Asian Olympic officials learn from Lake Placid visit

South Korea to host Winter Games in 2018, China in 2022

Yinchun Liu, the deputy secretary general of the People's Government of Beijing, right, speaks Thursday during a visit to the Lake Placid Olympic Training Center by several members of the World Union of Olympic Cities. (Enterprise photo — Antonio Olivero)

LAKE PLACID — Dozens of people, be it visiting international members of the World Union of Olympic Cities or the entourages that came along with them, shared fawning praise of this village’s embodiment of its Olympic legacy Thursday.

Seated in the middle, with reps from Olympic cities London and Los Angeles flanking her, the International Olympic Committee’s Head of Legacy Tania Braga showered praise on Lake Placid at an event at the Lake Placid Olympic Training Center.

“The motto for the union of Olympic cities is, ‘Once an Olympic city, always an Olympic city,” Braga said, “and we can feel it so strongly in Lake Placid. It’s really like you are breathing the spirit, the DNA of the Olympics.

“Legacy is like a mountain,” she added. “You can see it better from a distance — the distance of time.”

Though it’s been nearly four decades since Lake Placid hosted the 1980 Winter Olympics, union members from South Korea and China — countries slated to host the 2018 and 2022 winter games, respectively — said they’d take information regarding maintaining an Olympic legacy and infrastructure home with them across the globe.

Through a translator, Choi Myeong-Hee said Pyeonchang 2018 officials are “kind of concerned about the Olympic legacy their games will leave.

“Also, we are more concerned about the post-management after the Olympics,” he said. “And after seeing the [Lake Placid Olympic] biathlon field, we saw how the biathlon field is being used throughout the year, and we are going to research more by having a discussion in this union meeting and also having communication with the other cities with already hosting the Olympic Games and to apply this to the Winter Olympic Games.”

Also through a translator, Yinchun Liu, the deputy secretary general of the People’s Government of Beijing, echoed Choi and said the visit to Lake Placid further cemented to him that Beijing 2022 officials need to put legacy uses “into consideration during the preparation stage.”

Liu added that the Beijing 2022 organizing committee’s offices are located inside a decommissioned steel mill, which also doubles as training facilities — something he cited as an example of using existing Chinese infrastructure.

“We saw the [Lake Placid] ski jumping venues,” Liu said. “For us, we are planning on having the ski jumping from an abandoned steel mill. So it’s going to be from the top of the steel mill jumping down. This is just something we are planning. Hopefully it can be very good.

“So after the games,” Liu continued, “the entire region, the steel mill is going to be turned into a public park for residents to visit, to participate to try all of these Olympic Winter Games and sporting events.”