The long game

June, 2020

By James M. Odato

A group organized to exploit New York’s Olympic platforms is preparing for 2,500 top athletes from around the globe to compete over snow and ice at some of the state’s most prestigious sports venues in January 2023.

If things go as planned—and all of the needed funds come through in a suddenly challenged economy—the imprint on the region around Lake Placid could last decades longer.

The return of the World University Winter Games to the site of the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics brings more than just athletic competition: dwelling units, roadways, new recreational hubs and more. Some officials envision an electric shuttle system that will stay on to serve Adirondack residents and visitors.

The organizing committee of the university games, scheduled to run over 11 days, has several goals supporting long-lasting and green transportation and housing benefits.

These University Games, also known as the Winter Universiade, could serve as a catalyst for the North Country to get tens of millions of dollars in state funds to fix up 40-year-old Olympic sites and keep the High Peaks on the international winter sports calendar for generations. They could also close some of the major gaps in available living and public transit systems within a 14-county area, planners said.

“There’s a whole list of legacy items,” said James McKenna, president of Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism. He is also a member of the Adirondack North Country Sports Council, which is organizing the Games. The event was last held in Lake Placid in 1972 and has been conducted outside the United States since then.

Lake Placid organizers won the 2023 bid after years of planning by local officials. Aug. 28, 2018, the International University Sports Federation, called FISU, signed a contract with the organizing committee, the New York Olympic Regional Development Authority, the United States International University Sports Federation and the Village of Lake Placid. Two weeks earlier, Gov. Andrew Cuomo had issued an executive order that required the state, the community and local governments to work together in the “closest possible coordination” to deliver the event “in the best possible manner and under the best possible conditions for the benefit of the world university sports movement.”

Read the full article in the Adirondack Explorer