If you love the Winter Olympics, the skiing, ice skating, and hockey, then you need to take a trip to Lake Placid and the Lake Placid Olympic Museum.
Home to two Winter Olympics, including the first Winter Olympics to take place in the United States, the museum in Lake Placid has something for every fan. Explore sport-specific exhibits, view Olympic and parade uniforms, or take part in one of the museum’s many family-friendly programs.
Lake Placid Olympics History
Having hosted two separate Winter Olympic games, the Lake Placid area is full of sites that hold Olympic historical significance.
Some highlights of both the 1936 and 1980 Winter Olympics include:
The 1932 Olympics, won by Lake Placid over California as well as other international sites, was the first of four Winter Olympics to take place in the States. Seventeen countries participated in events such as bobsleigh, figure skating, curling, and ski jumping.
The United States won the overall medal tally with 12 medals. Eddie Eagan became the first Olympian to win gold medals at both summer and winter games, as he won in boxing at the 1920 Olympics and in bobsleigh at the 1932 Winter Olympics.
Sonja Henie of Norway became an early Winter Olympics legend by winning the second of three consecutive gold medals in figure skating in Lake Placid. She also won gold in the event in 1928 and 1936.
The 1980 Lake Placid Olympics featured the “Miracle on Ice,” the men’s hockey finals. The American team was made up mostly of college hockey players, and they weren’t expected to advance beyond group play. Instead, the team beat the Soviet team 4-3 to win the gold medal.
There were 37 countries that participated in the games, and the 1980 Olympics marked the first time artificial snow was used in the Winter Olympics. East Germany won the most medals overall, 23, but the Soviet Union won more golds and came out on top in the overall medal race.
The Lake Placid Olympics Museum
Relive all the Lake Placid Olympics highlights, as well as Winter Olympics highlights from around the globe, at the Lake Placid Olympics Museum.
The Lake Placid Olympics Museum is home to a variety of permanent exhibits to interest and delight all Olympics fans, including:
Quest for Speed: Learn what it takes to be an Olympic speed skater in this exhibit that features the evolution of speed skating equipment, interactive exhibits, and panels showcasing some of the sport’s greats.
Miracle on Ice: Relive the glory of the 1980 U.S. men’s hockey team’s victory with archive footage, as well as displays of gear and other artifacts from the team.
Sonja Henie: Perfection on Ice: One of figure skating’s greats, Sonja Henie began her Olympic career at age 11 in 1924, where she finished last. She returned in 1928 to win gold in those games and the following two Winter Olympics.
1932 Olympics: Learn about how Lake Placid won its bid to host the 1932 games, as well as viewing memorabilia from the event.
Ski Jumping History: The Lake Placid area’s love for skiing goes back more than 100 years, when the Lake Placid Club remained open for the first time in the winter of 1904-1905. Soon, the Club was constructing ski jumps, and the region’s affinity for ski jumping was born.
Museum Curling: What began as a demonstration sport in 1932 has become one of the most unique Winter Olympics events, loved by millions.
Olympic & Parade Uniforms: The Lake Placid area has sent at least one athlete to each Winter Olympics since 1924, and this exhibit highlights the uniforms of these “hometown heroes.”
Sliding Sports: Discover the history of bobsled, skeleton, and luge as you view a collection of sleds and equipment, as well as photographs, from these sports.
If you’re up for a more interactive museum experience, visit the Lake Placid Olympics Museum during one of its many events and activities. Some past events include:
Meet an Olympian: The Lake Placid area is home to many current and former Olympians. The museum occasionally hosts these Olympians, giving guests a chance to meet and talk with these exceptional athletes.
Family Craft Programs: Parents and children can work together to make Olympic medal ornaments, their own Olympic posters, and more.
Trivia Nights at the Museum: Visitors can test their knowledge with Jeopardy-style quiz questions, with all proceeds from this event benefiting the museum.
Wine & Paint Nights: Enjoy drinks and a fun painting project at the museum.
Hours & Tickets
The Lake Placid Olympic Museum is located inside the Olympic Center, 2634 Main St., Lake Placid. It is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, except on Ironman Sunday, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Tickets are free with the Olympic Sites Passport, or $7 for adults 13-64, $5 for children 7-12 and seniors 65 and older, and free for children 6 and under.
If you’re looking for a unique experience to share with the sports lover in your life while you’re on vacation in Lake Placid, the Lake Placid Olympics Museum is a trip you can’t miss!
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