Lake Placid 1980 Olympic Winter Games

Photo courtesy International Olympic Committee

The Lake Placid 1980  Olympic Winter Games will be forever remembered for the U.S. Men’s Ice Hockey Team’s “Miracle on Ice” gold-medal run as well as speed skater Eric Heiden’s remarkable five gold medals.


Forty-eight years after first hosting the first Olympic Winter Games in the United States, Lake Placid was again on display and featured two remarkable performances by the host Americans. The U.S. Men’s Hockey Team stunned the world with its “Miracle on Ice” as a team of college and other amateur players beat the heavily-favored Russians and claimed gold. The U.S. won five other gold medals in the Games – all by speed skater Eric Heiden, the only time in Olympic history that a single skater claimed gold in all five lengths. Snow machines were used for the first time in Olympic history.

Olympic Highlights

  • Nations: 37
  • Athletes: 1,072 (840 men, 232 women)
  • Disciplines: 10
  • Medal Count: East Germany 23 (9 gold, 7 silver, 7 bronze); Soviet Union 22 (10 gold, 6 silver, 6 bronze); United States 12 (6 gold, 4 silver, 2 bronze)
The United States' women's teams enjoyed resounding success at the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games, capturing the first-ever gold medals in women's soccer and softball, as well as winning gold in women's gymnastics team all-around and women's basketball.
The first Olympic Games held without government financing since the first modern Games in 1896, the Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Games became a model for the future with its reliance on existing facilities and corporate sponsors, turning a $223 million profit.
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