Ivies in Lake Placid Recap (1980)
1980 Lake Placid Winter Games
1,283 Athletes, 37 Countries, 39 Events
Lake Placid was awarded its second Winter Games, the first was in 1932. No players from the Ancient Eight were on the 1980 gold medal winning squad. Nonetheless, the Ivy League has ties to what has been called the greatest moment in American sports history, the 'Miracle on Ice.'
Herb Brooks, head coach of the 1980 team, was one of two men cut from the 1960 Olympic squad heading to Squaw Valley, right before the Games started. Jack Riley (Dartmouth, 1944) was the coach. Cutting two men made room for two Harvard grads: brothers Bill Cleary '56 and Bob Cleary '58, whose heads are pasted on to the bodies of the former team members in the team picture. 'I felt badly for Herb, but, in the long run, he did all right. He and my brother remained close friends for the rest of Herb's life. Both went into coaching,' Bob would later tell the Houston Chronicle.
Twenty years after the Squaw Valley Games, Brooks was about to coach the 1980 team to victory against the Soviets when he asked Bill Cleary to speak to the team. 'I told them I knew exactly how they felt. They were all stuck in their little hamlets, oblivious to what was happening in the world. But the whole country was rooting for them,' Bill recalled for the Houston Chronicle.
The other Ivy connection to that game was in the announcer's booth. Ken Dryden (Cornell, 1969) sat next to Al Michaels as he asked a jubilant nation, 'Do you believe in miracles? Yes!' He would later tell NHL.com, 'Going into a game like that, the only chance you've got is the chance you always have in sports: Someone has to win, and someone has to lose.'
Five Ivy League athletes had the chance to see the United States win that game while participating in their own events: Timothy Caldwell (Dartmouth, 1976), Walter A. Malmquist, II (Dartmouth, 1978), Donald M. Nielson, Jr. (Dartmouth, 1974), Douglas J. Peterson (Dartmouth, 1975), and Judy Rabinowitz (Harvard, 1980).
Caldwell, Malmquist, and Peterson was the same Dartmouth skiing trio that was on the US team at the 1976 Innsbruck Games. At Lake Placid, Caldwell helped the U.S. 4x10-kilometer relay team finish in eighth place with a time of 2:04:12.17. Malmquist was able to finish 12th in the individual Nordic combined event. Nielsen was on the US biathlon squad. The biathlon, premiering in the Olympics at the 1960 Squaw Valley Games, involves a combination of skiing and shooting. Nielson helped the US finish eighth in the 4x7.5-kilometer relay. The US team had no penalty loops, handed down for missing too many shots.
Rabinowintz, on the U.S. ski team, has the distinction of being the first female Ivy Leaguer to participate in the Winter Olympics in a sport other than figure skating. Though she did not place at the Lake Placid Games, she would return four years later to Sarajevo.
|Timothy Caldwell||Dartmouth College||Men's Nordic Skiing|
|Walter A. Malmquist, II||Dartmouth College||Men's Nordic Skiing|
|Donald M. Nielson, Jr.||Dartmouth College||Men's Biathlon|
|Douglas J. Peterson||Dartmouth College||Men's Nordic Skiing|
|Judy Rabinowitz||Harvard University||Women's Alpine Skiing|