LAKE PLACID - More than 400 athletes were registered for the figure skating event competition of the Empire State Winter Games. Conducted in the Olympic Center's 1980 and 1932 rinks, the skating levels spanned from beginner to senior levels, and included synchronized skating.
"There was a wider range of skaters this year and more events, but everything went off without a hitch," said J. Wickson Smith, the chief accountant.
This marks the second year that local organizations like the Olympic Regional Development Authority and the Lake Placid CVB are organizing the Empire State Games. Previously, the state coordinated and funded the Games, until last year when no funds were allocated for the event. Now the Empire State Winter Games are a locally organized and funded affair.
Alexis Sparks of Tupper Lake performs in the figure skating competition of the Empire State Winter Games on Sunday.
(Photo — Christie Sausa)
One of the newest developments this year was the addition of competitors below the age of 12. It was New York's decision to not allow participants below age 12 to compete, but the local organizing committee amended this decision to allow younger age groups to participate.
Several local skaters competed in the event, and enjoyed the unique atmosphere of the Games. Carly Brox of Lake Placid competed in the open pre-preliminary ladies well balanced event.
"This is my first year competing in Empire State Games, and my favorite part was the opening ceremonies," Brox said. "I was also thrilled to win my event because I qualified for State Games of America in 2013."
Tupper Lake skater Toni Facteau also enjoyed participating in the Games.
"I really enjoyed being out on the ice and I loved the competition in my level (junior ladies)," Facteau said. "I've placed third and hope to attend the State Games of America."
Other skaters from Lake Placid included Alexa Harper, Sandra Harper and Beatrice Hollander. Skaters from Saranac Lake and Tupper Lake (who also train in Lake Placid) were Hayden Hartman, Gina Fiorile, Julia Chapin, Alexis Sparks and Jessica Fortune.