ALBANY - Olympians Billy Demong, Tim Burke and Lowell Bailey joined with U.S. Rep. Chris Gibson, R-Kinderhook, Sen. Betty Little, R-Queensbury, assemblywoman Teresa Sayward and assemblywoman Janet Duprey on Monday to meet with state leaders to tout the need for continued support of the Lake Placid facilities, the Olympic Regional Development Authority, and the tax check-off and license plate program, which could enhance Team USA's medal opportunities for the next Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia in 2014.
U.S. Olympic Committee Chief of Sport Performance Alan Ashley and Olympic hopeful Joe Mortensen were also in attendance.
"The Empire State plays a vital role in the worldwide Olympic movement and the development of Team USA," Ashley said. "Lake Placid hosted two Olympic Winter Games in 1932 and 1980, and the New York State Olympic Regional Development Authority, in partnership with the USOC, continues to provide critical support in maintaining and operating the great Olympic legacy venues in Lake Placid.
Sen. Betty Little, R-Queensbury, is accompanied by three local Olympians as she speaks Monday at a press conference at the state Capitol about supporting Lake Placid’s Olympic facilities, the state Olympic Regional Development Authority and the tax check-off and license plate programs to help train future Olympians. From left are Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward (R-Willsboro), Little, Vermontville native Bill Demong (four-time Olympic nordic combined skier, 2010 gold and silver medalist), Paul Smiths native Tim Burke (two-time Olympic biathlete), Olympic luge hopeful Joe Mortensen and Lowell Bailey of Lake Placid (two-time Olympic biathlete).
(Photo — state Senate)
"Events like the miracle on ice triumph over the Soviets and Eric Heiden's historic five gold medals in speed skating have inspired countless young people to pursue their Olympic dreams, and today New York state and Lake Placid are recognized around the globe as great stewards of sport and for hosting world class training and competition."
At the press conference, Congressman Gibson was selected as the newest member of the Lake Placid Regional Winter Sports Committee board of directors. LPRWSC was founded in 2006 and is focused on supporting and developing upstate New York as a sport destination for international and national winter sport events.
"I am fortunate to have the privilege of representing a region that has such a rich history of winter sports," Gibson said. "I believe that our continued efforts to support the Lake Placid region will not only benefit our country's athletes, but also economic development and tourism in the North Country. I am honored to be the newest member of the Lake Placid Regional Winter Sports Committee board of directors."
This year also marks the 30-year anniversary of the establishment of ORDA, one of the most successful reuses of an Olympic venue, signed into law by Governor Hugh Carey in 1981. ORDA Chairman Ted Blazer and Jeff Byrne, Senior Vice President of ORDA joined the group of Olympians throughout the day at the press conference and in meetings with state officials.