Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Adirondack Attic: Lake Placid decoupage skates

(Editor’s Note: The following is a sample of an “Adirondack Attic” story, by Andy Flynn, originally published in newspapers in 2004 and re-printed in “New York State’s Mountain Heritage: Adirondack Attic, Volume 2.” See a photo of the artifact on the cover of the book.)

Ask 100 Olympic village tourists — “What’s the first thing you think of when you think of Lake Placid?” — and you’ll get 100 different answers: the Winter Olympics, the 1980 “Miracle on Ice,” bobsledding, horse shows, the Ironman triathlon, Mount Marcy, Jimmy Shea, hockey.

Ask 100 screaming girls the same question while they’re watching Scott Hamilton or Kristi Yamaguchi perform in the Olympic Arena, and you’ll get only one answer — a high-pitched “figure skating!” guaranteed to knock you out of your red, plastic seat.

The Skating Club of Lake Placid can trace its roots back to the early 20th century at the Lake Placid Club, where competitions in the village were first held outdoors. Today the Skating Club offers programs and events to help skaters of all ages learn about basic skills and performing.

Barbara Tyrell Kelly, of Lake Placid, is a shining example of how creative, enthusiastic and successful figure skaters can be in New York’s Adirondack Mountains. She is a Lake Placid Hall of Fame adult figure skater and a founding member of the Skating Club of Lake Placid. In 1997, Kelly won an adult figure skating gold medal in the United States Figure Skating Association (USFSA) Adult Nationals in Lake Placid. In 1999, she was honored with the Mountain Cup Trophy at the first international adult competition for “being an inspiration for adult skating around the world.”

Kelly donated a pair of decoupage skates to the Adirondack Museum in the summer of 2003. The women’s figure skates are decorated in decoupage style with newspaper and magazine clippings that illustrate the history of the club. Some headlines came straight from the tabloids. Many of the photos were taken from local newspapers. Depicted are events such as the Mid-Summer Operetta and Skate America, the names of coaches, photo headshots and the names of famous male and female skaters. The skate laces are made of lace.

The year was 1932, and the Olympic village needed an organization to sponsor competitions, ice carnivals and testing under the USFSA. The Skating Club of the Adirondacks was formed to do just that. In 1937, the group’s name was changed to the Skating Club of Lake Placid.

(Read more about this artifact in “New York State’s Mountain Heritage: Adirondack Attic, Volume 2.” Buy online @ the Hungry Bear Publishing Bookstore. $18.00)

Copyright 2004 Andy Flynn/Hungry Bear Publishing

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