The Lake Placid Games are welcoming 2,500 athletes and coaches, 12 sports, 50 countries, 86 medal events, and 600 universities over 11 days.
This Second-Largest Global Winter Sporting Event Continues Through January 22; Follows More Than $550 Million in State Investment to Renovate Sports Facilities, Improve Roads and Bridges, Upgrade Sports Infrastructure in Preparation for the Games.
Games Will Include Several Measures to Promote Climate Action in Line with Governor's Sustainability Agenda
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the official start of the Lake Placid 2023 FISU World University Games, welcoming 1,443 collegiate-athletes from more than 540 universities and 46 nations gathered to celebrate the biennial multi-winter sports event. The Lake Placid 2023 FISU Games will feature competition in 12 winter sports and 85 events in venues throughout the Adirondack North Country in Lake Placid as well as Wilmington, Saranac Lake, Potsdam, Canton and North Creek. I can't think of a better place than Lake Placid to host the 2023 FISU World University Games," Governor Hochul said. "After more than $550 million in state-supported renovations and investments in the North Country to prepare for the games, New York is ready to welcome athletes and spectators from all over the world to our state. I wish the best of luck to the athletes competing, and I thank FISU, the organizing committee and partners at every level of government for ensuring that this event is a resounding success. Let the Games begin!
Thursday night's Opening Ceremony for the Lake Placid 2023 FISU Games was held at the iconic 1980 Herb Brooks Arena, site of the "Miracle on Ice" hockey game between the United States and the Soviet Union in the 1980 Winter Olympics. The ceremony included greetings from the Oneida Indian Nation and Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe, elegant on-ice performances, athletes' and officials' oaths, and the lighting of a one-of-a-kind flameless cauldron. New York State has made significant investments in the North Country totaling more than $550 million over the last six years in preparation for the World University Games and ongoing regional tourism. Investments have helped to renovate facilities owned and operated by the Olympic Regional Development Authority, such as the $104 million renovation of the Lake Placid Olympic Center, and other host facilities like the nearly $7 million overhaul of the Saranac Lake Civic Center. These investments are a testament to New York's commitment to the Games, the region, and the competitive sports infrastructure.
Acting FISU President Leonz Eder said, "After the harsh years of the global pandemic, we finally meet again here in Lake Placid. The world's young people suffered hard on behalf of the greater good and the global population. To see so many of them gathered here today is a particularly emotional moment, which should make these World University Games a truly festive occasion, especially after the cancellation of Lucerne 2021. Lake Placid is a special city that has created both legends and a legacy that endures. Legacy is a gift that also bears the weight of responsibility. It's why I am proud that Lake Placid will play host to conferences and initiatives examining the relationship between winter sports and climate change."
Chair of the Adirondack Sports Council James B. McKenna said, "The partnership between New York State, FISU and Lake Placid created a long-term legacy incentivized by these Games. The modernization of the Olympic venues and the Saranac Lake Civic Center, the development of dedicated affordable community housing, public infrastructure improvements, climate action, downtown revitalization, and increased global recognition are just a few components of this legacy. Lake Placid's place on the international sport stage is secure."
FISU selected Lake Placid to be the host city in March 2018 and has inspired a new phase of economic benefit to the Lake Placid region. The Games are made possible by a team of Host Partners: ORDA, the Adirondack Sports Council, the Village of Lake Placid and the U.S. International University Sports Federation (US-IUSF). The selection adds to a sports legacy that includes two Winter Olympic Games, the 1972 FISU World University Games, the 2000 Goodwill Games and numerous World Cup and World Championship events. Several events will continue through the winter and are already confirmed, including World Cup Ski Jumping in February, the NCAA Skiing Championships and the Synchronized Figure Skating World Championships in March. Future events include the Bobsled Skeleton World Championships in February 2025, and IBU Biathlon Cups in February/March 2026.
ORDA President and CEO Michael Pratt said, "After hosting international competitions in Lake Placid for over 100 years, we are well poised to host the World University Games for the second time. With our venue transformations, the expanded Lake Placid Olympic region is positioned to take advantage of the renewed opportunity for decades to come."
Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said, "This is an exciting time for New York State, and the result of many years of hard work. The State's investments have updated and improved the region's winter sports infrastructure, and the Lake Placid 2023 FISU Games are a great opportunity to introduce visitors and viewers from around the world to our North Country communities." Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "DEC is thrilled to help support these games and the incredible opportunity they present to showcase the natural beauty and welcoming communities throughout the Adirondacks. The games and conference also include a focus on New York's sustainable and affordable climate initiatives being led by the Governor and our many partners, and I look forward to engaging leaders in clean energy, academia, and government to advance our nation-leading efforts to combat climate change."
New York State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said, "The FISU World University Games are sure to bring electrifying competition - and thousands of athletes and fans - to the beautiful Adirondack Region of New York State. The Empire State will be an incredible stage to showcase these athletes' tremendous skill, daring and abilities."
Climate and Sustainability Initiatives The Lake Placid 2023 FISU World University Games will include measures to promote climate action in line with Governor Hochul's sustainability agenda. ORDA, a Host Partner of the FISU Games, has implemented significant sustainability measures at the venues that will be the site of most of the competitions, including solar energy at the alpine venues, state of the art snowmaking equipment that significantly reduces water and energy use, EV charging stations, e-zambonis and hybrid grooming equipment, LED lighting, and more. An important aspect of the FISU Games is the World Conference, where a multitude of speakers, including New York State agencies and authorities, will present information about the initiatives and actions they have implemented to support mitigating climate change and saving winter. From venue design and infrastructure to sustainably sourced items to the LED torch, the Host Partners and New York State are providing support to the FISU World University Games goal of setting a new standard for future events with a commitment to the environment. The Games' Save Winter conference will bring together internationally renowned scientists, authors, athletes and business leaders to discuss how climate change is affecting winter sports globally.
New York State Winter Tourism The investments and improvements to ORDA's facilities will support the continued recovery of New York State's tourism industry. Last winter, New York welcomed 68.5 million visitors, generating more than $16.1 billion in direct visitor spending. ORDA's economic impact for New York State was last measured at $273.6 million for 2019-2020, a 75 percent increase over the previous 2016-2017 measurement of $156 million.
Former State Senator Betty Little said, "Bringing the FISU World University Games back to Lake Placid has been a long time dream. Governor Hochul and I met with the FISU organizers five years ago and showed them all that that region has to offer, and I'm very proud of all the hard work that has made these Games a reality. This is an exciting time for the region, and I'm grateful that so many people will get to experience the beauty of the North Country."
State Senator Dan Stec said, "After years of preparation and anticipation, the Lake Placid 2023 FISU World University Games are here. On behalf of the 45th Senate District, I'm proud to welcome athletes and spectators from around the world to our region. I know these games will be fantastic and leave an impression on residents and visitors that will last for years to come."
Assemblymember Billy Jones said, "It's an exciting day to be in the Adirondack region today for the 2023 FISU World University Games Opening Ceremony. New York State has invested millions to update facilities and make sure that this is a successful event. The world is watching and will now get to see the beautiful scenery the great state of New York has to offer and the world-class winter sporting facilities in the region. This event is also great for locally owned businesses and I look forward to more events like this in the future."
Assemblymember Matthew Simpson said, "These games mark the first time in over 50 years that the FISU Winter games will be hosted on US soil and the North Country could not be more proud for the opportunity to do so. The incredible amount of time, resources, and collaborative effort from all who came together to make this a possibility have produced a platform for these students that is nothing short of remarkable. World Class athletes from 40 countries and almost 600 Universities across the globe will converge in the Adirondacks to showcase their athletic skill, share lifelong memories, and exhibit international goodwill at venues befitting of such an occasion. This is truly an exciting and historic moment for the State of New York."
Lake Placid Mayor Art Devlin said, "On behalf of Lake Placid, its residents, and the greater North Country community, I'm excited to welcome the athletes and fans from around the world to the 2023 FISU Games. So much time and effort has gone into the preparations, and we're proud to serve as an official Host Partner to this international event. I'm grateful for the support from Governor Kathy Hochul, who was part of the effort to bring the games here, and look forward to the world-class competitions in the days ahead."