Flashback: Lake Placid 1980

I saw a guy over the weekend with one of the blue and yellow parkas workers wore 30 years ago at the Olympics in Lake Placid. Hey, you were at the Olympics?

“Yes. They brought me in to fix the transportation mess with the buses.”

Oh, really? They brought me in to sell chili in one of the parking lots.

In 1980 I was a freshman at SUNY Plattsburgh. In February, they closed the school for two weeks and we all got jobs at the Olympics. Since I once served hot dogs for Harry M. Stevens at Roosevelt Raceway, I was hired to manage a food concession stand in a parking lot in Wilmington.

Not the best gig in the world — but along with my job came some true Olympic gold: accreditation that would get me in to every Olympic venue. When I wasn’t working, I was attending Olympic events.

After a few days it was clear that people were not interested in dining in the parking lot. We were consuming more food than we sold, so they eventually shut us down. I was never reassigned, but still got paid for the remainder of the Games — and I got to keep my accreditation. My job became wandering around Lake Placid watching the Olympics.

Security was practically non-existent — but it was impossible to get in to the U.S. hockey games without a ticket unless you really belonged there. I did manage to see the USSR play Sweden for the silver and bronze. That was great, but the best part was what followed: the  U.S. team came out and took the podium to be crowned Olympic champs. And like in Vancouver last night, the town went nuts.

4 thoughts on “Flashback: Lake Placid 1980

  1. Plattsburg 1980?

    You have achieved cynicism early in your life, 😉

    Was it working in journalism that did it?

  2. Cynical? Nah, I’m more of the bemused type.

    BTW: Saying I worked in journalism is like saying the guy who shovels out the stables at Saratoga works in the horse racing industry — but thanks. 🙂

  3. I met Mike Eruzione in Munich in ’75. I was a high school kid on a class trip and he was on the US natl team that got pounded to dust by the Czechs. The US team was staying at a downtown hotel but hung out at the more student-y place we were in and hitting on some of our friends.

    Another guy and I went down to the team’s hotel next day and he gave me a Buzz Schneider hockey stick. Nice Northland. I used it in intramural games for two years, chipped all to hell…but I still have it. Not a 1980 Olympics stick, but a stick of a 1980 Olympian. I’ll never get rid of it.

  4. Ah, Roosevelt Raceway!!! I never actually saw a harness race there, but from ’76 to ’80 or so, we used to ride our bikes over from Mitchel Field on a fairly regular basis to trawl the awesome flea markets they had there. Never before or since have I seen such an outstanding assembly of black velvet paintings, bongs, brass knuckles, wrist-rockets, and yet more bongs.

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