Flashback: Lake Placid 1980

I don’t usually re-post things, but the Olympics have me feeling nostalgic. This post originally ran on March 1, 2010.

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.

One thought on “Flashback: Lake Placid 1980

  1. My buddy Rod and I were up there for the day. Went to see ski jumping. Very cold all day. Walking through town somebody offered us tickets to see USA vs., USSR hockey game, and we turned them down because we were too cold and tired. Epic fail!

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