Saturday, June 27, 2009
Olympic Center- June 27
We had not published on this blog site because our Sprint connection is not in this area, so we rented a modem from the campground office. We are now back in business! After accomplishing that this morning,we headed to Lake Placid and the Olympic Center. We spent some time in the museum- not as much time as perhaps we could have spent,as there was so much to read and memorabilia to look at in regard to the winter olympics of 1932 and 1980 in Lake Placid. We paid for a tour guide,Jim Rogers. The tour just amounted to viewing three skating rinks-the majority of time spent on this tour was listening to Jim's stories of how he worked with a Bidding Committee to get the olympics to Lake Placid in 1980; how he served on another committee to work on the opening ceremonies and then his work on the Protocol Committee. I asked him if he would serve on the Bidding committee for 2020 and he answered that New York is giving the committee 5 million for the bidding process and the committee members are expected to come up with 50 thousand each- he does not have that kind of money! Back to the subject of the different rinks...in the older part of the building was the rink constructed in 1932- it cannot be used for crowds of more than 1700 people- the newer rink built in 1980 can hold 8,500. Today in the larger rink we could observe figure skaters warming up for competitions that afternoon, and also while we were there Jim played a video of the last two minutes of the hockey game played in the 1980 olympics between US and Russia. He felt strongly that the game was an important one between the two countries because of the Cold War,and Russia also been undefeated prior to this in games with other countries. United States won by one point- and consequently the US had to play Sweden the next morning. As a member of the Protocol Committee Jim then got a call from the White House requesting that he provide seats for the vice-president George H.W.Bush for that game. He also had to convince another member of the committee that he had to sit with the vice-president, which was difficult to do as that man was a Democrat and hated hockey! Fortunately the US won that game also, which made everyone happy. The pictures I have here are of the older part of the Olympic Center, and the other is looking from the front of that building at the local high school. For the two weeks of the olympics in 1980 the high school had to close- rooms had to be converted for two restaurants and a bar for the press. The sports track had to be iced down for speed skating. The next time I watch the olympics on television I will certainly appreciate what all has to go on behind the scenes to produce such a spectacular event!