Olympics Near Us: Visiting Olympic Sites in Lake Placid and Montreal
I love watching the Olympics and celebrating human potential! The Olympics makes for so many great stories. Here are some of the few from the Pyeongchang-2018 which is happening as I write this:
German Figure skater Alyona Savchenko in her 5th Olympics at 34 years old – three ice partners and several countries later – has finally earned the gold medal in pairs event.
U.S. figure skater, “quad king” Nathan Chen, one of the gold medal favorites at 18, completely breaks apart for a 17th place finish in the short program to then go for broke and win the free skate with historical six quad jumps.
Czech speed skater Martina Sablikova invited her rival, Russian skater Voronina to train together for the 5000m race when Voronina found herself without her coach or training group at the Olympics. The ladies won silver and bronze in their race respectively.
While one day I hope to attend the Olympics and watch the competition live, this fall, we came quite close by visiting historic Olympic sites within the driving distance from our Boston home – in Lake Placid, NY and Montreal, Canada.
LAKE PLACID OLYMPIC SITES
Over Thanksgiving break we visited Lake Placid, New York, for Skate America figure skating Grand Prix. This quaint lake-side town at the foot of the Adirondack Mountains hosted 1980 and 1932 Olympics. Olympic history is kept alive everywhere in Lake Placid which still plays a major role in international sports scene with numerous high-profile events throughout the year.
1980 Olympic sites, including Olympic Museum, Olympic Sports Complex (with Bobsled, Luge, and Skeleton tracks and Cross-Country and Biathlon Center) and Ski Jump Complex are open to the public via individual admission or a combined Olympic Sites Passport (which we enjoyed courtesy of the New York State Olympic Regional Development Authority). Be sure to check their website for special events schedule, hours and admission.
Several of these Olympic sites invite you to have an actual sporting “experience”, whether it is skiing or snow shoeing on one of the trails at the Cross-Country Center or speeding down the track in the bobsled guided by professional drivers and brakesmen.
Although we shied away from the opportunity to try the real Olympic tracks, we enjoyed our own share of Olympic “hands-ons” at the Lake Placid Olympic Museum. It is small but packed tight with Olympics memorabilia and ever-changing Exhibits.
Lake Placid Olympic Museum is located at the base of the Olympic Center which also houses the famous Herb Brooks Arena (named after the Miracle on Ice coach) where US men’s hockey team made their miracle on ice over the unbeatable Soviet team during the 1980 Olympics.
With our Olympic Sites Passports in hand, we also visited Olympic Jump Complex. We took the elevator to the observation deck of the K-120 meter jump where Adirondack High Peaks are seen through the eyes of the Olympic ski jumpers heading to the end of the ramp before flying the length of the football field.
MONTREAL OLYMPIC ARENA
Earlier in the fall I spent the whole week at Montreal’s Olympic Arena, the site of the 1976 Olympic Games, during Gymnastics Worlds 2017. It is here, 41 years ago, at the Montreal Arena during 1976 Olympics Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci posted a first perfect “10” in a major gymnastics competition! While we were in town for the Worlds Gymnastics Championships 2017, the area between the Olympic Tower and the Biodome was renamed to Nadia Comaneci Plaza (yes, Nadia was there and we got to take a picture with her).
After taking your photo with the Olympic rings, sign up for the Guided Tour of the stadium which is included with the Since 1976 Exhibit admission.
Or, you can do a self-guided tour of the Stadium that will be sure to include a run on the Olympic track!
Then ride to the top of the Montreal Tower, world’s tallest reclined structure at 165 meters, which was originally designed to hold the cables for the retractable roof of the Olympic Stadium. The multi-story observatory was added later and it is now a great place to look over the city amidst the photos of the Olympics’ most memorable moments.
Olympic velodrome has been converted to the indoor nature Museum Biodome and is a great way to spend a couple of hours with kids of different ages.
Here are the tips for visiting Olympic venues in Utah from Tips for Family Trips – the site of 2002 Winter Olympics.
Have you ever visited an Olympic site or the actual Olympics?
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