Governor Cuomo Announces Lake Placid Selected to Host 2023 World University Games

Complements Hosting of the 2019 International Children’s Games and 2021 Bobsled and Skeleton World Championships

Bid Supported by the North Country Regional Economic Development Council

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the International University Sports Federation selected Lake Placid as the site for the 2023 Winter World University Games. Delegates from the Adirondack North Country Global Sports Committee and FISU signed a memorandum of understanding at the FISU headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland last week after nearly a year and a half of negotiations. This will be the second time Lake Placid has hosted the Games, the first time being in 1972, and the third time New York State has hosted, with Buffalo hosting in 1993. The Games have never been hosted by another state in the U.S.

“Lake Placid is the perfect location to host this event, which will showcase the very best of New York and the North County to an international audience,” Governor Cuomo said. “We are proud and fortunate to have both the natural and manmade resources required for the Winter World University Games in our own backyard and we look forward to welcoming athletes from across the globe to experience all the Adirondacks has to offer.”

“I recently traveled to Lake Placid to help persuade the Federation Nationale du Sport Universitaire that there is no better place on this planet than to host the World University Games in Lake Placid and assured the State’s commitment to investing in the Olympic facilities,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “We have played host to international sports numerous times, always with great success. We look forward to welcoming the athletes from around the world again in 2023.”

The ADKNC Global Sports Committee has been working directly with FISU since September 1 to develop a bid that meets the necessary requirements. In February, members of the FISU site evaluation committee spent a week in the North Country evaluating the bid committee’s plans for hosting the Games. The committee toured and evaluated the sporting facilities, venues, and lodging properties in Plattsburgh, Potsdam, the tri-lakes area, Wilmington and Gore Mountain. 

The ADKNC Global Sports Committee and FISU have until June 15 to finalize a formal agreement. Once the contract is signed, work will begin on creating an official organizing committee and a master plan that will include an action plan and final concept to execute the Games.

The World University Games, organized by FISU, is an international sports and cultural event staged every two years in a different city. The 11-day competition draws over 2,400 student-athletes together to compete in various disciplines including alpine, freestyle and cross-country skiing, biathlon, speed skating, curling, figure skating, hockey, short track speed skating and snowboarding. Optional sports may include ski jumping, Nordic combined, ski orienteering and long track speed skating. Many area sport venues would be utilized for the event, including the Olympic venues managed by the Olympic Regional Development Authority.

This announcement complements the years of continued tourism growth across the North Country. Last summer, Lake Placid was chosen to host the 2019 International Children’s Games and the 2021 Bobsled and Skeleton World Championships. Governor Cuomo has long supported New York’s tourism industry, committing historic funding to the North Country and hosting Adirondack Summer and Winter Challenges to highlight world-class attractions and destinations found throughout the region. In 2016, nearly 12 million people visited the Adirondack region – 250,000 more visitors than the previous year, generating nearly $1.35 billion in direct visitor spending.

Hosting an international competition of this magnitude and scale would require regional involvement, from using the Plattsburgh International Airport as a port of entry, to partnering with SUNY and private colleges and universities for sports venues and volunteers, and regional hospitality facilities and venues in Saranac Lake, Wilmington and beyond. 

ORDA President/CEO Mike Pratt said, “There has been a substantial effort put forth by the Global Sports Committee. ORDA has been participating in the process, while simultaneously hosting six international events that determined Olympic team members for several nations this winter. We are excited about the World University Games coming back to New York State in Lake Placid and the North Country.”

Senator Betty Little said, “I join the bid organizers and those championing for the event in celebrating the good news. It will attract new tourists to our region and fuel a critical engine of the North Country’s economy. I look forward to witnessing its positive effect on our communities for years to come.”

Assemblyman Billy Jones said, “Hosting the Winter World University Games will be another exciting event for the Adirondack region that will continue to support our towns and small businesses. On behalf of all North Country residents, we look forward to welcoming athletes and their supporters in 2023.”

Assemblyman Dan Stec said, “Congratulations to Lake Placid for earning this distinction within the international winter sports realm. There are undoubtedly countless towns and cities around the world that are capable of hosting the Games, but Lake Placid and the surrounding Adirondack communities have something you just can’t find anywhere else. This is truly an honor for the North Country and an exciting time for all New Yorkers.”

Lake Placid Mayor Craig Randall said, “This is wonderful news for our communities throughout the Adirondacks. These Games will be a catalyst for renewed spirit and international sport legacy. With our history of hosting large-scale sporting events, from the Olympics and World Cup events, to Ironman and large lacrosse tournaments, I am confident we will deliver a world-class product.”

Essex County Board of Supervisors Chairman Randy Preston said, “The World University Games will put the region in the world spotlight once again and will be a boost for Lake Placid and all neighboring communities. We are ready to showcase our region.”

President of the North Country Chamber of Commerce and Co-Chair of the North Country REDCGarry Douglas said, “The FISU games are a key part of our region’s commitment to preserving and renewing the North Country’s unique place in the world of international sports. Governor Cuomo has been an invaluable partner in this process through his enthusiastic support and his continuing investment in our sports venues and tourism accommodation. This is an exciting development for our entire region, including Plattsburgh International Airport. Onward and upward!” 

Co-chair of the North Country Regional REDC and President of Clarkson University Anthony G. Collins said, “This is a tremendous opportunity for Clarkson and other regional universities to share with international athletes why the Adirondack North Country is one of the great places on the planet to study, live, work and visit. We are especially looking forward to the cultural exchanges among students and learning from each other.”

President of the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism James McKenna said, “The 2023 WU will be the economic driver needed to achieve many of the regional goals identified by the North Country Regional Economic Development Council. Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s leadership guarantees that our region will continue as a leader in hosting international athletic and academic events thereby ensuring tremendous exposure throughout Europe, Asia and the Americas.”

FISU president Oleg Matytsin said, “FISU continues to be very impressed by Lake Placid and the Adirondack region. We are pleased to formalize our dialogue with the signing of this Memorandum of Understanding. The MOU clearly demonstrates the willingness of all parties to move towards a suitable hosting agreement. From its outset, the bid has been one of the strongest we have seen. FISU has no doubt that Lake Placid would be a great host for the 2023 Winter Universiade, making a lifelong impact on the thousands of student-athletes would come from all around the world.”

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