Local kids find winning combination in sports, art

Lake Placid High School student Matthew Corcoran is presented with a first-place medal for the Al Oerter Foundation’s art in sport contest by LPCSD Community Schools Coordinator Keith Clark at the Olympic Center on Tuesday. (Enterprise photo — Sydney Emerson)

LAKE PLACID — Several Lake Placid Middle-High School students received awards for their Olympic-themed art at the Lake Placid Olympic Center on Tuesday, and a mural created by Lake Placid fourth-grade students will hang in a government office in Paris this summer in honor of the 2024 Summer Olympic Games.

The students participated in an “art in sport” competition run by the Al Oerter Foundation, created in honor of four-time Olympic gold medalist Al Oerter. The foundation’s core program is Art of the Olympians, which showcases the creative endeavors of Olympians. Over 300 students from five different countries entered the competition. In the U.S., the only other entries came from Will Rogers Elementary School and Eagleview Middle School in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Medals were awarded by classroom. There was also an overall competition between the entries.

Among Lake Placid Middle/High School’s middle school entries, Stella Hoffman and Sophie Cunniff were awarded third place, Rhaya Torrance was awarded second place and Ella Wilson was awarded first place. Among the high school entries, Briar Beaney won third place, Eliza Fitzsimmons second place and Matthew Corcoran first place. Middle school students Hoffman, Cunniff and Wilson tied for second place in the overall competition. Their silver medals were awarded by Princess Charlene of Monaco in a May 15 ceremony at the U.S. embassy in Paris and presented to them on Tuesday at the Olympic Center by LPCSD Community Schools Coordinator Keith Clark, Olympic Center General Manager Chadd Cassidy and Olympic Museum Director Courtney Bastian.

Lake Placid fourth-grade students created an Olympic-themed mural together, a copy of which will hang in the office of Rachida Dati, mayor of Paris’s seventh arrondissement, throughout the 2024 Summer Olympic Games in Paris.

All LPHS art students entered the competition as an assignment for class, though second-place winner Fitzsimmons said that she didn’t realize it was a contest until halfway through the painting process. Students were asked to research two Olympians and one Paralympian. They also had to research the 1924 Summer Olympic Games in Paris and incorporate the differences between 1924 and 2024 into their art.

Lake Placid High School student Eliza Fitzsimmons accepts a second-place medal for the Al Oerter Foundation’s art in sport contest from Olympic Center General Manager Chadd Cassidy at the Olympic Center on Tuesday. (Enterprise photo — Sydney Emerson)

The painting by Fitzsimmons depicts how diving has changed over the last century.

“I wanted to show how, in 1924, diving was outside and now, in 2024, it’s inside,” she said. “On the diver, I put a French flag as a cape because I wanted to show you’re kind of representing your country when you’re in the Olympics and you’re a superhero to your country.”

First-place winner Corcoran said he wanted to focus on the “unity” between 1924 and 2024, emphasizing Olympic colors. Third-place winner Beaney chose track as her subject.

“Half the track was the normal track material we have now and what people run on, and in 1924, there was dirt and stuff and they ran on that,” she said.

She also depicted the ways that Olympic uniforms have changed since 1924.

Lake Placid High School student Briar Beaney accepts a third-place medal for the Al Oerter Foundation’s art in sport contest. (Enterprise photo — Sydney Emerson)

Corcoran said that the process of creating his painting taught him a lot about the mindset of athletes and the similarities between sports and art.

“You have to push through even if you have hardships when making a piece of art. You have to be creative. Athletes have to be creative in how they perform — it’s the goal of ‘I want to do the best I can ever do,'” he said.

Lake Placid Elementary School fourth grade students look at the mural they created together at the Olympic Center on Tuesday. The mural will be on display at both the Olympic Center and at the Olympian art exhibition at the seventh district mayor’s office in Paris, France. (Enterprise photo — Sydney Emerson)


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