ESWG torch relay to start this weekend

LAKE PLACID — The 42nd Empire State Winter Games Torch Relay kicks off Jan. 29 from two starting points, Buffalo and New York City. The torch relay will last six days and travel 700-miles, a journey that will culminate at Lake Placid for the Games’ opening ceremony on Feb. 3.

The torch relay is expected to involve up to 50 communities, schools, sports clubs, mascots, arenas and other venues as the ESGW flame wends its way east and north, including Times Square in New York City and Lighthouse Park in Buffalo.

In connecting three corners of New York state, organizers hope the relay will symbolize a unifying spirit and resilience as the ESWG return following a year’s absence due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Among the torch relay stops are the Buffalo area’s Northtown Ice Center in Williamsville; Alpine races at Buffalo Ski Center; Cortland Figure Skating Club; Paul Smiths College; Huntington, Long Island’s Dix Hills Ice Rink; Saugerties; Gore Mountain in North Creek. At some stops, the torch will be feted with parades and by local athletes and teams, dignitaries and special ceremonies.

Upon the torch’s arrival in Lake Placid, the plan is to take the torch for a ride down the toboggan run and carry it via an ice skater on Mirror Lake to the opening ceremony on the municipal.

ESWG Athlete of the Year Amanda Demmerle, 18, a figure skater from Camillus and the Cortland Figure Skating Club, will light the flame to officially commence the games on Thursday, Feb. 3 — the same day the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing open halfway around the world.

Competition will begin the next day. Organizers expect to draw around 2,000 athletes to compete in more than 30 events in Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake, Paul Smiths and the surrounding area.

Registration is still open for participants. Visit empirestatewintergames.com. Athletes do not have to be a resident of New York state to participate in the Empire State Games, and most sports are open to all levels.


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