Austria - An Olympic Surprise

The 1976 Olympics are the first games that I remember watching as a kid.   At the time, I was captivated by Innsbruck.   I remember thinking that one day, I wanted to visit.  When I made my first trip to Europe in 1984, Innsbruck was on the list of the places to go.  We made it, but I wasn't overly impressed at the time.  Part of that is because I was sick and spent more time in the hotel than I would have liked.      

Thirty years later, I finally had the chance to visit again.   This time, with my friend Scott Yurcheshen.  We planned to ski and sightsee in Austria, Germany and Switzerland.

We arrived in Innsbruck in January, 2014, just a few weeks before the start of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.   The upcoming Olympics were not on our minds as we set out one morning to visit the site of the 1976 games.   

It was a cold day with snow on the ground.  When we arrived, there appeared to be some activity, but not much around the site.   We just walked in.    And much to our surprise, we found that there were teams from all over the world competing on the sledding track.   (I learned that day that the difference between luge and skeleton is that with luge, competitors sled down the track on their backs whereas skeleton competitors sled on their stomachs.)  A pre-Olympic trial was underway.   

We watched and I shot some video (linked below) of them practicing.   After a while, we walked around and saw the USA team just hanging out right in front of us.    The three guys, John, Matt and Kyle warmly greeted us and it was pretty obvious they were pretty much just "regular dudes."    

Steve Hunsicker, John Daly (Smithtown, N.Y.)  Matt Antoine (Prairie du Chien, Wis.) Scott Yurcheshen and  and Kyle Tress (Ewing, N.J.) 

The guys seemed happy to chat with some folks from home.   We wished them luck.  A few weeks later, Matt won the Olympic Bronze medal. 

 And I left Innsbruck liking it much better than I had the first time.  


In 1984, I did a radio interview about my first trip to Europe.   In the link below, I talk about Innsbruck briefly at 14:37 and about the rest of Austria at 28:30.  

Dates of Travel

  • March, 1984
  • January, 2014
  • July, 2018 (Airport Only)

Places Visited

  • Vienna
  • Berchtesgaden
  • Innsbruck


Radio Interview



This post is part of my series "One Photo - One Country."  I'm am selecting one photo and writing one story from every country I have visited.   Your comments and questions are welcome.  

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