XIII Olympic Winter Games
Emblem of the 1980 Winter Olympics[a]
Host cityLake Placid, New York, United States
Athletes1,072 (840 men, 232 women)
Events38 in 6 sports (10 disciplines)
Opening13 February
Closing24 February
Opened by
Charles Kerr [1][2]
StadiumLake Placid Equestrian Stadium

The 1980 Winter Olympics, officially the XIII Olympic Winter Games and also known as Lake Placid 1980, were an international multi-sport event held from February 13 to 24, 1980, in Lake Placid, New York, United States.[3]

Lake Placid was elected as the host city for the 1980 Winter Games at the 75th International Olympic Committee (IOC) Session in Vienna, Austria in 1974. This marked the second time the Upstate New York village hosted the Winter Games, after 1932. The only other candidate city to bid for the 1980 games, Vancouver-Garibaldi withdrew before the final vote.

Some venues from the 1932 Games were renovated for use in the 1980 Games, and events were held at the Olympic Center, Whiteface Mountain, Mt. Van Hoevenberg Olympic Bobsled Run, the Olympic Ski Jumps, the Cascade Cross Country Ski Center, and the Lake Placid High School Speed Skating Oval. The Games were a success in terms of sport, but the organization was criticized because of numerous transport problems. The 1980 Games were the last to take place in a city of less than 15,000 inhabitants.

The Lake Placid Winter Olympics brought together 1,072 athletes from 37 countries to take part in six sports and 10 disciplines comprising a total of 38 official events (one more than in 1976). People's Republic of China, Cyprus and Costa Rica participated for in the Winter Olympic Games the first time. The American speed skater Eric Heiden set the record for most medals for an athlete in one edition of the Winter Olympic Games after he medaled in all five speed skating events. The Olympic ice hockey saw the young American team defeat the Soviet favorites in what became known as the Miracle on Ice, on their way to the gold medal. In the other disciplines, the Soviet Nikolaj Zimjatov won three gold medals in cross-country skiing and the Liechtenstein skier Hanni Wenzel won her country's first two gold medals in alpine skiing. The Soviet Union finished ahead of East Germany and United States in the medal table with twenty-two medals, including ten gold medals.


Selection of the host city

After Lake Placid hosted the 1932 Olympic Winter Games, including the community continued to bid on upcoming editions of the Games, submitting seven total attempts at a bids including 1948, 1952, 1956, and three of which were supported by the United States Olympic Committee,[4] and presented to the International Olympic Committee for including 1968, 1976 and 1980.[4] Until 1980, each of the bid attempts failed, either due to falling short of gaining support at the national level, or during the IOC vote each time. After Denver withdrew after being elected the host for the 1976 Winter Games. Initially the USOC supported Salt Lake City's bid to replace Denver, but on January 26, 1973 the Salt Lake City bid collapsed due to unsecured financial backing and discontent by Utah residents.[5] Lake Placid organizers submitted a late bid to host the 1976 Games the IOC in February 1973 with the support of the USOC.[5][6] The IOC elected Innsbruck, Austria to host the 1976 Games in the place of Denver, with Lake Placid finishing as the runner-up.[7][8] IOC President Lord Killanin later stated that members of the IOC executive favored the Austrian bid as a way to "make peace with the people of Austria" over the decision in 1972 to declare Austrian skiing star Karl Schranz ineligible for the games as a professional athlete.[5]

Undeterred, Lake Placid re-submitted the materials for the 1976 bid for the 1980 Winter Games, and secured the support of the United States Olympic Committee on November 20, 1973,[9] and made the official bid in September 1974.[4] The United States Olympic Committee embarrassed by Denver's 1976 withdrawal required Lake Placid's bid to be widely supported by residents and government. Lake Placid satisfied the USOC requirements with a referendum held in October 1973 garnering 75 per cent support for hosting the games, a joint resolution of the New York Legislature, a joint resolution from the Congress of the United States, a letter of support from the Governor of New York and the President of the United States.[4] Lake Placid also secured the support of the environmental groups Sierra Club and Adirondack Mountain Club.[10]

Three other cities declared themselves candidates for the 1980 Winter Games; VancouverGaribaldi (Canada), Lahti (Finland) and Chamonix (France).[9] The bids for Lahti and Chamonix were withdrawn early in the bid process, and Vancouver, which was unable obtain the support of the Government of British Columbia, withdrew its candidacy on October 4, 1974.[9] The members of the IOC awarded the 1980 Winter Games to Lake Placid on October 23, 1974 during the 75th IOC Session in Vienna.[9][11][12][13][14][10]


This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Find sources: "1980 Winter Olympics" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (August 2016) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

Notable highlights included:


The Olympic cauldron
The Olympic cauldron
The Ski Jumping Complex.

There were 38 events contested in 6 sports (10 disciplines). See the medal winners, ordered by sport:


Map of the venues in Lake Placid
Map of the venues in Lake Placid

Main article: Venues of the 1980 Winter Olympics

The former Will Rogers Memorial Hospital was briefly used as press headquarters.[18]

The site was considered ideal for the available infrastructure from the 1932 Winter Olympics, most notably the Bobsleigh run. The existing facilities meant the Olympics could be staged on a reasonable budget and with limited environmental impact. It was not just a matter of convenience, either, according to Lake Placid's congressman, Representative Robert McEwen. “It is no secret to us in America that the measure of federal support given to athletes in Communist countries (so that they win medals and improve the countries' image abroad) is on a level unknown to us here in America,” he told Congress.” This would be a step in the right direction, a worthy investment in American winter athletes.”

The local Olympic committee needed congressional approval for funding to build the Olympic Village. Congress required an after use contract for facilities, and it was agreed that the Olympic Village would be built in accordance to Federal Bureau of Prisons needs. Following the Olympic Games, it was repurposed for Federal Correctional Institution, Ray Brook.[19]

Medal count

Two gold and bronze Olympic medals from XIII Olympic Winter Games, designed by Gladys Gunzer
Two gold and bronze Olympic medals from XIII Olympic Winter Games, designed by Gladys Gunzer

Main article: 1980 Winter Olympics medal table

These are the top ten nations that won medals at the 1980 Winter Games.

  *   Host nation (United States)

1 Soviet Union106622
2 East Germany97723
3 United States*64212
4 Austria3227
5 Sweden3014
6 Liechtenstein2204
7 Finland1539
8 Norway13610
9 Netherlands1214
10 Switzerland1135
Totals (10 nations)373231100

Participating nations

37 NOCs participated.

Cyprus made their Olympic debut at the games. The People's Republic of China and Costa Rica both made their Winter Olympic debut. The Republic of China refused to attend both the Summer Games in Montreal, the Winter Games in Lake Placid and the Summer Games in Moscow over the IOC's recognition of the People's Republic of China as "China", and its request for the Republic of China to compete as "Chinese Taipei". The PRC, on the other hand, returned to the Olympics for the first time since 1952 and made its Winter Olympic debut, however then boycotting the 1980 Moscow Summer Olympics.[20]

Participating National Olympic Committees


Main article: Roni (mascot)

Roni is the Olympic mascot of these Games, created by Don Moss. The mascot is a racoon, which is a familiar animal from the mountainous region of the Adirondacks where Lake Placid is situated. The name Roni comes from the word racoon in Iroquoian, the language of the native people from the region of the State of New York and Lake Placid and was chosen by Lake Placid school children.[21]

Theme song

The official theme song for the 1980 Winter Olympics was "Give It All You Got" by the American flugelhorn player Chuck Mangione, who performed the song (along with the song "Piña Colada") live at the Closing Ceremony, with the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra (Canada).[22]

See also



  1. ^ The emblem is a line that forms the Adirondacks, which becomes a column on the left, paying tribute to the ancient Olympic games. The top of the column is serrated to hold the Olympic rings. This represents a double cauldron, acknowledging that the Olympics were also held in Lake Placid in 1932. It is also used as a poster for the 1980 Winter Olympics.


  1. ^ "Lake Placid 1980 - The Torch". Olympics.com. December 17, 2020. Retrieved August 4, 2021.
  2. ^ "Passing the test: How Charles Kerr was chosen to light the Olympic Cauldron". United States Olympic and Paralympic Museum. February 13, 2020. Retrieved April 18, 2021.
  3. ^ "Lake Placid 1980 Torch Relay". International Olympic Committee. Retrieved October 31, 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d Lewi 1980, p. 15
  5. ^ a b c Wilson 2004, p. 373.
  6. ^ "Lake Placid assured of welcome". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). Associated Press. February 2, 1973. p. 22.
  7. ^ "Innsbruck gets '76 Games". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). Associated Press. February 5, 1973. p. 10.
  8. ^ "Innsbruck given Winter Olympics". Pittsburgh Press. UPI. February 5, 1973. p. 25.
  9. ^ a b c d Wilson 2004, p. 374.
  10. ^ a b Johnson, William O. (November 4, 1974). "Back where the games belong". Sports Illustrated. 41 (19). p. 28.
  11. ^ "1980 - Winter Olympics XIII (Lake Placid, United States)". The Sports Network. Retrieved September 20, 2014.
  12. ^ "Past Olympic Host Election Results". GamesBids. Retrieved January 7, 2022.
  13. ^ Wimmer, Ferry (October 23, 1974). "Moscow, Lake Placid awarded Olympics". Nashua Telegraph. (New Hampshire). UPI. p. 38.
  14. ^ "'80 Olympic Games go to Moscow, Lake Placid". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). Associated Press. October 24, 1974. p. 15.
  15. ^ "The 1980 U.S. Olympic Team". US Hockey Hall of Fame.
  16. ^ "Remember when? Eric Heiden wins a record five gold medals at 1980 Winter Olympics". USA Today.
  17. ^ "Eric Heiden". Britannica.
  18. ^ Raymond W. Smith (July 1983). "National Register of Historic Places Registration: Will Rogers Memorial Hospital". New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Archived from the original on January 27, 2012. Retrieved July 10, 2010.
  19. ^ Lewis, Danny (August 18, 2016). "Why the 1980 Olympic Village Is Now a Prison". Smithsonian Magazine. Retrieved March 25, 2020.
  20. ^ Kiat.net Archived June 17, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  21. ^ Olympic Winter Games Mascots from Innsbruck 1976 to Sochi 2014 Archived June 3, 2014, at the Wayback Machine Olympic.org
  22. ^ Hyatt, Wesley (1999). The Billboard Book of No.1 Adult Contemporary Hits (Billboard Publications)
Official reports
Works cited
Winter Olympics Preceded byInnsbruck XIII Olympic Winter GamesLake Placid 1980 Succeeded bySarajevo