Lake Placid lands Children’s Games, bobsled-skeleton World Championship

Lake Placid's Jesse Izzo, third from left, and Anya Morgan, second from right, stand on a podium after a nordic skiing race at the International Children's Games in January 2016 in Innsbruck, Austria. (Photo provided)

Lake Placid's Jesse Izzo, third from left, and Anya Morgan, second from right, stand on a podium after a nordic skiing race at the International Children's Games in January 2016 in Innsbruck, Austria. (Photo provided)

Lake Placid will host the International Children’s Games in 2019 and the Bobsled and Skeleton World Championships in 2021, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Sunday.

Cuomo announced the news at the Adirondack Summer Challenge rafting trip in Indian Lake, and then tucked a written announcement at the end of a press release about the Challenge, which is a fun team-building event for state lawmakers and administrators.

It was July 4 in Lithuania when Lake Placid was chosen to host the International Children’s Games, village Mayor Craig Randall said this morning. The governor’s office wanted to be the one to announce the news in the U.S., so local officials did not, Randall said.

“I knew the children’s games had been awarded, but I did not know when the governor planned to announce it,” Randall said.

These games, started in 1968 and sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee, are for 12- to 15-year-olds.

Why do the local officials who organized this effort have to wait on the governor to announce the news?

“I don’t know that we have to wait, but in this particular case, it seemed like it was something that the governor himself wanted to announce,” Randall said.

Randall was one of the locals — including more than a dozen young athletes — who attended the International Children’s Games in January 2016 in Innsbruck, Austria. He said about 750 athletes participated. The governor’s office said about 2,000 people — athletes, coaches, family and friends — are expected to come to Lake Placid in January 2019 for the games.

State Sen. Betty Little said it would be more like 500 young athletes. She heard Cuomo’s announcement Sunday and also met with International Children’s Games officials in February in Frankfort, Germany, on a layover on the way to Kazakhstan for an even bigger event Lake Placid is bidding to host — the World University Games.

Little said the Children’s Games would be “very doable” for Lake Placid. The village, with surrounding communities, hosts more than 1,000 athletes plus family and friends at the Empire State Winter Games each February.

As for the bobsled-skeleton event, Lake Placid usually hosts a World Cup competition every year but last hosted the World Championships in 2012 — and before that in 2009 and 2003. It beat out St. Moritz, Switzerland, for the February 2021 World Championships, the last before the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

Hosting international winter sports events such as these does two things for Lake Placid, Little said: First, “it keeps Lake Placid on national news, international news, and it keeps it in people’s minds. Second, it makes it possible to keep upgrading the state-owned venues, many of which were built for the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid.

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