The 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympics was a money loser and organizers of that event could not get President Jimmy Carter to help with paying off the bills. But now there is another group of Lake Placid enthusiasts who want to see the Winter Olympics return to upstate New York in 2026.
I’m Evan Weiner with the Politics of Sports Business.
There are cities who are considering a bid for the 2026 Winter Games. Lake Placid is probably the smallest of the group that includes Quebec City, Quebec along with Calgary, Alberta, possibly Stockholm, Sweden, as well as other places in Europe and in Japan. It is still very early in the process. Why Lake Placid? It hosted two Winter Olympics in 1932 and 1980 and there are some permanent facilities in place left over from the 1980 Games that are owned by the state of New York. New York State did not necessarily want the Lake Placid venues but someone had to bail out the village. The New York state Legislature agreed to pay off the debt in exchange for ownership of the ski jumps, the Olympic fieldhouse and the speed skating rink with a new agency, the Olympic Regional Development Authority managing all of the Olympic sites. New York State residents are still paying for the 1980 Lake Placid games by maintaining ski jumps, a speed skating rink and the fieldhouse. The 1980 Lake Placid committee thought the Games would cost $11 million but the price tag was $132 million.
The 2026 Lake Placid plan has one very strange element to it. Some of the events might take place at Yankee Stadium. There are those who claim that the 1980 Olympics was an overall positive experience for Lake Placid despite the cost. The Lake Placid Olympics is where the USA USA chant started and where the US Hockey team beat the Soviets and filled with myth and folklore but it ended up being a financial disaster which is the real Olympics legacy.
This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Evan Weiner