LAKE PLACID, N.Y. --- The Village of Lake Placid, N.Y. and the Skating Club of Lake Placid will celebrate the careers and achievements of pairs figure skating icons Lyudmila and Oleg Protopopov during a special figure skating show, Saturday, September 3, to be held in the Olympic Center’s 1980 Rink Herb Brooks Arena. (Watch Protopopovs skate to Debussy's Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun here)
Lyudmila Belousova and Oleg Protopopov (at right) are beloved around the world and are best known for their romance and artistry on the ice. Their beauty of line and perfection of unity, along with their harmony with the music, have often been emulated by many pairs’ teams but duplicated by few. Many pairs innovations have been attributed directly to them including but not limited to the lovely “death spiral” which they feel should be more aptly named the “cosmic” spiral.
The Protopopovs were six-time USSR National Champions, 1965, 1966 1967 & 1968 World and European Champions and two-time Olympic Champions in 1964 & 1968. Additionally, after retiring from eligible competition, they went on to become four-time World Professional Champions. In 1979 Oleg and Lyudmila defected from the then Soviet Union to seek asylum in Switzerland, which is now their winter home and where they hold citizenship. Lake Placid holds the happy distinction to be the summer home of the Protopopovs as well as their training center.
The Saturday night show is expected to bring several figure skating stars to Lake Placid to honor the Protopopovs, including Richard “Dick” Button. Before becoming the sport’s most recognizable analyst, Button skated to two Olympic titles and is credited as the first skater to ever land the double-axel. Button successfully landed the jump during the 1948 Winter Olympics.
The event will also feature 1984 Olympic Bronze medalists and World competitor in pairs from the former USSR Larisa Selezneva & Oleg Markarov, 1980 Olympic ice dance competitor and 3-time Canadian ice dance Champion Lorna Wighton-Aldridge and 2007 Swiss Ice Dance Champion David De Fazio. These skaters represent the past and present of the Protopopovs. Oleg & Larisa, like the Protpopovs, represented the former Soviet Union in their international career, where as David, along with his former partner Nora von Bergen, represented Switzerland, the country that Ludmilla and Oleg now call home.
Local village and town officials will also present the pair with a joint proclamation from the Village of Lake Placid and the Town of North Elba, along with the esteemed Key to the Village of Lake Placid. In addition to a USFS presentation, New York State Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) president/CEO Ted Blazer will present and honor the couple with an Olympic Regional Development Authority Executive Office Citation commending the skaters on their excellence and dedication to building upon such a wonderful sporting tradition throughout the years.
The event begins at 7 p.m. Admission for adults will be $10 and $8 for junior and seniors. All proceeds from this event to benefit the Skating Club of Lake Placid (SCLP).
-- About ORDA --
Established in 1982, the New York State Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) was created by the State of New York to manage the facilities used during the 1980 Olympic Winter Games at Lake Placid. ORDA operates Whiteface and Gore Mountain ski areas; the Olympic Sports Complex at Mt. Van Hoevenberg; the Olympic Speed Skating Oval, Olympic Jumping Complex and Olympic arena. As host to international and national championships, the Authority has brought millions of athletes, spectator and participants to the region, resulting in significant economic development.