Olympism is the philosophy on which the modern Olympic Movement was founded. One that places sport in the service of humanity. One that athletes and those closely involved in the Movement vigorously embrace today.  

Expressed through actions, this philosophy fosters common bonds among people. By valuing the balance between body, mind, and determination, anyone can establish for themselves a way of life the blends sport with culture, education, and cooperation. In doing so, we uphold the three principles of the Olympic Movement – Excellence, Respect, and Friendship. The result is we create for ourselves and others the opportunity to perform at our best in both sport and everyday life.  

The seven Olympic values:  

Friendship | Respect | Excellence | Equality | Determination | Inspiration | Courage 

The goal of the Olympic Movement is to help build a peaceful and better world. As athletes, coaches and others in all walks of life who demonstrate the above seven values, we seek to do so by educating youth through sport. Sport practiced without discrimination of any kind. And we do so in the Olympic spirit, which demands a striving toward mutual understanding and a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play. 


“We should be dreaming. We grew up as kids having dreams, but now we’re too sophisticated as adults, as a nation. We stopped dreaming. We should always have dreams.” — Herb Brooks 

In any sport, any job, anything at all, achieving excellence starts with a dream. We need to see the possibilities and believe in ourselves to realize them. Because that’s what Lake Placid has exemplified for nearly 100 years, our museum offers an entire exhibit area dedicated to those dreams.  


What does it take?  

Making it to the Olympics, whether one medals or not, is a journey that requires personal sacrifice and dedication. An athlete may have natural talent others do not, but it always takes hard work to rise to the highest levels in any sport. In fact, as the 1980 U.S. Men’s Hockey Team showed us in winning gold against all odds, hard work and passion can beat talent.  

Whether your goal is the Olympics or being better at whatever you do, our “What it takes to be an Olympian” exhibit will inspire you. Hear directly from Olympians about their own journeys. And even dive into the bobsled, ski jump, and speedskating experiences yourself in our interactive exhibits. 

For anyone seeking a unique learning experience, this one exhibit combined with all the other stories and big moments from the past can serve to ignite dreams for the future. Discover the boundless spirit of Olympic champions. It lives within each of us. And see yourself and our world differently.