Forty years ago to this day on Thursday, the 1980 Winter Olympics got underway in Lake Placid; where 50 runners, each one representing a state, carried the Olympic torch into the opening ceremony that day.

Mickey Luce, the 1980 New York representative, is from Glens Falls and said opening up the history books takes him down memory lane.

Luce grew up in the Saranac Lake area and became a bobsledder — even competing in the 1968 Olympics.

“It was a labor of excitement and love but it was a labor,” Luce said.

But it wasn’t until more than a decade later that he found his way back into the games through his daughter.

“She’s like hey dad, there’s a contest they’re looking for people to run the torch, you could do that. I said yeah, sure, maybe 15 years earlier,” Luce said.

It was his eldest daughter who talked him into writing an essay to apply. Luce was selected as a finalist, then he completed some trials and before he knew it, Luce was selected to represent New York.

“My biggest thrill was running over the Verrazano Narrows Bridge into New York City, into my state,” Luce said.

He was part of a team of 50 that carried the torch from Virginia to Lake Placid for four weeks, 1,400 miles. The torched arrived in time for the opening ceremonies on February 13, in Luce’s backyard.

“It was really surreal to reestablish yourself in the same place but a whole different perspective,” Luce said.

He was there for the whole Olympics. Daily they would perform ceremonial duties, but when he had free time, Luce would catch bobsledding events. He even got to witness the Miracle on Ice.

“You could hear people out on the street in the Adirondacks, Mirror Lake. When we stepped out the whole area became vibrant,” Luce said.

Presently, 40 years later, Luce still has tons of stories with each turning page. He resumed teaching history, directing plays, and continued on in his life in Warren County after the Olympics. But those few weeks in 1980 will always be special.

“We got theater, we got friends, we got a beautiful life, it’s great. I got everything to be happy about for sure,” Luce said.