The Olympic Torch Stopped in Hyde Park

Excitement over the present-day Summer Games of the XXX Olympiad reminded us that the famous torch once paid a visit to the FDR Home and Library.  

On February 4, 1932, Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt formally opened the III Olympic Winter Games in Lake Placid, NY.

FDR opens the 1932 Winter Olympics

FDR at the opening ceremony for the 1932 Winter Olympics. NPx 55-34.

On February 5, 1980, the Olympic torch relay carried the flame for the XIII Olympic Winter Games through the town of Hyde Park, NY before continuing northward to Lake Placid. The runners paused at FDR’s grave site for a torch lighting ceremony where they lit a 7-foot tall stationary torch commemorating the former Governor and President’s role in opening the 1932 Games,  nearly 50 years prior.

Joan Barnum, a Hyde Park resident who coordinated the event, said the flame brought a “message of peace, truth, fraternity and love,” consistent with the Roosevelt legacy. Around 600 people attended the ceremony and observed a minute of silence to honor both the former President and the symbolic lighting.  The graveside torch remained lit throughout the 1980 Winter Games.

1980 Torch lighting ceremony

1980 Torch lighting ceremony. NPx 80-107(19).