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XIII Olympic Winter Games
1980 Winter Olympics logo.svg
The emblem is a line that forms the Adirondacks,
which becomes a column on the left,
paying tribute 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.
Host city Lake Placid, New York, United States
Nations participating 37
Athletes participating 1,072
(840 men, 232 women)
Events 38 in 6 sports (10 disciplines)
Opening ceremony February 14
Closing ceremony February 23
Officially opened by Walter Mondale
Vice President of the United States of America
Athlete's Oath Eric Heiden
Judge's Oath Terry McDermott
Olympic Torch Charles Gugino
Stadium Lake Placid Equestrian Stadium

The 1980 Winter Olympics, officially known as the XIII Olympic Winter Games (French: Les XIIIes Jeux olympiques d'hiver), was a multi-sport event which was celebrated from February 14, through February 24, 1980 in Lake Placid, New York, United States of America. This was the second time the Upstate New York village hosted the Games, after 1932. The only other candidate city to bid for the Games was Vancouver-Garibaldi, British Columbia, Canada; which withdrew before the final vote.

The mascot of the Games was "Roni", a raccoon. The mask-like rings on a raccoon's face recall the goggles and hats worn by many athletes in winter sports.

The sports were played 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.

Host selection[edit]

The selection process for the 1980 Winter Olympics consisted of one bid, from Lake Placid, United States. It was selected at the 75th IOC Session in Vienna on October 13, 1974.[1]


Notable highlights included:

  • The United States men's ice hockey team, composed mostly of collegiate players and not predicted to advance beyond group play, won the gold medal, defeating the heavily favored Soviet team and Finland in the medal round. The United States team's 4–3 win over the Soviet team, which came into the 1980 Games having won 4 consecutive Olympic gold medals, became known as the "Miracle on Ice" in the US press. The win captured the hearts of Americans during a time of Cold War tensions, even though it was the win against Finland that captured the gold medal. (The Soviet team ultimately won the silver medal.)
  • Eric Heiden of the United States won gold in the 500m, 1000m, 1500m, 5000m, and 10,000m speedskating events, setting 4 Olympic records and 1 world record (10,000m) in the process and delivering 83% of the American gold medals (the only other gold, as noted above, was won by the hockey team). Heiden became the first to ever win all five speed skating events and is still the only athlete to win 5 gold medals at one Winter Games.
  • Sweden's Ingemar Stenmark won both the giant slalom and the slalom.
  • Hanni Wenzel won the women's giant slalom and slalom, making Liechtenstein the smallest country to produce an Olympic champion.
  • Ulrich Wehling of East Germany and Irina Rodnina of the USSR won their respective events for the third time, Wehling in Nordic combined and Rodnina in pairs figure skating.
  • Aleksandr Tikhonov of the USSR earned his fourth straight gold medal as part of the 4 x 7.5m biathlon relay team.
  • Nikolay Zimyatov of the USSR earned three gold medals in cross-country skiing.
  • Robin Cousins won gold for Great Britain in the men's singles figure skating.
  • East Germany won the most medals overall (23) but had fewer golds (9) than the USSR (10).
  • In possibly the most dramatic duel of the games, Sweden's Thomas Wassberg edged Finland's Juha Mieto in the 15 km cross-country skiing by 0.01 seconds, the closest margin of victory ever in Olympic cross-country skiing. This led the International Ski Federation (ISF) to time all events to the nearest 1/10 second in the future.[citation needed]
  • Although they did not get any medals, the People's Republic of China entered the Olympics Games for the first time after the IOC agreed to designate the Republic of China "Chinese Taipei".
  • Lake Placid 1980 marked the first use of artificial snow in Olympic competition.
  • Lake Placid 1980 was the last Olympics to be opened by the Vice President of the United States, as 1980 was a Presidential election year.


The Olympic cauldron

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


Critics decried poorly planned transportation which left spectators waiting for hours in freezing weather, and some athletes complained about lousy accommodations at the Olympic village, where the dorms would later be turned into a prison, FCI Ray Brook. The supply and demand for event tickets never merged, as would-be buyers were unable to buy unsold tickets because only those who already had a ticket could enter ticket-sales areas at venues. Unsold tickets are still being sold as souvenirs at several local tourist shops, including the Olympic Regional Development Association's gift shop at the Olympic Arena. The former Will Rogers Memorial Hospital was briefly used as press headquarters.[2]

Medal count[edit]

Two gold and bronze Olympic medals from XIII Olympic Winter Games

(Host nation highlighted)

 Rank  Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total
1 Soviet Union 10 6 6 22
2  East Germany (GDR) 9 7 7 23
3 United States 6 4 2 12
4 Austria 3 2 2 7
5 Sweden 3 0 1 4
6 Liechtenstein 2 2 0 4
7 Finland 1 5 3 9
8 Norway 1 3 6 10
9 Netherlands 1 2 1 4
10 Switzerland 1 1 3 5

Participating nations[edit]

37 NOCs participated. United States President Jimmy Carter had already called for the boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, leading to a great deal of tension at the Games. Nevertheless, the USSR and its allies participated (though the USSR didn't participate in the 1984 Summer Olympics, held in Los Angeles).

Cyprus made their Olympic debut at the 1980 Winter Olympics. The People's Republic of China and Costa Rica both made their Winter Olympic debut. The Republic of China had boycotted the Games over the IOC's recognition of the PRC as "China", and its request for the Republic of China to compete as "Chinese Taipei".[3]


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.[4]

Theme song[edit]

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 "Pina Colada") live at the Closing Ceremony, with the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra (Canada).[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Past Olympic host city election results". GamesBids. Archived from the original on March 17, 2011. Retrieved March 17, 2011. 
  2. ^ 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. Retrieved July 10, 2010. 
  3. ^ Kiat.net
  4. ^ Olympic Winter Games Mascots from Innsbruck 1976 to Sochi 2014 Olympic.org
  5. ^ Hyatt, Wesley (1999). The Billboard Book of No.1 Adult Contemporary Hits (Billboard Publications)


External links[edit]

Preceded by
Winter Olympics
Lake Placid

XIII Olympic Winter Games (1980)
Succeeded by

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