Third Lake Placid Olympics ‘could happen,’ other Olympic city reps say

Regional/international bid would be essential

David Simon, the president of the Los Angeles Sports Council, speaks at the Lake Placid Olympic Training Center Thursday during a visit to Lake Placid by members of the World Union of Olympic Cities, who held their meeting earlier this month in Montreal.
(Enterprise photo — Antonio Olivero)

David Simon, the president of the Los Angeles Sports Council, speaks at the Lake Placid Olympic Training Center Thursday during a visit to Lake Placid by members of the World Union of Olympic Cities, who held their meeting earlier this month in Montreal. (Enterprise photo — Antonio Olivero)

LAKE PLACID — Elected and tourism officials here emphasize that an Olympic games in the near future isn’t a focus, but representatives from a pair of other Olympic cities, knee-deep in the hosting and bidding processes, believe this village that prides itself on the games could put on another at some point — though certainly as part of a regional or international bid.

David Simon, the president of the Los Angeles Sports Council, and Brian Krolicki, chairman of the Reno-Tahoe Winter Games Coalition, both said a third Lake Placid games is possible, particularly thanks to reforms the International Olympic Committee approved in December 2014. That Olympic Agenda 2020 was called a “strategic roadmap” for future games.

Simon, who helped to spearhead the effort to secure the 2028 summer games for Los Angeles, and Krolicki, who has helped to spearhead an effort to bring a future winter games to California and Nevada — perhaps in 2030 — said the IOC’s embrace of bids that span regions, states and even countries keeps hope for Lake Placid alive.

Simon said it may not be possible to have indoor events such as hockey and skating in the village’s existing facilities due to them having too small capacity for modern games, but he felt Lake Placid could partially host due to its outdoor facilities for skiing and bobsled-luge-skeleton.

“[They] would be a benefit to any other city in the region you might partner with,” Simon said.

“The fact that you had the games twice before,” he added, “I think makes it that much more credible as a concept.”

Krolicki said the “magic still exists” here in Lake Placid, which would not only “comfort” the IOC but also make Lake Placid attractive to other interested cities.

“The opportunities to partner are essential,” he said.

Krolicki also shared that he and local officials lamented that Lake Placid’s facilities are too far away from those in Squaw Valley and Tahoe, California, and Reno, Nevada, to combine for a cross-country games.

“We were teasing last night, perhaps not teasing, ‘Too bad our region is so spread out from the Pacific time zone of the Sierra Nevadas to the Adirondacks,” Krolicki said, motioning to Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism CEO Jim McKenna, “because you have this marvelous physical infrastructure. But I’ve got the hotel rooms. I’ve got tens of millions of people within an easy driving distance — so those two pieces go together.

“But as we have our challenges,” he continued, “you and Denver and Salt Lake and other American potential cities for hosting the Winter Olympic Games, we have to do that regional approach. We have to make it work. We can’t burden the future generations with debt, but we need to make it work. That is the essence of Agenda 2020. We need to have sustainability. We need to have facilities that are being used and advertised for decades to come, not for several weeks. And that’s where the Olympic movement is heading. It’s already arrived.

“So yes is the answer,” Krolicki later added, “but there are tremendous challenges moving forward.”

Simon Cooper, head of sport for the Greater London Authority, said elements of the London 2012 Summer Olympics stretched farther than the distance Lake Placid would be from Montreal.

“Certainly in London we had sailing events over 120 miles away,” Cooper said, “and that was not a barrier to hosting for London for a summer games. Clearly it’s the same country, so spanning different countries — but as we already heard, Agenda 2020 opens the possibility, at least to me, to this sort of thing we are talking about here.”

McKenna emphasized that Lake Placid and the surrounding Adirondack region is instead focused on bringing three different multi-sport global events to the region between 2019 and 2023. The area has already been awarded the 2019 International Children’s Games, is the sole bidder for the 2023 FISU World University Winter Games and is in discussions with Special Olympics officials about bringing the 2021 World Winter Games here.

That said, village Mayor Craig Randall said local officials haven’t given up on the Olympics returning here “several years into the future.” He mentioned a statewide bid, a New York City-centered bid and a Montreal bid as ideas he and other officials have heard “conjecture about.”

Without traffic, Lake Placid is about a five-hour drive from New York City. It’s about a two-hour drive from Montreal, although talk of an international bid has led nowhere in the past.

“I think with New York state we would probably look to something with New York City; discussions come up occasionally,” Randall said. “We certainly would accommodate sliding sports.

“I draw thoughts to Whistler and Vancouver in 2010,” he continued, regarding Olympic venues about an hour-and-45-minutes’ drive apart in British Columbia. “It worked out very, very well, and I think the distances from Whistler to a larger city with larger capacity for housing and lodging wouldn’t be unreasonable to think, for us, for New York state, it’s a possibility down the road. I would never say no because it could happen.”

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