LAKE PLACID - A television crew from NBC Connecticut was in town last week gathering video for several segments that will air during the Sochi Olympic Winter Games in February.
The crew's visit is one of many from the media keeping local historians, and public relations and state Olympic Regional Development Authority officials busy during the buildup to the Sochi games, which begin Feb. 7 with the opening ceremony.
Photographer Dave Mulligan and feature reporter Jason Hawkins traveled from West Hartford, Conn. to tape interviews and B-roll for five Olympic pieces featuring Lake Placid, the only village in North America to host the Olympic Winter Games twice - in 1932 and 1980.
NBC Connecticut feature reporter Jason Hawkins, left, hands Lake Placid Olympic Museum ticket seller Steve Vassar a microphone before an interview Jan. 16. (Photo — Andy Flynn)
On Thursday, Jan. 16, they interviewed Lake Placid Olympic Museum director Alison Haas and ticket seller Steven Vassar, who is also well versed in the history of local bobsledding. Vassar showed Mulligan and Hawkins his favorite artifact on display at the museum: the gold medal Lake Placid resident Charles Jewtraw won for speed skating during the 1924 Olympic Winter Games in Chamonix, France.
"It was the first Winter Olympic gold medal won ever on this planet," Vassar said.
For the other segments, Hawkins took a ride down the luge run at Mount Van Hoevenberg, interviewed junior Olympic hopefuls at USA Luge and spoke with North Elba Supervisor Roby Politi about some of the misconceptions of Lake Placid. For example, many think Mirror Lake is actually Lake Placid and many don't know that there is a town of North Elba as well as a village of Lake Placid.
"It is sort of a 'Lake Placid's awesome' sort of piece," Mulligan said.
The two-man crew was also looking forward to visiting the U.S. Olympic Training Center to spend time with the Ashley Walden, operations coordinator for the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation.
"I'm going to learn how to jump into a bobsled," Hawkins said.
Mulligan grew up in Albany and has visited Lake Placid before in the summer, and he still loves it.
"I guess the best word is quaint," Mulligan said.
This was the first visit to Lake Placid for Hawkins, who was impressed with the scenery.
"It's made for a lot of really good beauty shots for our pieces," Hawkins said. "It's the kind of place you wish you lived."