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The Olympic cauldron in Lake Placid is lit every four years, even when the latest Winter Games are on the far side of the world. Photo: Brian Mann
The Olympic cauldron in Lake Placid is lit every four years, even when the latest Winter Games are on the far side of the world. Photo: Brian Mann

Photos: Lake Placid lights up in Olympic solidarity

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Every four years, as the Winter Olympic Games spark to life somewhere in the world, Lake Placid lights the Olympic cauldron in solidarity.

With so many North Country athletes competing in Sochi this year, the celebration in Lake Placid Friday night echoed some of the spirit of the 1980 Winter Games.

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Reported by

Brian Mann
Adirondack Bureau Chief

 

Lake Placid geared up for a huge celebration Friday night. Why not include Olympic cupcakes? Photo: Brian Mann
Lake Placid geared up for a huge celebration Friday night. Why not include Olympic cupcakes? Photo: Brian Mann
Lake Placid's cauldron is still standing 34 years after the last local games. On Friday night, a big crowd stood in the frigid cold and darkness, watching as the torch suddenly burst out.

The North Country's athletes are far away in Sochi, but local kids carry their images to Lake Placid's cauldron lighting. Photo: Brian Mann
The North Country's athletes are far away in Sochi, but local kids carry their images to Lake Placid's cauldron lighting. Photo: Brian Mann
Lake Placid Mayor Craig Randall, who was in the village back in 1980, sent his best wishes to the much larger community of Sochi, which has struggled to put together these latest Olympic games. He said the games bring the Russian city of 343,000 into the "sisterhood of Winter Olympics cities, in a big way."

After the cauldron lighting, more than 100 people gathered at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts to watch a broadcast of the opening ceremony from Sochi on the big screen.

The 1980s were a smaller, simpler Olympics, where local women including the ones pictured here worked as hostesses, helpers and translators in Lake Placid. Photo: Brian Mann
The 1980s were a smaller, simpler Olympics, where local women including the ones pictured here worked as hostesses, helpers and translators in Lake Placid. Photo: Brian Mann
Barbara Friend was at both events, wearing her traditional red coat - the uniform worn by hosts and translators back in 1980. She was assigned as a Japanese translator at those games and says that was a very different Olympic world: "I was a hostess-interpreter, and there probably only about 75 of them. And 1980 was probably the last truly Alpine olympic event, because I worked at Calgary in 1988, and you could already see the change toward corporate, toward mass media. It was just small."

The Olympic cauldron in Lake Placid will stay lit through the month as the Sochi games unfold.

 

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