FISU World University Games were a gift

To the editor:

Spectacular, amazing, exceptional, stupendous! I don’t have enough superlatives to describe, and give thanks for, the FISU games and the organizing committee that brought them to us. Every minute of all 11 days and nights was perfect, even though the weather was a constant challenge. I felt so lucky to be able to see “up close and personal” the sports that I already know and love, plus those I’ve only seen on television. To experience them live was a gift I’ll remember for years and years.

The organizers, paid staff, police and volunteers: they were all so kind! And good natured and patient; generous with their information and help. Ditto the competitors and coaches that I talked to. What a delight to find out who they were and where they came from. One of the ski announcers said there were 600 universities represented! Incredible.

The group of local heroes that had the vision, and took on the huge gamble and opportunity, to bring this extravaganza to the North Country should be standing on a podium of their own. I can’t imagine the kilos of blood, sweat and tears they donated to make this happen. I do know it was years of dedication and never-ending hard work to make this dream come true and bring it to us. The scope of events and venues, the competitions, the attention to detail, and the clockwork timing and precision of every aspect that I witnessed was nothing short of amazing. I’ve rarely seen ski races start on time, but many of these did! The short track speed skating? Most on time down to the minute! And how about the edge-of-your-seat curling and hockey finals? Fabulous.

And for those who thought the change from driving to walking down Main Street was a decision made solely by FISU organizers, it wasn’t. It was a safety measure put in place by the security task force, comprised of state homeland security, State Police, local police and the security team from the Adirondack Sports Council. Their vigilance protected the venues, the athletes and all the rest of us, and for that I am grateful.

I feel sorry for anyone who didn’t come. Look what they missed! If we do this again, and I hope we do, we’ll make sure they don’t miss out next time!

My heartfelt thanks to every one of you who made the 2023 Lake Placid FISU games such a grand, fun experience for me. I had a ball!

I hope the Adirondack Daily Enterprise will give us a list of all your names so that we can thank you in person the next time we meet you in town.

Franny Preston

Saranac Lake


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