we didn't know had to be covered with snow.

"ABC was there, so I wanted to make a nice long jump. We set the start all the way to the top to get good speed. When I kicked off, I actually stuck on the plastic and almost went right on my head at the start. We got the snow on it and I went on to have a really fantastic jump. I remember the steel workers telling us that we were crazy and then they would be jumping over the side on to tiny beams to walk on about 200 feet above the ground. It's all in one's perspective."

"I was in charge of collecting and distributing all the uniforms and was in charge of volunteers," said Georgia Jones. "Once the games started, I didn't have much to do, so I had fun. I had a good time. I had too many memorable experiences to pick one or be willing to tell about it."

 
 

 

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