Friday, December 16, 2005

ESB Staircase Race: Czechoslovakia v Poland

One of the myriad full-text books available via Google book search is Stuart Goldenberg’s Only in New York: 400 Remarkable Answers to Intriguing, Provocative Questions about New York City, a collection of the author’s answers to readers’ questions about the city published in the New York Times.

Of particular interest to Slavs of New York is page 178, where we find the question “Is it true that Olympic skiers once trained by climbing the stairs of the Empire State Building?”

The answer?

Apparently, the Polish ski team made it from the fifth floor all the way up to the 102nd in just 21 minutes back in 1932 as part of their training for the Olympic 50km cross-country race in Lake Placid.

Once they got there, however, they were greeted by the Czechoslovak team (who beat them by taking the elevator). The Czechoslovak team then challenged the Poles to a race up the stairs, but the 17 February 1932 edition of the Times reports that the building management was "not agreeable on the proposal to use the staircase for international sports."

(Photo: Empire State Building from
New York Architecture Images)

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