The Olympic Winter Games, 1968

Thanks to my friend Barbara Paye Kent I have a number of copies of The Lake Placid News from the late 1960s and early 1970s of special interest is the Feb. 22, 1968 copy published while the X Olympic Winter Games were being held in Grenoble, France.

The bidding before the IOC for the 1968 Games was held in 1964 with six countries bidding; Grenoble, Calgary, Canada; Lahti, Finland; Sapporo, Japan; Oslo, Norway and Lake Placid, United States. Lake Placid, Sapporo and Oslo were out after the first roundbut who could have imagined back then that Lake Placid would be hosting the 13th Olympic Winter Games in 1980.

To add to the information in the caption of the accompanying photo of that famous Olympian, Jay Rand, he was the first man off the 120-meter ski jump when it was completed for the 1980 Games in Lake Placid.

Highlights and trivia of 1968

Peggy Fleming won the Gold for the United States in Figure Skating; Jean-Claude Killy won three Gold medals in the alpine events; Doping Control Tests were used for the first time in the Olympic Winter Games and it was the first time that at-home spectators were watching the events on television in color.

Summer visitors to the Olympic Center in Lake Placid are thrilled when we point out two elegant figure skaters Russian couple, Lyudmila Belousova and Oleg Protopopov out on the ice, looking like kids; they won the Gold for pairs in figure skating in the 1968 Olympics as a repeat performance of winning the gold in Innsbruck in 1964.

Now here is a strange story of the 1968 Olympics; the East German Women’s Luge Team, who had won Gold, Silver and fourth, were all disqualified for heating their runners.

Now if they had only looked up the stats for the 1932 Olympic Winter Games in Lake Placid they would have discovered this strange story.

Curtis and J. Hubert Stevens of Lake Placid won the Gold in 1932 in the two-man bobsled races. At the top of the run, facing the fourth heat and behind, the brothers, flipped the sled over, took blow torches (they each had one, I have a picture of this), out of their satchels, heated the steel runners, won the Gold and set a new track record. Was that against the rules? Not until the next day when the IOC passed one new rule for sliders; you can’t heat the runners on your sled.

Ski jumping news

“Denny Jesmer continued his winning ways by taking first place in the ski jumping event at the University of Nevada Winter Carnival held last weekend. Over 30 competitors from 10 colleges jumped at Sky Tavern on Mt. Rose where Denny broke the hill record.”

“Although the hill condition was excellent, gusty winds caused many falls at the U.S. Eastern Amateur Ski Jumping and Cross Country Championships Sunday at Salisbury, Conn.

“Class B was won by Richard Nicolaysen, a 1967 graduate of Lake Placid Central School, now representing the USMA Prep School.

“Chuck Berghorn of Sentinel Road was eighth in Class B with a field of 21 competing.

“In the Junior A division Matt Bimonte of Main Street placed second and Don Colby third in this event, followed by Rollie Torrance in sixth place.

“Duke Schneider, jumping in Class A and finishing ninth, was hurt in a fall and was taken to the hospital with a head injury. He is with the USEASA Jumping Squad of Providence, R.I. He has many local friends.”

Where to ski

“Paleface Ski Center is located in the Town of Jay on Route 86 about three miles from Wilmington. The area is served by a double chairlift and a T-bar on the Upper mountain. Vertical drop is 730 feet.

“Mirror Lake Inn – Located in the village of Lake Placid, on the shores of Mirror Lake, it is the only hotel in the area with its own ski slope on the premises. Dream Hill, as the open slope is known, is primarily for the use of guests and is served by a rope tow.

“Lake Placid Ski Cente -?formerly Scott’s Cobble is located on Route 73, 3 miles south of the village. A 1,400-foot Pomalift with two levels serves the hill. The vertical drop is 280 feet.

“Fawn Ridge Sports Center is located on the outskirts of Lake Placid village, a five minute walk from Main Street. The 1,200-foot Pomalift serves two well groomed slopes which are gentle and open. In addition the area has a fenced in slope for toboggans and sleds. The rustic lodge houses a lounge and snack bar. Ski lessons by USEASA instructors are available. Ladles day is Wednesday.”

Oh, yes, Whiteface, Mt. Pisgah and Big Tupper are also mentioned.