INTRODUCTION: By February 1980, sports enthusiasts all over the world will know the name Lake Placid.
INTRODUCTION: By February 1980, sports enthusiasts all over the world will know the name Lake Placid. This little town of a few thousand people, in upper New York State, will then be staging the Winter Olympic Games -- for the second time in its history.
SYNOPSIS: The town lies completely encircled by the Adirondacks -- a group of mountains not far south of the Canadian border. It is an area of great beauty and very little industrial development.
It has been a popular winter sports centre since the 1920s -- but was put on the international map when the Winter Olympics were last held there in 1932.
The skating arena built for those Olympics is still there. The organising committee for 1980 is using the building as its head- quarters. A new practice rink was added in 1968. Young skaters may dream of following in the steps of Sonja Henie, who made her name in the 1932 Olympics, and went on to sensational professional success.
An ice-hockey match in the main arena. This will be available for the 1980 games, and another nearby, yet to be built. But the organisers have run into one snag. The owner of the grill refuses to move. They will have to build round him.
Now for the open-air events. Speed-skating will take place on an artificial 400-metre refrigerated track, which will be laid on the running track of the local High School. This is quite close to the main arena, and the refrigeration systems will be linked, to cut down the risk of failure and the cost of duplication.
This site was first used in the 1932 Olympics. Before then, speed skaters had used a natural surface, the Mirror Lake.
The Mount Van Hoevenberg area, about 9 kilometres (5- miles) from Lake Placid village, will accommodate the cross-country ski-ing and bob-sledding events. The bobsled run was opened in 1931, used in the Olympics the following year, and has been in almost continues use every winter since. It is the only one anywhere in the North American continent.
Since 1932, the run has been modified many times to conform to changing international rules and safety standards for spectators and competitors. Styles have changed drastically in 45 years.
A new run is to be built alongside the existing one, to accommodate the huge events. The two tracks will have common refrigeration and other services, and operate as one system.
Lake Placid was the only resort to bid for the 1980 Olympics. Denver, Colorado, withdrew after the local people had voted against the cost. Federal and State funds will be available to help Lake Placid, but the organising committee are setting out to keep costs reasonable and to build facilities that will continue to be useful.
A second report, dealing mainly with ski-ing facilities, will be issued within the next few days.