Eric Heiden reflects on becoming an Olympic Gold Speed Skater

It takes an inconceivable amount of dedication and commitment to become an Olympian. It takes even more to win an Olympic medal. One can only imagine what it takes to win five Olympic gold medals, all in either world or Olympic record time. American speed skater Eric Heiden did just that during the 1980 Olympic Winter Games in Lake Placid.

Those Games are largely remembered for the U.S. Olympic hockey team's improbable gold medal and their "Miracle on Ice" victory over the favored Soviet Union. But what Heiden accomplished on the outdoor speed skating Oval in front of the Lake Placid High School should never be forgotten. He won more gold medals than all nations competing, except for the Soviet Union and East Germany. No speed skater before him and none after have accomplished the same feat. Records are meant to be broken, but Eric Heiden's five Olympic speed skating gold medals at one Olympic Games will forever stand the test of time.

Eric Heiden in the early training days
Cover of Lake Placid News on February 16, 1980
Cover of Lake Placid News on February 17, 1980
Cover of Lake Placid News on February 22, 1980
Eric Heiden with his first Olympic gold medal
Eric Heiden on the Olympic podium
Eric Heiden on the Olympic podium
Eric Heiden on the Olympic podium
Eric Heiden on the Olympic podium
Competing in the 1980 Olympic Games
Eric Heiden speeding towards his third gold medal in the Olympic speed skating events
Racing around the curve on his way to his fourth gold medal in the Winter Olympics at Lake Placid
Heiden setting a new world in 1.55.44 in the 1500 meter event of the Olympic Games
Eric Heiden with Norway's Tom Erik Oxholm as he cools off after the 10,000 meter event, which he finished in world record time of 14.28.13
Heiden after winning an Olympic medal in the Men's 500 meter speed skating race with a time of 38.03
Relaxing after winning his third Olympic Gold Medal with a win in the 1,000 meter race
A smiling Eric Heiden holding up five fingers in a press conference as a substitute for the five gold medals he won
Olympic training in Lake Placid
Olympic Credential for the 1980 Games
Heiden on the cover of Sports Illustrated after winning five medals in the 1980 Winter Olympic Games
Heiden on the cover of Sports Illustrated prior to the 1980 Games
Eric and Beth Heiden on the cover of Time magazine in February 1980
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