Host City: Lake Placid, United States
Date Started: February 14, 1980
Date Finished: February 14, 1980
Participants: 131 (86 men and 45 women) from 24 countries
Youngest Participant: Brit Pettersen (18 years, 78 days)
Oldest Participant: Galina Kulakova (37 years, 298 days)
Most Medals (Athlete): Juha Mieto and Nikolay Zimyatov (3 medals)
Most Medals (Country): Soviet Union (7 medals)
The program was exactly the same as in 1976, with four men’s events (15 km, 30 km, 50 km, and relay) and three women’s events (5 km, 10 km, relay). In 1984, women would add a fourth event, the long distance race 20 km, which would later be changed to a 30 km marathon, and over the next 25 years, the Olympic cross-country program would greatly expand, eventually reaching six events for men and women in 2002 and 2006. The races in 1980 were held at a specially constructed cross-country complex at the base of Mt. Van Hoevenberg.
In the men’s events, Soviet Nikolay Zimyatov became the first man to win three cross-country skiing gold medals at the same Winter Olympics, taking the 30 km, 50 km, and relay. On the distaff side the big story was the emergence of East Germany as a power. They had won a relay bronze medal in 1976, but in 1980 won the relay and Barbara Petzold won an individual gold in the 10 km.