It’s official: Lake Placid lands World University Games

A group of officials pose with the newly signed contract for the Winter World University Games. (Photo provided by ORDA)

LAKE PLACID — Nobody else could’ve won it, literally.

The International University Sports Federation (FISU) has declared Lake Placid the host site for the 2023 Winter Universiade, a winter sports competition that would attract more than 2,500 college athletes from 52 countries, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday in a press release.

Granted, there were no other bidders.

“Lake Placid is the perfect location to host this event, which will showcase the very best of New York and the North Country to an international audience,” Cuomo said in the release. “We are proud and fortunate to have both the natural and man-made resources required for the Winter World University Games in our own backyard and we look forward to welcoming athletes from across the globe to experience all the Adirondacks has to offer.”

The group that made the bid for the games, the Adirondack North Country Global Sports Committee, recently traveled to FISU headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, and submitted its final presentation on why Lake Placid should be the host city.

From left, North Elba town Councilman Jay Rand, state Olympic Regional Development Authority Executive Vice President Jeffery Byrne, Athlete Minder CEO Mara Smith, Crowne Plaza Resort President and Adirondack Park Agency Commissioner Art Lussi, Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism CEO Jim McKenna and North Elba Supervisor Roby Politi pose in January 2017 in Lake Placid shortly before making an exploratory trip to Almaty, Kazakhstan, to learn more about the World University Games and if Lake Placid could host the international winter sports event. (Enterprise photo — Antonio Olivero)

The 11-day event will include sports such as hockey, figure skating, snowboarding, skiing and curling.

Though Lake Placid was awarded the title of host city, the plan is to have events throughout the North Country. Hockey would mainly be held at nearby colleges such as SUNY Potsdam, SUNY Plattsburgh and St. Lawrence University. The skiing and snowboarding events would be at the Whiteface and Gore Mountain ski centers in Wilmington and North Creek, respectively. The bid for the games also proposed building a new curling facility in Saranac Lake; however, details on the exact cost and location are not yet worked out.

The press release said that the committee and FISU have until June 15 to finalize a formal agreement. At that point, the two groups will start devising an official organizing committee and a master plan for the games.

(Look in tomorrow’s Enterprise for a more in-depth report on this news.)

Local officials stand beneath a rainbow at Heaven Hill Farm in Lake Placid during a reception in June 2017 attended by members of the International University Sport Federation, and members of the Lake Placid/Adirondack Global Sport Committee. Those in the photo include two-time Olympic alpine ski medalist Andrew Weibrecht, North Elba Town Councilman Jay Rand, Wilmington Town Supervisor Randy Preston, current and past ROOST board members including Ed Finnerty, Mike Beglin and Jill Cardinale, Nature Conservancy Director of Communications and Community Engagement Connie Prickett, ROOST CEO Jim McKenna, Lake Placid Mayor Craig Randall, Lake Placid Deputy Mayor Art Devlin, Clarkson University Vice President of External Relations Kelly Ogden-Chezum, ORDA Executive Vice President Jeffery Byrne and Athlete Minder CEO Mara Smith, among others. (Enterprise photo — Antonio Olivero)

Darcy Norfolk, the bid dossier director for the Adirondack North Country Global Sports Committee, stands in front of Lake Placid’s 1932 Olympic Arena in September 2017 holding a cap showcasing the logo from the 1972 Winter World University Games — the last time the event took place in the U.S. Norfolk played a lead role in organizing a successful Lake Placid-centered Adirondack bid for the 2023 games, for which Lake Placid was the sole interested city. (Enterprise photo — Antonio Olivero)

From left, U.S. International University Sports Federation Secretary General Delise O’Meally, state Olympic Regional Development Authority President Mike Pratt, International University Sports Federation delegates Marian Dymalski, Eric Saintrond and Torin Koos, and ORDA Vice President Jeff Byrne sit on the panel at a February 2018 press conference on potential venues and lodging for the 2023 Winter World University Games Friday at Whiteface Mountain Ski Center in Wilmington. (Enterprise photo — Griffin Kelly)