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To guarantee that all events took place in the best possible conditions, machines were used to produce artificial snow, the first time this had been done at the Olympic Games.
The great Swedish skier Ingemar Stenmark won the giant slalom and the slalom. In both races he was behind on the first run but came back sensationally on the second. Hanni Wenzel did the same in the women’s races, making her nation, Liechtenstein, the smallest country to produce an Olympic champion.
Germany’s Ulrich Wehling won the Nordic combined for the third time, and Russian pairs skater Irina Rodnina achieved the same feat in her event. In the biathlon relay, Aleksandr Tikhonov of the USSR earned his fourth straight gold medal, while his compatriot Nikolay Zimyatov earned three gold medals in cross country skiing.
American speed skater Eric Heiden won all five speed skating events from 500m all the way up to 10,000m, setting an Olympic record in every one. He became the first person in Olympic history to win five gold medals in individual events at the same Games.
This was the second time the Games were held in Lake Placid, the first being in 1932.
Many snow machines were used to ensure that the competitions took place in the best possible conditions.
Lake Placid, February 1980. Procession of the delegation of Costa Rica (CRC).
Official opening of the Games by:
Vice-President of the United States, Walter Mondale
Lighting of the Olympic Flame by:
Dr Charles Morgan Kerr
Olympic Oath by:
Eric Heiden (speed skating)
Officials' Oath by:
Terry McDermott (speed skating)
The chevrons on the right represent the mountains around the Olympic region. These join the vertical lines of the modified Ionic column on the left, which recalls the predecessors of the modern Olympic Games. The serration on the top of the column turns into the Olympic rings, making them look as if they are emerging from the top. This serration symbolizes a double Olympic cauldron, to commemorate the Games already held in Lake Placid in 1932.
On the obverse, a hand holds the Olympic torch against a mountain background together with the Olympic rings and the text "XIII Olympic Winter Games".
On the reverse, a pine branch with cones, the official emblem and the inscription "Lake Placid 1980".
The name Roni was chosen by Lake Placid school children. It 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.
Number of torchbearers: 52 (26 men and 26 women representing the different states of America, the District of Columbia and the town of Lake Placid) A total of only 52 torchbearers, both male and female, who best exemplified the ancient Greek ideal of the "whole man" were selected to carry the Torch for the 1980 Olympic Winter Games Torch relay. Each torchbearer carried the torch multiple times on the 1,600km national leg of the relay route.
Total distance: 12 824 km (of which 1600 km in the USA)
Countries crossed: Greece, United States
It features the official emblem representing a mountain and a double Olympic cauldron, commemorating the Games already held in Lake Placid in 1932.
The official report of Lake Placid 1980 is composed of two volumes. The first, “Final report: XIII Olympic Winter Games, February 13-24, 1980,”does not contain any competition results. These are noted in the second volume, typewritten and rather austere. Indeed, the results were published again in 1984 by the IOC in a more reader-friendly edition.