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Tuesday, December 18, 2001
Updated: January 8, 10:09 PM ET
1980 Lake Placid

By Jeff Merron and Eric Neel
Special to

The Site: Lake Placid, New York, population 2,700, host of the 1932 Games, was still a one-traffic-light town. Despite a $178 million pre-Games makeover, Time said Lake Placid had "none of the international glamour of Chammonix or Saint Moritz, no air of chic money at winter play." 837 men and 234 women from 37 nations competed.

Front-runner: U.S. speed skater Eric Heiden was favored to sweep the men's events, and he did, setting Olympic records in the 500, 1,000, 1,500 and 5,000 meters and a world record in the 10,000 meters.

Toast of the Town: Jim Craig, Steve Janaszak, Bill Baker, Dave Christian, Ken Morrow, Jack O'Callahan, Mike Ramsey, Bob Suter, Neal Broten, Steve Christoff, Mike Eruzione, John Harrington, Mark Johnson, Rob McClanahan, Mark Pavelich, Buzz Schneider, Dave Silk, Eric Strobel, Phil Verchota and Steve Christoff -- the U.S. hockey team -- were named Sportsmen of the Year by Sports Illustrated. "They owned the whole country a while. It made you want to pick up your television set and take it to bed with you. It really made you feel good," wrote E.M. Swift in his SI profile of the team.

Upset: The U.S. ice hockey team defeated the Soviet Union in the semifinals and Finland in the finals to win the gold medal. It may have been the greatest upset in sports history, as the U.S. team was composed mostly of young amateurs, compared to the more seasoned pros of Europe and the U.S.S.R.

Quotable: "Gentlemen, you don't have enough talent to win on talent alone." -- U.S. hockey coach Herb Brooks, to his young team before the Olympics. Brooks also told his team, "Throw the puck back and weave, weave, weave. But don't just weave for the sake of weaving."

Eric Heiden announced his retirement: "Maybe if things had stayed the way they were, and I could still be obscure in an obscure sport, I might want to keep skating. I really liked it best when I was a nobody."

Top of the Pops: "Call Me," Blondie; "Another Brick in the Wall," Pink Floyd; Christopher Cross won Grammys for best record ("Sailing") and best album ("Christopher Cross").

Oscar: "Ordinary People," directed by Robert Redford, starring Mary Tyler Moore and Timothy Hutton, who won the Oscar for best supporting actor. "A little advice about feelings, kiddo: don't expect it always to tickle."

In the Works: MTV; CNN; Tom Hanks in "Bosom Buddies."

Hot Lit: "Firestarter," Stephen King; "Thy Neighbor's Wife," Gay Talese

The Political Scene: Former actor Ronald Reagan won the U.S. presidential election; Iran held Americans hostage at U.S. Embassy in Tehran.

Odds and Ends: Some Olympic Village dorm rooms were later turned into prison cells.

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A note on sources: David Wallechinsky's "The Complete Book of the Winter Olympics", Bud Greenspan's "Frozen in Time", Bernard Grun's "The Timetables of History", The Internet Movie Database ( and were major reference sources for this compilation.